Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Above: Russian movie poster for the original Star Wars.

Everybody ripped off Star Wars. That much is common knowledge. But certain movies did it SO goddamn well that they actually surpassed the original in every way. Five such movies are listed below. These are the best of the best, the cream of the crop -- forgotten sci-fi/fantasy masterpieces that raised the bar so high that they actually broke it.
PS: I realize that Starcrash should be #1 on this list, but I just wrote a post about that movie 2 days ago. Sorry.

5) Hawk The Slayer - 1980
Country of origin: UK
Director: Terry Marcel
Cast: Jack Palance, John Terry
Plot summary: Not neccessarily a "space opera", Hawk is more of a "sword and sorcery" flick that bases its entire plot on Star Wars. Hawk (Terry) must use his mysterious Force-like powers (and a ragtag cast of lovable allies) to defeat the villainous Zoltan (Palance), who wears a helmet and cape. Zoltan's evil boss is a cloaked Emperor-esque type guy. Late in the movie, it is revealed that Zoltan is actually Hawk's BROTHER. Not his father. His brother.
Highlights: Dwarves, nuns, elves, magical swords, and a disco soundtrack.




Select imagery:

Palance can't believe he signed up for this shit.

Lazer battle (?)

Title screen

4) L'umanoide (translation: The Humanoid) - 1979
Country of origin: Italy
Director: Aldo Lado
Plot summary: Golob (RICHARD FUCKING KIEL) is a humanoid robot. Graal and Dr. Kraspin are two bad guys trying to take over Planet Metropolis. Golob must destroy them. Space battles, lazer fights, and zany adventures ensue.


My mistake, the intro to this movie is NOTHING like Star Wars:

"Space battle":

Watch it on YouTube.

Select imagery:

NOT Vader


More lazers

3) Battle Beyond The Stars - 1980
Country of origin: USA
Director: Jimmy T. Murakami (produced by Roger Corman)
Cast: Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxon, Sybil Danning
Plot summary: Basically a re-imagining of The Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven with many, many Star Wars elements. A cast of rogue space warriors, led by the young and inexperienced Shad (Thomas, as Luke Skywalker) must defend their planet from the evil Sador (Saxon). There are spaceships, there are space princesses, and there is a kamikaze assault on a giant space fortress at the end.
Highlights: Script co-written by John Sayles (!?). Music by James Horner. A spaceship that has boobs.



The first 10 minutes:

You can watch the WHOLE THING on YouTube here.

Select imagery:

Forehead-eyeball guys

John Fucking Saxon

The boob ship

2) Os Trapalhões Na Guerra Dos Planetas (translation: The Bunglers In The War Of The Planets) - 1978
Country of origin: Brazil
Director: Adriano Stuart
Cast: Pedro Aguinaga as "Prince Flick", Renato Aragão, Carlos Bucka, Wilma Dias
Plot summary: A spoof on Star Wars, starring the Trapalhoes ("bunglers" or "tramps"), a troupe of well-known Brazilian comedians from the 70's. Absolutely and completely absurd. Although it is meant as a comedy, it quickly becomes apparent that the best laughs in the film are unintentional. Basically Star Wars made by a group of autistic 8-year-olds dosed on acid. Amazing.
Highlights: Chewbacca smoking cigarettes, Mos Eisley disco scene, malevolent fire-turtle, shit, too many to name. While most characters travel via spaceship or Landspeeder, the bunglers cruise around Tatooine (or whatever) in a jeep. Sweet.




Brazilian Star Wars disco scene (audio is disabled, but there isn't actually MUSIC in the original, either):

Select imagery:

AWESOME spacecraft

Fluorescent desert chicks

This is NOT Chewbacca

Also NOT Vader

1) Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (translation: The Man Who Saves the World) - 1982
Country of origin: Turkey
Director: Çetin İnanç
Cast: Cüneyt Arkın (who also "wrote" it), Aytekin Akkaya, Hüseyin Peyda
Plot summary: Due to an embargo on American movies at the time, "The Turkish Star Wars" used shitloads of bootlegged footage lifted directly from Star Wars, as well as borrowing most of its score from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It follows the same basic plot as Star Wars, but also throws in wizards, skeletons on horseback, magical golden gloves and boots that make you jump super high and punch super hard, lots of karate, and guys running around in big, furry, rubber suits. Probably the only movie in the history of movies that surpasses Trapalhões in sheer "WTF Factor".
Highlights: Protagonist battling golden ninjas. Awesome costumes. Aforementioned Star Wars footage. Crazy Turkish dudes running around in the desert doing weird shit.


The first 9 minutes (it gets good about 2 minutes in):

Training montage:

Final scene (SPOILERS!):

Select imagery:


He's pissed about his eye

Cartoon tie-in?

Soooo many highlights...


Viagra said...

As a die hard Star Wars fan, let me say this is just no good. The Brazilian one... With a very bad makeup work for Chewbacca and a Vader that looks like his face got crushed in impact.. If you say they are good, I'll trust you but it really worries me.

ChromodynamicGirl said...

I LOVE Turkish Star Wars!
Also, that Russian Star Wars poster is hilarious. WTF is that about? Cat cyborg with lightsabers for hair. What are the illustrations around the edges about? I just have to imagine, in typical Soviety fashion, they commissioned an artist who had never seen the film.