Tag Archives: Copyright infringement

APOCRYPHA CANDIDATE: DÜNYAYİ KURTARAN ADAM [THE MAN WHO SAVES THE WORLD] (1982)

aka Turkish Star Wars

DIRECTED BY: Çetin Inanç

FEATURING: Cüneyt Arkin, Aytekin Akkaya, Füsun Uçar

PLOT: The Wizard is bent on destroying the Earth, but a pair of Turkish space pilots, Murat and Ali, evade destruction, crash-landing on a planet where the locals eke out their existence under the Wizard’s oppressive thumb. By strengthening his body and taking control of a mighty sword, Murat confronts The Wizard and his grotesque minions.

Still from Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (AKA The Man Who Saved the World, Turkish Star Wars)

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: Somehow managing to combine crowd-pleasing action with an awe-inspiring level of filmmaking incompetence, this infamous Turkish “blockbuster” is impossible to believe even as you’re watching it. The sheer magnitude of the amateurish techniques and narrative shortcuts results in less of a film and more of a fever dream – which is a surefire way to get our attention.

COMMENTS: Let’s start with the theft, as that is the full and complete reason for Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam‘s notoriety in the Western world. Director Inanç and star Arkin plotted their new film to take advantage of the public’s interest in sci-fi fantasy epics, with Star Wars leading the way. Steal from the best, they say, and Inanç took that phrase as literally as possible, illicitly dubbing an anamorphic print of the box office juggernaut and peppering his new movie with random and strangely squeezed clips from the pilfered print. The result is riotously inept: scenes are offered in no particular order; clips are frequently repeated; the original film’s good and evil seem to have flipped sides. Perhaps most amusingly, space pilots are filmed with the Star Wars footage rear-projected to simulate space flight… only the footage retains its original cuts. For anyone who knows the ubiquitous blockbuster, it’s hilariously naïve, like an art thief trying to cart away the Venus de Milo in the middle of a midday crowd.

But the snarky moniker is genuinely unfair, because (a) the purloined clips constitute a very small portion of the film, mostly during the scene-setting opening, and (b) there’s so much other stealing going on. Star Wars is joined by clips from old fantasy epics, stock footage of space launches, and even another studio’s logo card. And then there’s the soundtrack, a veritable calico quilt of lifted cues. The sharp-eared will pick up the bass line from Queen’s Flash Gordon score, a hyperactive take on the Battlestar Galactica theme, and fanfares from a James Bond movie, while it takes no listening skills at all to notice the liberal use of John Williams’ “Raiders March,” which the film appropriates as Murat’s spring-into-action theme, meaning we get to hear those noble trumpets literally dozens of times.

But pinching footage from another film alone does not a weird movie make, and Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam proves that it can vie for the title on its own. The story, what little can be teased out, is that a villainous warlord has an insatiable vendetta against the Earth, and is determined to destroy it. Or already has. (Possibly owing to translation issues and definitely because of regular re-use of the exploding planet scenes, the Wizard seems to destroy the Earth a lot in this Continue reading APOCRYPHA CANDIDATE: DÜNYAYİ KURTARAN ADAM [THE MAN WHO SAVES THE WORLD] (1982)

CAPSULE: 3 DEV ADAM (1973)

3 Mighty Men; 3 Giant Men

DIRECTED BY: Tevfik Fikrat Ucat

FEATURING: Aytekin Akkaya, Yavuz Selekman, Dogan Tamer

PLOT: Captain America and Mexican wrestling champion Santo travel to Istanbul to help defeat evil antiques stealer Spider.

Still from 3 Dev Adam (1973)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It has its illucid moments, but there’s not enough consistent high absurdity beyond its preposterous pop premise. I admit that when three laughing puppet heads inexplicably appear in the middle of a sex scene, I was strongly tempted to make this movie a candidate for the List. But, at bottom, if you take the copyright-violation costumes off the actors and you would have a mildly exciting, ridiculous, and extremely cheap action film; a fun oddity to be sure, but not in the same league as the weirdest movies of all time.

COMMENTS: I’m not saying this movie would make a great deal of sense if the villain weren’t a blatant Spiderman knockoff, but about 90% of what makes 3 Dev Adam look absurd to us comes from the “facts” we know about Marvel’s classic superhero. Here in the West we realize that Spiderman does not wear a green costume with a red cowl and an overweight arachnid on the back. We know that his eyebrows aren’t so bushy that they stick out of his mask by a good two inches. And, most importantly, we know that Spidey does not bury women up to their necks in the sand and then pumice their faces with the propeller of a motorboat. If Adam‘s director is to be believed, it was no problem to make Spiderman into a villain because Turkish moviegoers had no idea who he was, which begs the question: why bother to rip off foreign superheroes at all if your audience doesn’t know who they are?

Perhaps Turks were more familiar with Captain America and Mexican wrestling hero Santo than with Spiderman, because these two crime fighters are garbed more faithfully in suits that look like they might have been rented from costume shops in Manhattan and Guadalajara, respectively. But this brings up another issue: these two heroes don’t have any superpowers, Captain America doesn’t have a magic shield, and neither has a secret identity to protect, so there’s no obvious reason for them to get all Continue reading CAPSULE: 3 DEV ADAM (1973)