Movie Review: Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves The World / Turkish Star Wars)

Talk about spoiler warnings, this one has one right in the title.I was curious about this movie for many years and I finally decided to watch it in order to see if the fuss that gets made around it is legitimate or not. Now keep in mind that I was watching the original Turkish version with English subtitles that obviously weren’t perfect, so maybe my impression differs from someone’s who actually understands what the actors are saying. But I’m fairly confident that the perceived quality of the film wouldn’t be fundamentally different if I were able to speak Turkish. Another disclaimer here comes in the form of the fact that I know next to nothing about the Turkish entertainment industry, let alone how it was back in the 80’s.

Sure enough, there’s tons of copyrighted material in there. Plenty of space battle shots taken from Star Wars. But I feel the movie that get’s ripped off even harder is Raiders of the Lost Ark, because every other musical piece is either the theme melody or Marion’s theme. And even stuff like Flash Gordon, Planet of the Apes and The Black Hole have stuff that gets repurposed in this movie. However, I don’t think they were merely taken because these were popular movies. It’s basically an example of remix culture and how you take ideas from different sources and craft something unique out of them. The space battles are stolen from Star Wars, but the context we find them in are entirely different from what we know. The X-Wings represent the bad guys, the TIE fighers are flown by our heroes and the Death Star isn’t a space station/weapon. It’s actually portrayed as a shield erected around a fragment on earth. And I just realized that in order for this last sentence to make sense, I have to explain some stuff first.

The movie opens up with some narration that informs us that humans managed to become a galactic race and in places devolved back into more primitive forms after the progress of technology stagnated them. At some point, earth got “disintegrated” (I think they mean “blown up”) and one chunk of earth that still flies around is the one that erected the barrier around itself, looking like the Death Star. Never mind how it receives direct sunlight through this solid shield. The shield itself is powered by concentrated human brain molecules in a weirdly scientific but still esoteric allusion to the force. To pass through, you need a human brain, and the antagonist of the movie, a 1000-year-old wizard, who in his own words waited “1000 light years” to finally capture a human brain, apparently doesn’t have one. Despite the planet being full of humans. Maybe that’s why he fails and why his plans are so utterly stupid. But apparently he needs a very specific brain for it to work.

As you can gather from this description, the movie is seven flavors of bonkers. The plot jumps around quite frenetically, which isn’t helped by an editor who apparently got a prescription for caffeine IVs. Because god damn are there a lot of edits here. Tons of reaction shots that barely last a second and don’t actually mean anything within the context of the scene and bizarre changes in camera angles lead to a movie that left me confused and disoriented like few movies have before. This is all contrasted with overly long fight sequences that are really badly choreographed and interspersed with a few positively gay bromance scenes between the two leads Murat and Ali (imagine an American movie where the main characters were called John and James and you understand how utterly generic these names are) where they constantly talk about how good they look and how women love them. And how they hope that the planet they crash on is inhabited entirely by women. Or how they’d like it more if the pilots of their enemy ships were women in bikinis. Do you see how this movie was made in an entirely different culture and time period? One where you apparently have to mention your heterosexuality at every turn.

But the question on everybody’s lips is obviously: Is it the worst movie ever? No, not by a long shot. For what it is, it’s fairly entertaining if a bit confusing at times. But I never felt like I was wasting my time with it. I had fun and I appreciated it for what it is. Not in an ironic way, just that I enjoyed the silly shit I got to see, including the finale where the main character karate chops the evil wizard in half. And I don’t mean horizontally either. From head to groin. But I’ll probably never watch the movie again. It’s not something I feel is compulsively watchable and you certainly have to have the stomach for these types of movies.

 

 

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