Heads On Sticks & Ventriloquists

The prodigious writings of a tortured genius.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

To The DP of Battlefield Earth

Many a blogger has tackled the following: Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, Celebrities and Scientology, Dianetics, Battlefield Earth, Marmaduke, etc. They're all easy targets and I won't really get into the specifics. Scientology is a cult, duh, we all know. Tom Cruise is batshit insane, duh, we all know (but he's always been). L. Ron Hubbard was a wacko pedophile, etc., we all know.

This one goes specifically to the director of photography for the 2000 film "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" starring John Travolta and Barry Pepper and I think Forrest Whitaker. The film is based on L. Ron Hubbard's shittingly long book of the same name. If you have ever wanted to read it, you're a dork.

The DP -- or cinematographer -- of "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" is a gent named Giles Nuttgens. His film credits include "Swimfan" and "Keep The Aspidistra Flying" (?) among other things. Giles, I have a few bones to pick with some of your shot compositions... well, most of your shot compositions in the film "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" (quite a coincidence that the events in the film happened at exactly the turn of the millenium).

Now let's forget for a moment that the writing wasn't awful, the acting not emotionless, and that there was actually some direction to the film. There's something about your shot choices that still would have been... how shall I put this, um... stupid.

Well that's a decent shot. The ground must've been slightly uneven so there's a slight tilt in the frame... nothing too worrisome. Barry Pepper has gorgeous hair, by the way.

Ah, interesting shot. The rule of thirds is in effect here, it works. Looks like the right tripod leg was a little bit shorter than the rest. No worries, no one will notice, it's only a slightly canted angle.

Alright Giles, it seems that you have now made the right tripod leg significantly longer than the other two. It appears that the camera was lopsided when this was shot. This looks like an important shot too. Oh well.

Oh, Jesus. Why is the angle canted so far? Are these a species that are able to stand straight up on a 30 degree plane? Maybe so. All these angles are really making me nauseous.

What the fuck? Did the cameraman fall over?

Almost every shot in the film "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" is tilted in some degree -- ranging from "slightly tilted" to "oh my, that is quite tilted". Surely this is just a stylistic choice showing the dizzying paradoxes that occur in the film "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" and not how you actually shoot every film. Right? Well I don't really want to watch "Swimfan" or "The Deep End" or really anything else listed on IMDB, so I'll probably never know.

Nitpicking? Or just general disdain towards the film "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000"? I don't know. Probably the former.

No wait, "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" totally fucking sucked. Not just because every single shot was canted, not because I didn't really understand what the hell was going on, not because it was boring, not just because the alien makeup was just claws and dreadlocks, nor just because the script is bad and I'm assuming the one million paged novel is as well. No, it was all of these things. This movie was torture. I didn't watch the whole thing to the end. And if there's any "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000" purist out there who is now saying "Well that's why he didn't like it, he didn't watch the whole thing", I don't care. It sucked, it sucks, it will suck.

It sucks so bad that I have turned into one of those internet nerds who complains about something that I have no emotional investment in, like the guys at Something Awful or that Maddox guy. I've turned into a complainy weiner baby blah bloo. All because of "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000". Why complain about something that everyone knows is bad? Why act like I'm a badass or something for doing it? I'm reduced to nothing. Thanks to "Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000".


So I was leafing through the library's copy of L. Ron Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth" and came across this interesting passage on page 3,466:

"...but how, the flowing-haired man, wondered. How could there ever have been a world that existed on a flat zero degree plane. Surely he had never seen it (it was and is, afterall, the fucking year 3000). 'Well' answered the leader of the Dredloxinz (reading the human's thoughts), 'Sometime in the year 2550, we fucking rammed our ship really hard into the earth. it tilted the earth to a 45 degree angle of what it used to be. That's why you humans got all pissed and shot your puny missiles at us. That's why we killed most of you. That's why we are here on this battlefield, which is on earth. It's sort of a... what do you call it... well I guess it's a battlefield earth."


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