The year is 1982. The first two Star Wars movies have been released and everyone is waiting on the edge of their seats for the final movie (at least what they thought would be the end). Deep in the middle of Turkey, Cüneyt Arkin saw the movies and thought “I can do that.”
Instead, we got “Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam,” – “The Man Who Saved the World,” or as it’s better known, “Turkish Star Wars.” It is both famous and infamous for being one of the weirdest and worst movies of all time.
You know you’re in for a great time when a movie starts with an opening credit sequence made of cuts from black paper held in front of an incandescent bulb. You can literally see the hand of the guy moving each of the names into and out of frame. My favorite part of this is where they clearly dropped one guy’s name so that it only showed for a few frames but kept that take anyway for the final cut. I like to think that the guy moving the cards just really didn’t like the man.
Now, where does one go after badly attempting a Star Wars opening crawl? Why, 10 minutes of directly-stolen Star Wars footage in the wrong aspect ratio with the colors oddly pigmented, of course! During this whole time, a man talks into a microphone – which sounds like it’s on the other side of the room – trying to give us as much exposition as possible.
At one point, they have their main actor (who is also the writer) sit on a swivel chair in front of the shots inside the X-wings. At, first I thought it was genuinely the real footage. That is, until the screen behind him cuts to the exterior view, without his doing anything different.
I do have to give props to the costume crew for this scene specifically, because the outfits they put our hero and his friend in look exactly like the rebel fighter outfits, sans the logo.
Now, all this stolen “Star Wars” footage wasn’t actually the original plan. The director previously had some elaborate spaceship sets manufactured and set up, but a freak storm had destroyed them and they didn’t have to budget to make more. So, he bribed the guards of a film distribution center and copied a reel of “Star Wars: A New Hope” to use throughout the movie.
So, our hero and his best friend get shot down, which the villain just calls “escaping,” and crash land on a desert planet that looks suspiciously like Turkey. They then wander the desert, musing about whether they’ve crash landed on a planet only inhabited by women. Then the friend decides to whistle incredibly loudly, which apparently has the power to attract women. Sadly, he did the wrong whistle, and instead summoned an army of skeletons.
The two heroes now bravely beat down the skeletons with a combination of double chops to the collar bones and slapping their sides – all accompanied by the main theme from Indiana Jones.
And no, it doesn’t just sound like it, it is seriously a straight rip.
They then make their way to a village to find our villain – a spikey man known only as The Wizard – taking some of the citizens to drain them of their blood. Our heroes try to save them, but just barely manage to fend them off. They are then taken to a hut to help clean their wounds by rubbing wet spinach on them.
Next is probably the most brutal scene I’ve seen on one of these bad movies: 30 children are mercilessly slaughtered by a giant teddy bear with tinsel on its claws. This isn’t like in real Star Wars where they cut away and tell us,“he’s killed the younglings.”
No, they make us watch as they jump cut all over the place to put the blood on the child actors. After our heroes save a single child and the adults by closing off a room with a big rock door, they cut to a 5-foot-high pile of dead children.
Did I mention this movie was supposedly made for children?
Now our heroes know they aren’t strong enough, so they start a 10-minute-long training sequence. But how do they train themselves in the middle of a mountainous desert? Why, with rocks of course. Punching rocks, slapping rocks, and tying rocks to their legs and running. They also got the budget for a trampoline, so our hero can now do flips and jump a whole five feet in the air for every attack, all shot from the same angle so we can’t see the trampoline. To finalize his training, he chops some rocks in half and then slaps sand for over a minute.
Now, this is where the movie became incredibly boring. It was hard to stay focused from the 35-minute mark until the last couple of minutes, because it is just mindless fighting sequences and extremely convoluted plotlines until the final moments of the film. I think there’s a whole thing about Islam being the religion that unified all humans and them having to travel through ancient Christian ruins to find a legendary weapon, but don’t quote me on that.
The last piece of action of the movie completely made up for that horrible last 45 minutes by having the greatest villain death ever.
So, back in the training, the hero has split a rock in half with a chop, and you just know immediately that would be the move used to kill the wizard.
And the movie didn’t disappoint!
Our hero does a double-front-flip into a single chop, splitting the wizard in half vertically. The jump cut from the actor to the foam props was so obvious that I burst out laughing after being half asleep since the training sequence.
I rate movies from 10 to -10, with negatives being so bad, its good. This movie would deserve a -8 if it only lasted until the training sequence and included the last couple minutes, but I have to give it a -4 because I just spend a majority of the move bored and confused. Apparently, they had cut an hour out of the movie right before release, so I wonder if it would have been more enjoyable with that hour or just as bad. We may never know.
This was originally written for The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon and edited by Margot McClellan.