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Film / Battlefield Earth

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"While you were still learning how to spell your name, I was being trained to conquer galaxies!"

The film version of L. Ron Hubbard's Science Fiction novel Battlefield Earth was released in 2000, directed by Roger Christian and starring John Travolta as Psychlo leader Terl (he originally wanted to play the part of the book's hero, Jonnie "Goodboy" Tyler, but that role eventually went to Barry Pepper because Travolta was too old by then). Travolta, a self-proclaimed Hubbard fan (and Scientologist), wanted to do the film for a long time, but had trouble securing money for it because of studios' apprehension to bankroll the film due to its connections with the real life Church of Happyology. He later poured most of his own money into the project and signed on as a co-producer, and the rest... well, is history.

After MGM and Fox turned down offers to distribute the film, it was eventually picked up by Franchise Pictures, a company known for helping stars rescue their troubled pet projects. Out of a $44 million budget, which eventually spiraled into $73 million adding marketing and Franchise's embezzlement, the film only grossed $21 million.


The film covers the first third of the doorstopper book: the Psychlos come to Earth, beat the humans in about nine minutes, and establish an outpost here. They are here for gold — Goooooooooooooooooooooold! — the rarest and most valuable ore in the universe, it seems. Jonnie leads a band of slaves to rise up against their masters. Travolta is still intent on having the second half of the book produced.

Has the dubious honor of winning nine Razzies — a record that stood until 2011's Jack and Jill, which won one more — including the Worst Movie of 2000, the Worst Drama of the award's first 25 years, 1980–2005, and Worst Movie of the Decade, 2000–2009.


While you were still learning how to SPELL YOUR NAME, Battlefield Earth was being trained to provide these trope examples!

  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: While the original novel isn't exactly regarded as a masterpiece of plotting, the film still introduces various plot holes and problems of its own. Perhaps the most glaring is that the Psychlos somehow missed the gold deposit at Fort Knox altogether in the film, whereas the novel specifically addresses that the Psychlos have looted the already-processed ore lying across the world. The humans instead find gold in an old armored truck.
  • Aliens are Bastards: You can hardly ever sympathize with most of the Psychlos. Except maybe Ker and the Bartender.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: Many of the cavemen Jonnie encounter mistook product mascots for humans petrified for "angering the gods".
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: Courtesy of Rifftrax.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The humans have forgotten that the Psychlos invaded Earth and took over it a thousand years ago, instead believing that demons came down from the sky because the gods were angry.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Terl intentionally hands a human prisoner a ready-to-fire weapon, to prove his point that the "man-animals" are too stupid to operate firearms, even though the human has already shot one person, according to his subordinates. The prisoner ends up killing Terl's lieutenant with it. Psychlos are shown not to store loaded weapons, so this is apparently another example of the bizarre arrogance that Psychlos have toward humans in believing that they're not sentient, despite all the technology that Terl acknowledges they had.
    Terl: Well, I'll be damned. [Laughs]
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Gold is apparently the rarest and most valuable material in the universe. There are dozens of rarer elements, even if you discount the ones that would be of no use to the Psychlos because they're either radioactive or only exist in microscopic quantities.
    • The planet Psychlo has an atmosphere that spontaneously ignites in the presence of radiation. This means radioactive decay does not naturally occur on the planet, meaning the planet violates the second law of thermodynamics and is effectively a perpetual motion machine.
      • On a related note, the Psychlos have eyes, which means the Planet Psychlo must orbit a light-producing star. Stars emit radiation. Lots and lots of radiation.
      • Not to mention that a highly advanced, star-faring and extremely warlike species supposedly went by without ever using radioactive materials.
      • The novel does suggest that the Psychlo homeworld exists in another universe altogether (Jonnie Goodboy concludes this when attempting to understand Psychlo math).
  • Barbarian Longhair: Humans and Psychlos alike sport long, flowing, ungroomed locks.
  • Beard of Evil: Some of the Psychlos, namely Terl and Zete.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Harriers that saved Carlo from being killed by a Psychlo fighter.
  • Big "NO!": Most of Jonnie's lines involve him violently expressing his grief over a person, animal, or thing.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Psychlos have tall heads, like the Coneheads with dreadlocks, breathe air that is toxic to humans (and vice versa), and even the slightest amount of radiation is deadly to them. At least one female Psychlo has an Overly Long Tongue that would make a Luxan proud, though this seems to be unusual for the race as both Terl and Ker regard it as a fetish. Additionally, Terl has six fingers, though the camera doesn't focus on any other Psychlo's hands to see if that's normal. (In the book, it's mentioned obliquely that Psychlos have six fingers on one hand and five on the other.) Also, loss of limbs seems to be a minor inconvenience.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The film is clean of blood, be it human or Psychlo. Rather jarring; a few Psychlos (e.g. Ker and Terl) lost at least one limb (not to mention the decapitated head of the Bartender). The humans? None.
  • Blown Across the Room: Carlo, the first time he gets hit by a Psychlo's ray gun. Especially noteworthy since this every other time a human gets hit, the shot merely knocks them back a bit or makes them fall over. Bonus points for it being a ray gun, which, realistically, should cause no recoil at all.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Suspiciously clean buckskins (Travolta didn't want the movie to look too grimy), for the first act, anyway. The Psychlos, though irredeemably evil, are nice enough to give the man-animals jumpsuits after capture.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Apparently, fighter jets that have been in storage for the last thousand years are perfectly serviceable when needed, and even the fuel still hasn't degraded.
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": The Psychlos typically refer to humans as "man-animals."
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Psychlos always refer to the substance they breathe as "breath gas," not "air."
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": It's not surprising that the Psychlos have Euclidean geometry. What is surprising is that they call it Euclidean geometry.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Virtually all the Psychlos other than Ker, the bartender and one or two other low-ranking flunkies.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Terl would casually teleport back to the planet Psychlo of an evening just to go to a bar.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Piece of cake!" by the humans, "Leverage!" by the Psychlos.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Subverted. Jonnie teaches his followers Euclidean geometry, claiming it will be very important. It never is (beyond what they would need for piloting anyway). Even better, he teaches some of his fellow prisoners geometry and others piloting.
  • Chewing the Scenery/Evil Is Hammy/World of Ham: All the villains.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Again, the Psychlos. Especially Terl.
  • Color Wash: Mostly blue saturates everything. In some scenes, yellow. In-universe, Psychlo security footage is all in green for no discernible reason. Perhaps they use old Apple IIe monitors.
  • Critical Research Failure: An In-Universe example; the Psychlos, despite a thousand years of occupation, display an astonishing lack of knowledge about the human race.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Terl towards his subordinates.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Terl does this to Ker to show he was a step ahead of him all along: "It could even be... OUR FRIENDLY BARTENDER!"
  • Discretion Shot: At one point, a human gets his head exploded by a prison collar. The scene cuts away from the explosion itself to show other characters' reactions to it.
  • Domed Hometown: The Psychlo outpost is one of these, because of the whole "exploding breath gas" thing. In a shocking subversion, it's more of a pyramid, but the characters refer to it as a dome regardless.
  • Dull Surprise: Many characters, but special mention goes to Terl's reaction to losing his right arm. Also earlier, Ker when losing his left hand.
  • Dutch Angle: This is Dutch Angle: The Movie. Among its other creative failures, it notoriously used them to the point of excess. (A shot from the film provides the page image.) As Roger Ebert noted in his review:
    "The director, Roger Christian, has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt their cameras, but he has not learned why."
    • It's even used in-universe. When Terl looks at some security camera footage, that too is tilted.
    • It gets worse. The director himself said that Dutch angles were used in all but one shot of the film.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: A nuke sent to Psychlo causes a reaction with its atmosphere and blows up the planet...except this time Psychlo is reduced to a cloud of noxious gas.
  • Easily Conquered World: The Psychlo army wipe out all of Earth's military in nine minutes, apparently by teleporting millions of nerve gas drones all across the world. And then, to show the trope goes both ways, they're taken out by a much smaller army of cavemen in thousand-year-old Harriers.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Hardly any of the Psychlos actually have names, and even in the credits are generally only referred to by their ranking.
  • Evil Laugh: There's enough "normal" Evil Laughter and fake, mocking laughter to fill a half-hour sitcom, not to mention Forest Whitaker's hearty chortles and some disturbingly fey laughter by Travolta. The Psychlos are a merry bunch (it makes one either wonder what gas they breath, or think that's why their air is so volatile).
  • Exact Words: Terl promises Jonnie he wouldn't kill a prisoner destined to have his head blown off ... only to give Ker the trigger to the explosive device and have him do it. As he puts it, "I only said I wouldn't kill him."
  • Explosive Stupidity: Subverted; while Terl has an explosive collar strapped to his arm when he triggers the detonator that he believes will kill Jonnie's love interest, he doesn't die from it.
  • Expy: The Psychlos basically look like Klingons, except they are nine feet tall, have even worse taste in fashion sense, and lack anything that makes them scary or badass (or interesting).
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Psychlos love gold. They came to Earth looking for it, and spent a millennium on the planet doing so, mining it, and shipping it off. And yet in that millennium, they somehow failed to find Fort Knox, which is crammed with the stuff.
    • Made worse by the fact that the Psychlos didn't overlook Fort Knox in the book.
    • Also, the humans fool the Psychlos into thinking they are working by giving them the gold from Ft. Knox and pretending they mined it themselves. The Psychlos never question how the humans smelted it into cast bars or imprinted a maker's mark on it. For reference, gold ore looks like this.
      • Hand Wave: Terl does notice this, but believes Jonnie's obvious lie that the humans mined it quickly enough to refine it, and orders production doubled.
  • Fat and Skinny: Rock and Carlo, the first allies Jonnie makes from outside his tribe, are these respectively.
  • Faux Action Girl: Chrissy. Jonnie says she can handle herself better than most men, but she barely has any screen time since she's a Token Romance, and for most of it she has an explosive collar strapped around her neck and Terl holds her hostage.
  • Faux Affably Evil: This seems to be a personality trait of a few Psychlos, especially Terl.
  • Future Imperfect: Fast food and automobiles are the stuff of legends, and mannequins are purportedly people punished for offending the gods. The Psychlos are shown at one point examining old Earth photos of people driving with their dogs, leading them to believe that the dogs were the superior species since they had the humans chauffeuring them around.
    • They also note that dogs, while much more cooperative than "man-animals", which the Psychlos interpret to mean higher intelligence (after all, dogs recognize who their betters are), are almost useless for manual labor (further proof that dogs were the masters of "man-animals", who did all the work).
  • Gangsta Style: Because Psychlos are so much bigger than humans, a two-handed sideways grip seems to be the only way the humans can aim and fire the aliens' weapons.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The movie botches even this simple trope — the cow-shooting scene doesn't show us Terl turning live cattle into raining beef chunks, but it's shot so poorly (and the actors' responses so utterly bland) that it's hard to tell what's even happening. Not only that, but the one cow we do see get shot uses Bloodless Carnage at the same time, making the attempt at hiding the 'violence' come across as redundant.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Psychlo Overlord, who is the one behind the Psychlo invasion on Earth.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Apparently Ker got tired of being surrounded by his Large Ham Idiot Ball-carrying species (especially Terl) and joined up with the humans at the end.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When Carlo blows up his own ship to destroy the "dome", or when Mickey detonates the nuclear bomb.
  • Hilarity Ensues: "You are out of your skull-bone if you think I'm going to write on the report 'shot by man-animal' as the cause of death unless I see it!"
    • "Piece o' cake, piece o' cake, piece o' cake, piece o' cake!"
  • Hitler Cam: Used to emphasize the height of the giant alien Psychlos. At least it was less corny than those big elevator boots the actors wore.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sort of. Though he doesn't actually die, Terl blows off his own arm with the exploding collar he used on Jonnie's girlfriend. And in the end he's put in a cage in Fort Knox, surrounded by gold. It's ironic, y'see, because he put Jonnie in a cage and started the whole scheme to get gold.
  • Humans Are Morons: Terl and his fellow Psychlos believe that the humans are too stupid to do anything on their own, so they give them some 'assistance' in the form of Psychlo knowledge beams. Considering the fact that all of the Psychlos, Terl included, appear to have been issued an individual Idiot Ball at birth, this arguably comes a form of unintentional Hypocritical Humor.
    • More exasperating, the Psychlos know full well that Homo sapiens sapiens once had healthy industrial societies, and yet they still assume they're too dumb to walk and chew gum at the same time.
    • Part of this is actually a large In-Universe case of Strawman Has a Point. It wasn't until Terl used the machine to impart Psychlo knowledge to Jonnie that he even knew what a triangle was.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Jonnie delivers a Rousing Speech about how "We [humanity] have enough problems without killing each other over food!" ... having just beaten the crap out of a fellow prisoner over food.
  • Idiot Ball: Many characters grab this, but each Psychlo seems to have been issued an individual one at birth.
    • One example from many: Terl gets so into shooting cows to demonstrate his shooting prowess to the humans that he doesn't actually pay attention to his surroundings, and gets jumped from behind as a result.
    • Terl also teaches the humans how to work their aircraft, weaponry, and speak the Psychlo language. He seems to be the only Psychlo who realizes the humans have intelligence and are capable of performing complex tasks, but doesn't consider the possibility this could be used against him.
    • In any scene with Terl and Jonnie together, you can almost see them passing the ball back and forth. For example, when Terl is inspecting the results of Jonnie's mining, he quite understandably asks how Jonnie is presenting him with gold bars, rather than the ore he was expecting. Jonnie, who hadn't spotted that flaw in his plan, explains lamely, "I assumed, sir, that a Psychlo of your refinement wouldn't settle for anything as coarse as raw ore." Terl accepts the flimsy excuse without question.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The only marksmanship any Psychlo exhibits is when Terl shoots up a herd of stationary cattle. The fact their guns are held upside down, making them nearly impossible to aim, probably contributes to this.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: So obvious even cavemen can spot them.
  • Insane Troll Logic: At the end of the movie, Jonnie keeps Terl alive so that if there are Psychlos living off their homeworld, and they come looking for revenge, humans can use Terl as leverage ... because the Psychlos would be really pissed at Terl for indirectly dooming the homeworld ... so if they get him, they won't bother with the humans, who directly doomed their homeworld. Clearly, he Didn't Think This Through very well.
    • This was almost certainly meant as a Sequel Hook; the adaptation stops a third of the way through the book.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Doubles as Not with the Safety on, You Won't, since Terl says this to Jonnie and his friends aiming them at him.
    • Of course, Terl correcting somebody else's gun safety is kind of ironic considering what OTHER film John Travolta was in.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Oh, so many examples. Nothing should be working after about a millennium; it takes years, not weeks, to learn to fly one; none of them has flight suits and yet they're all stunt dog-fighter material. On the positive side, they do mention that Harrier jets can hover.
    • Harriers are so unreliable it is almost ridiculous to suggest they can even be repaired.
  • Kick the Dog: Terl shoots the legs off a herd of cattle just to show how evil he is.
  • Large Ham: John Travolta. So very much. (Spoilers)
  • Laughably Evil: Terl.
  • Made of Explodium: The atmosphere on Planet Psychlo ignites thanks to a single nuclear bomb. The resulting explosion rips the entire planet apart — crust, mantle, core and all.
  • Made of Plasticine: The Psychlos, considering how easily they seem to lose limbs. Terl getting his arm blown off by a bomb is pretty understandable (though it was a mighty clean explosion, even for a shaped charge), but Ker losing an entire hand from a ray gun blast seems excessive. Especially since the same weapon does little more to a Puny Earthling than knock them around a bit, though this part could be explained by the gun having multiple settings.
  • Major Injury Underreaction. Ker gets his hand blown off. The most reaction this gets out of him seems to be mild confusion. Terl in turn loses his entire arm and manages to be annoyed by it. Maybe the Psychlo physiology makes such an injury not a big deal, but the movie explains nothing.
  • Manly Tears: Mickey, just before he detonates the nuke.
  • Mistook the Dominant Lifeform: The Psychlos interpret surveillance photos of humans with dogs in car passenger seats as evidence that the dogs were "the superior race, having the man-animal chauffeur them around".
    • They also mention that the dogs were much more willing to cooperate with the alien masters than humans. Unfortunately, dogs proved ill equipped for manual labor (which, again, demonstrated their superiority, not needing to work). They can fetch, though.
  • Motifs: Nauseating camera angles, lurid blue or purple coloration, people dressed like cavemen hooting like howler monkeys.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: This film holds the dubious honor of providing audiences with the most overly dramatic "cavemen being sprayed with hoses" scene in film history. It's exactly as stupid as it sounds.
  • Never Say "Die": The Psychlos are really fond of the word "Vaporize", though. Even though their guns don't actually vaporize anyone.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Psychlos don't even take poorly to amputations.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Terl's girlfriend, Chirk (played by Kelly Preston, John Travolta's wife), has one.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The passcode to Terl's vault is his ID number backwards.
  • Planet of Hats: The Psychlos are almost all violent, profiteering, scheming, and stupid.
  • Plot Hole: Too many to count.
  • Portal Network: Psychlos put teleporters on all the planets they colonize.
  • Pun: The movie's Tag Line is "Prepare to go Psychlo".
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The ruins of Denver look like they've only been abandoned for a year or so, with readable books instead of piles of dust. Then there's Fort Hood. Jets, nukes, stinger missiles and flight simulators still work just as fine.
  • Ramming Always Works: In one of the film's 'highlights', a caveman-pilot who runs out of missiles ejects just before ramming a Psychlo fighter, completely overlooking the aircraft's 25-millimetre cannon.
  • Real Is Brown: See Color Wash.
  • Reassignment Backfire: A rare villainous example: Terl has been Reassigned to Antarctica as petty revenge for getting involved with the daughter of a senator, which leads to the destruction of the Psychlo race.
  • Re-Cut: The version on VHS and DVD removes a few scenes, adds a scene of the heroes discovering the instructions for the nuclear warhead, and the opening crawl that states the bloody obvious. The versions aired on TV are the original theatrical cut.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Terl allows some of the slaves out in the wild to see what they will consume as food, as he doesn't know what humans like to eat. The only edible animals they find are rats, so that's what they eat, but Terl believes it was their preferred meal. Apparently he never stopped to consider that these slaves were so starved, they were actually willing to eat anything at this point (it's specifically stated that they haven't eaten for three days). They didn't even bother cooking it first, causing Terl to assume they prefer it raw.
  • Repeat Cut: When Terl's boss mentions that he plans to keep Terl on Earth instead of giving him a temporary reprieve, the movie plays back the "With endless options for renewal!" line three times for some reason.
    • The same thing happens when a caveman tells Jonnie that the Psychlos can't be defeated.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Imagine the Coneheads with dreadlocks, furry hands, codpieces, limb extensions, and breathing tubes that look like rivers of snot dangling from their nostrils.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Scenery Porn: The mountains in the beginning.
  • Sequel Hook: Terl is alive, and the human victors face an unknown future after winning a ruined planet. There is actually a whole other half of the book left to go, and Travolta was is still hoping to tell it in a second film.
    • However, this actually is the climax of the book. The remaining 700 pages are about a banking dispute with a previously unmentioned race which is resolved peacefully.
  • Shout-Out: When Jonnie is first shot, he falls through several glass panes similar to Blade Runner, taking no lasting damage.
    • Then, the first time we're presented with the Psychlo homeworld, the camera pans around a cityscape, also as in Blade Runner's opening.
    • Later at the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, Jonnie runs in slow motion through a bunch of pillars as they are shot, just like how Neo runs through the government lobby in The Matrix.
  • Slow Motion: Roughly a fourth of the film consists of slow-mo shots of Psychlos lumbering around shooting at people, Jonnie running away from Psychlos shooting at him (complete with Matrix-esque clouds of debris and shrapnel), or Jonnie mourning somebody's death.
  • Small Universe After All: The Psychlos generally think nothing of conquering entire galaxies. This is actually scaled down from the source novel, wherein they ruled several universes.
  • Smug Snake: Terl, in spades.
  • Space Opera
  • Spared by the Adaptation: One of the few smart changes the movie makes is keeping Terl alive, which would would have no doubt greatly livened up the plot of the sequel-that-never-was with his marginally entertaining presence. In the book, he dies in the same explosion that destroys the entire Psychlo homeworld, about 400 pages into the 1,000 page monstrosity of a book.
  • Stun Guns: The Psychlos' handguns have a stun setting, which they use to capture Jonnie without killing him. A closeup of one of these guns later shows its owner switching the setting between stunning and lethal.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: After Terl assigns the prisoners to mine gold, he doesn't post guards or watch them with cameras. His only security measure is a robotic drone that flies over them once in a while and takes a still photograph.
  • Token Romance: Jonnie's girlfriend, Chrissy, gets about four scenes in this film. All we know is that she left the village against her father's wishes.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The entire Psychlo race, but especially Terl. Terl's stupidity leads directly not only to his own downfall, but the destruction of his homeworld and everyone who lived on it.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: In record time, too, and from scratch. Luckily, they did have an Upgrade Artifact to instantly train everyone, and ... oh, wait ... they forgot to use it.
    • This actually occurs twice: the second time was a rare example of the villains doing this to their own slaves.
  • Translation Convention: While the Psychlos are in private, their language is translated into English, but when the humans are the focus, it's left untranslated. It gets a little weird once Jonnie learns the language and is speaking both in the same scene and 'translating'.
  • Translation: "Yes": Actually one of the few things this movie does well. Terl delivers a flowery and overdramatic threat to the humans he's sending to mine gold for him, which Jonnie accurately summarizes in six words: "Try to run, he'll kill us".
    Terl: <beat> That's it?
    Jonnie nods.
    Terl shrugs.
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting: Most scenes involving the Psychlos.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Yes. In nearly a thousand years of occupying Earth, the gold-hungry Psychlos completely overlooked Fort Knox and its hoard of untouched gold stashed within.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Used so our hero can become an Instant Expert without going through a Training Montage. Infamously not used to help the rest of humanity prepare for the revolution, even though having them do just that was a key plot point in the book.
  • Vanity Project: To quote The Other Wiki: "Travolta, a long-time Scientologist, had sought for many years to make a film of the novel by Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. He was unable to obtain funding from any major studio due to concerns about the film's script, prospects, and connections with Scientology. The project was eventually taken on in 1998 by an independent production company, Franchise Pictures, which specialized in rescuing stars' stalled pet projects. Travolta signed on as a co-producer and contributed millions of dollars of his own money to the production, which commenced in 1999 and was largely funded by German film distribution company Intertainment AG."
  • Villain Ball: Held by the Psychlos' leader, Terl. Teaching your slaves everything there is to know about your civilization in an instant can only end badly, especially if you're supposedly doing it to help conquer their planet. Introducing your pet human to inspiring documents from the American Revolution will only make things worse. Holding your pet human's girlfriend hostage just makes things personal. Abusing your henchman only serves to set up the Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal in the final act. And not launching an all-out crackdown when the man-animals rebel and attack with air support ... not a good idea. Terl doesn't even notice an exploding collar Jonnie straps to his arm in a melee, and proceeds to amputate his own limb when he triumphantly hits the detonator. His (non)reaction shot is priceless. He appears to read the Bizarro Universe inversion of the Evil Overlord List, telling him exactly what to do wrong.
  • Vocal Dissonance: One of the many poor decisions that makes Terl impossible to take seriously is the bizarrely unfitting voice Travolta uses for the character. You'd expect this guy to have some variation of an mighty, villainous baritone, and instead he speaks in a jarringly high-pitched, quasi-aristocratic voice that's probably supposed to be a variation on an alien Evil Brit.invoked
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: After wiping out human civilization, the Psychlos use the survivors as slave labor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?
    • The nameless guy running around with Jonnie and Carlo in Aspen is never seen again after that scene. (He died immediately afterwards in a Deleted Scene where Ker expresses the bizarre idea that humans must be able to fly, and Terl proves that they can't by throwing the guy in question into a chasm.)
    • The Planetship, Terl's direct superior, abruptly vanishes in the latter stages of the movie. This coincides with Terl gaining leverage on him.
  • While You Were in Diapers: When another Psychlo mocks Terl and says that he could have taken a much less stressful job, he says something to this effect: that he was trained to be a Galactic Conqueror since birth.