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Battlefield Earth

Subliminal Messages


 

Scientology critics tried to instill fear about Battlefield Earth.They falsely claimed subliminal messages were inserted. Their tactic backfired badly when the film was released.


Scientology critics are having a field day reading film reviews of Battlefield Earth. And for once, I must agree. The film seems to be so bad it just begs to be made fun of. The reviews are hilarious and, no, I don't believe it is because film reviewers have a slant against Scientology. The film seems to be just that: plain bad.

Despite of this, Scientology critics managed to miss a golden opportunity to put their message forth in a cogent and credible way through the media, because when reviewers came on to the part where they ought to mention Scientology, they focussed on critics' ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims of subliminal messages being inserted in between frames of the movie.

The reviewers rightly dismissed these claims as paranoid caterwaul, as wildly unfounded, and as a bit of absurdity.

It also did nothing to improve the reputation of Scientology critics themselves.

Sometimes recognized as a cult unto themselves, Reviewers referred to Scientology critics with such epithets as hysterical types, cult-haters, and blue-faced right-wingers who forged a prejudicial syllogism and stigmatized the movie in advance.

Reviewers joked about wearing aluminum-foil helmet to fend the insidious hidden messages and about thousands racing into the arms of the nearest Scientologist. Some ironically complained that subliminal messages were not included after all, as it would have made it worth watching the film for the amusement factor alone. Others sarcastically wondered if maybe the learning ray Terl used to instill instant-science to Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, and which at some point was directed to the audience, might have been the dreaded Scientology mind-control rays.

Critics lost their bet when they feared that the film would be too good for a Scientology-based film and when they tried in advance to instill distrust and phobia for it through false claims of subliminal messages. As one of the reviewers commented:

If those squeaky reactionaries had only waited for the film to be released, they'd have realized the only danger in seeing this film is in busting a gut at its unintentional hilarity.



Subliminal Claim Dismissed
No Rush Towards Scientology
The Mind Control Ray
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Seattle Times

There's even been concern that the movie would be some sort of recruitment film for the belief, as if every 24th frame might blink "Buy Dianetics." Hardly. The only people this film could recruit are members of the rock band Kiss, who, with their high-heeled boots and face paint, might figure they've got a spot if this alien thing ever really came down.


Detroit Free Press

Critics of Scientology, who are almost a cult unto themselves, have accused Hubbard disciple Travolta of loading "Battlefield Earth" with subliminal messages designed to indoctrinate the unsuspecting. But there's hardly a intelligible moment in "Battlefield," much less a subliminal one.


C.N.N.

Some feared the film would contain subliminal religious propaganda sending thousands racing into the arms of the nearest Scientologist.

Fear not! That stampede you'll hear will be audiences racing to the box office for a refund, because this attempt at a sci-fi action epic fails on just about every count.


Newsweek

Contrary to cult-hater reports, nothing about "Battlefield Earth" will draw weak movie-goers into the open arms of the Church of Scientology. That would be like saying "Showgirls" was a recruitment tool for strip clubs.


Charlotte Observer

I don't think it's an insidious religion meant to undermine Christianity, and I don't believe – as one e-mailing group has contended - that the picture is full of subliminal messages meant to seep into my consciousness. The only message I received was an overt one: Warn readers not to give Travolta any of their disposable income.


Boston Herarld

Detractors have described ``Battlefield Earth'' as a feature-length recruitment poster for Scientology, a minefield of subliminal messages designed to influence impressionable viewers. I don't think so. I didn't detect any hidden messages in the film, only the pungent aroma of a stink bomb of colossal proportions.

[snip]

(Hubbard reportedly despised psychoanalysts, but I don't think naming his villains Psychlos qualifies as subliminal).


Milwaukee-Journal

Opponents of the church consider it a cult and have charged that the film – which stars Scientology proponent John Travolta - is filled with subliminal messages on its behalf. So wear your aluminum-foil helmet to block them. Better safe than sorry.

The massive book, too, could be littered with such messages, but it's hard to tell when your eyes glaze over.


Culturevulture.net

Travolta's longtime ties to the Church of Scientology (Hubbard's brainchild) raised concerns among some that the movie would be a piece of religious propaganda, loaded down with Dianetics philosophy and hidden messages. It is to laugh. Anyone who can find any semblance of a lucid system of beliefs in this murky turkey is looking too hard. The only message audiences are likely to take out of Battlefield Earth is, "I want my money back."


Newsday

Because L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of Scientology and because John Travolta is a Scientologist, there have been those who have already forged a prejudicial syllogism about "Battlefield Earth," an adaptation of a Hubbard science-fiction novel starring and co-produced by Travolta.

The logic of these skeptics has stigmatized the movie in advance as some sort of solemn religious tract. There are even some hysterical types who believe the film carries subliminal messages intended to convert the masses who will supposedly flock to this picture the way seagulls gather at Jones Beach at sunset in July.

But it's hard to imagine any message, subliminal or otherwise, piercing through the swampy goo of this post-apocalyptic war story.


ABCNews (link http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/GoodMorningAmerica/
gma000512_siegel_battlefield.html doesn't work anymore)

 

Other than having the villains hail from the planet Psychlo (as I understand it, Scientology has a very low opinion of psychology), I didn’t notice anything surreptitious or subliminal. Even if I had, it would have been among the least of the film’s problems.


CBSNews (link http://cbsnews.cbs.com/now/story/0,1597,194502-412,00.shtml doesn't work anymore)

Travolta insists there's no Scientology message, agenda, or subliminal recruitment tactics in Battlefield. Good thing, too—at least for Scientology. If there actually had been, it could have done more to damage the church's image than that Time magazine expose a few years back.


Rought Cut

Holy mother of Terl, we're all going to fall under the dark spell of a nefarious cabal of uber-rich Scientologists, out to brainwash us with L. Ron Hubbard propaganda and Barry Pepper action figures!

Such was the paranoid caterwaul of blue-faced right-wingers when the film adaptation of Hubbard's rich, epic sci-fi novel was announced last year. Don't see this movie, or you'll be at the devious beck and call of Barbarino! Don't buy that Battlefield Earth toy, lest you inadvertently assist in financing Scientology's covert plans for world domination!

If those squeaky reactionaries had only waited for the film to be released, they'd have realized the only danger in seeing this film is in busting a gut at its unintentional hilarity.

"People have asked me if there is a connection between 'Battlefield Earth' and Scientology," Travolta is quoted as saying in the film's press notes. "There is no connection... The two have virtually nothing to do with each other."

And good thing for the Los Angeles-based religion, too, for it's hard to imagine the swanky halls of (Dianetician Hollywood hangout) Celebrity Center so ever-populated and well-monied if this film were at the core of Scientology's philosophical tenets.

[snip]

So what threat does Battlefield Earth finally pose to humankind? None at all, but for the inevitable brain-drain most of this summer's action spectacles will claim, and the uneasy and inexplicable yearning with which one is struck to sit through a similarly-themed, vastly superior (but still horrendous) Lori Petty movie from a few years back. Viva Tank Girl.


Arkansas Democrat

2001: A Space Odyssey, it's not. (Neither is it a recruitment vehicle for Hubbard's Church of Scientology, as some had initially suspected).


New York Daily ( link http://www.nydailynews.com/2000-05-12/New_York_Now/Movies/a-66336.asp?last6days=1 doesn't work anymore)

In the end, the fears expressed by anti-Scientologists that "Battlefield Earth" would be a church-recruitment film are wildly unfounded. There isn't anything in this overbudgeted mess to inspire a moment of traditional moviegoing awe, let alone a religious conversion.


Salon Magazine

The first thing to talk about with "Battlefield Earth" is not the subliminal messages allegedly sneaked in by the Church of Scientology. (If they're there, they don't work.) Nor is it John Travolta's unintentionally (I presume) hilarious performance as a villain who's part community-theater Iago and part Rastaman pimp. It's hair. There's more of it in this movie than in the sink trap at Supercuts.

[snip]

OK, maybe those Scientology mind-control rays have affected my judgment after all. The first 20 minutes or so of "Battlefield Earth" are quite enjoyable, if you have a weakness for the cheapo decrepit future envisioned by the "Planet of the Apes" series.


About.com

Extreme opponents of the film have even called it a Scientology recruitment tool, claiming that subliminal messages were inserted in the movie. Christian puts his own spin on it, "I'm basically a Buddhist. I'm at the helm of this thing and I'm not a Scientologist, so if anyone has to accuse the movie of being something, it should be what my religion is. Travolta said something to me when I started this, he said that there are going to be so many detractors with egg on their face when they see this movie because it's nothing but summer fun. It's pulp fiction in the year 3000 and that's all it is."


Tampabay.com

I wasted more time watching Battlefield Earth, based on the novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, than I've spent reading news reports of the church's affairs in the past year. You won't catch me probing for subliminal messages or inscrutable motives in Warner Bros.' latest release.

This movie simply isn't worth that much thought.

[snip]

There is no noticeable sermonizing in Battlefield Earth, certainly not to the extent that Billy Graham's old movies, The Spitfire Grill or The Apostle conveyed for Christian faiths. Brains aren't washed, but they could be numbed.


Tampa Bay Online

The movie is based on the book of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard. Yes, Hubbard founded Scientology and Travolta is a Scientologist. However, there didn't seem to be overt Scientology references in the movie, and Travolta insists the movie has nothing to do with Scientology.


MSN

The Psychlos are apparently stand-ins for the psychiatric establishment, which Hubbard (my information comes from a knockout feature in last November's Washington Post by Richard Leiby) considered a timeless and galaxywide evil. Otherwise, I detect few hidden messages in Battlefield Earth except for those ripped off from '50s sci-fi pulp and Star Wars (1977).


Film.com

Some will question the Scientology link -- Hubbard, of course, founded the Church of Scientology, of which Travolta is a well-known member – and whether "Battlefield Earth'' carries any Scientology subtext. Frankly, I could barely wade through the movie's text, and am disinterested in deciphering whatever subtext is there. Few moviegoers, I suspect, will care enough to try.


Popcorn

Unless you're an expert on Scientology, it's unlikely you'll come out of 'Battlefield Earth' wanting to join John Travolta and his celebrity cult. All attempts at brainwashing are put aside for two hours' big-budget, little-intelligence entertainment.

Cincinnati Post

I saw ''Battlefield Earth'' two weeks ago. So far, I have had no overwhelming urge to become a Scientologist. Though not an expert in these matters, I use that evidence to conclude there is no subliminal Scientology recruiting message in ''Battlefield Earth,'' the movie version of the sci-fi book written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and starring one of Scientology's best-known followers, John Travolta.

With that bit of absurdity out of the way, we can move on to consider whether or not there are traces of Scientology in ''Battlefield Earth.''


Fantastica Daily

One thing that worried me is the months-old rumor indicating that Battlefield Earth would be a big-screen form of propaganda for the Church of Scientology, particularly since star/producer John Travolta is one of its followers. Well, I know almost nothing about Scientology, but I don't feel -- at all -- like any morality or religious tenets were being pushed on me, or even handed to me. No, L. Ron Hubbard was also a science fiction writer, and as such he presented ideas for the sake of themselves, in the form of good old-fashioned fiction.

San Francisco Chronicle

Greener is given a crash course in the Psychlo language by a Uriah Heep-like ghost. The knowledge is zapped into his brain via pinpoints of light shooting into his eyes. On two occasions, that light is turned directly on the audience.

Who knows what secret knowledge we have unwittingly absorbed...

Houston Chronicle

Never fear. Battlefield Earth has nothing to do with Scientology, although Tyler is educated by a Psychlo brain injection beam. (Some feared the film might carry subliminal messages.)

Boxoffice.com

Surprisingly, the film’s greatest undoing may be the fact that it does not confirm the confessed fears of many that Travolta, a devout Scientologist, would use the film to promote Scientological doctrines. It is, in fact, utterly inane and innocuous in the most harmless, uninteresting way--the fruit of an overrated star’s overblown ego, recklessly indulged by studio excess.


Jam ! Showbiz

One common misconception which I should clear up is that the film's actual purpose is to function as a pulpit from which The Church Of Scientology can spread their message. Not true at all. There are no hidden messages to decipher. That act could have made it worth watching the film for the amusement factor alone. Regretfully, Battlefield Earth is about as religious as an episode of WWF Raw or WCW Nitro. Hubbard's central theme - knowledge is power - is a universal idea that isn't exclusive to Hubbard or his ministry. What we have is a science fiction story. An alarmingly bad sci-fi story.


Sacramento Bee

Skeptics have been afraid that Travolta and his crew would use the film version as some kind of propaganda, full of subliminal messages. No such luck. At least a little subversive action might have lifted the film.


Austin-American Statemant(http://www.austin360.com/entertainment/movies/reviews/2000/05/11santacruz.html does not work anymore)

There is good news, however. There weren't any subliminal Scientology messages hidden in the film -- although that may have made it somewhat interesting (or funny depending on your stance).


Los Angeles Daily

Coming as it does from Hubbard, some have suggested "Battlefield Earth" could be a subliminal recruiting tool for the author's Scientology sect. But if the filmmakers couldn't get the obvious storytelling bits right, they'd be sorely challenged to deliver a convincing subtext. If a sequel, as rumored, is planned, perhaps we can request some subliminal snack-bar messages. Beleaguered humans deserve a break, too.


11th Hour

Oh, man. What a let down.

Now I know it seems unlikely that one could be so disappointed by something for which one had, really, no expectations to begin with, but Battlefield Earth managed to achieve the impossible. Maybe I'm just picky, but I feel kinda gypped. The costumes, the makeup, the subliminal messages destined to transform our nation into a Dianetics-spewing cult -- how, after all, could the movie that brought the phrase "John Travolta's giant prosthetic crotch" into the public vernacular fail to at least amuse, if not enlighten?

[snip]

I mean, I'm young. I'm malleable. I once longed for Danny Zuko as much as any red-blooded American girl. Hell, I even run a scifi website. I am, in so many ways, a prime target for indoctrination. So what went wrong? Why did Battlefield Earth -- an adaptation of the novel by scifi writer/All-Powerful God L. Ron Hubbard -- fail to convert? Were the hidden messages inserted between the frames -- oh come on, you know they were there -- repelled by my cynical mind? Was the profundity of the dialogue just too much for a simple soul like myself to bear? Or could it be, just maybe, that the movie absolutely, unequivocally, unredeemingly, sucked?


San Francisco Examiner

Apparently "Battlefield Earth" has come under fire for possibly subliminally enticing audiences to join the Church of Scientology. But if hurling a copy of "Dianetics" at the screen is all you want to do, maybe you've been brainwashed, too.

[snip]

A Scientology recruiting film would be more fun, and they're shorter. I actually left "Battlefield Earth" angry that the filmmakers, including director Roger Christian, didn't try to proselytize me. Or did they? All that lamentably crooked cinematography, the edit job that serves a new cut every five seconds: negligible sci-fi ploy or unsuccessful enlistment attempt? A raging bore no matter which way your head is slanted.

If filmmaking has ever been less thrilling and more disengaging, I'd like to see it. Subliminal messages would have made it more endurable. The only real amusement the film can hope to stir will be if a rash of American moviegoers actually exits the theater and heads to their local Scientology headquarters. "Yes, I've seen the film, now I'd very much like to achieve the State of Clear, please."

Hubbard was careful to separate his religious philosophy from overtly impinging upon his science fiction, and his 1982 book "Battleship Earth" doesn't perform any message-mongering, although the kids I went to school with who opted to read his "Mission Earth" series instead of Ray Bradbury or Robert Heinlein are Internet millionaires.

 



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This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

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