G.O.R.A. (2004)

It’s Turkish.  It’s a Science Fiction comedy.  It is mostly funny.

I’m not sure there’s much else to say about it, though.

I like the look of the film, with its nicely detailed spacecraft and somewhat Middle-Eastern alien world.  It’s all CGI, of course, but fairly good CGI for the era even if it is a little shiny.  Cem Yilmaz stars (and writes with help from his brother) and it’s obvious he’s someone in Turkey, although it is equally obvious that his fame hasn’t spread particularly far.  He took his stand-up routine sketches of a Turk in space and spun them into over two hours of feature film – which does feel a bit long, thank you for asking.

Here he gets to play five different parts and is actually unrecognizable as the villain, Logar. G.O.R.A. borrows or references almost every Hollywood SF film made since the seventies, with Cem’s dubious Turkish rug salesman posing as Neo from the Matrix while his friends spray his robe with a leafblower to make it flow right for the SF film he’s making.  He even manages to save the alien world of G.O.R.A. because he recognizes the ancient magic stones of their ultimate weapon – he saw it in The Fifth Element.  And, of course, Turkish is the linqua franca of the galaxy – and one of the aliens rejects American money in favor of Turkish lira.

On the whole, I think it’s funnier than Mel Brooks somewhat similar comedy, Spaceballs, but that’s not saying much.  Mel’s space comedy lacks an important something that all his best films had.  Anyone watching High Anxiety can see how much he admired and respected and understood Hitchcock.  But he clearly had little respect for Star Wars or any of the other SF films he lampooned.

That’s not true of Cem Yilmaz, who winks a little when he throws in a chess set made of  Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, or the lightsaber the salesman grabs turns out just to be a flashlight.

However, it is only fair to note that the film is also extremely crude, more so than most R-rated Hollywood comedies.  I suspect Cem set some sort of record for the use of the word “Belgium”…err, for dropping “F-bombs”, that is, in his English language opening sequence.  But at least that part is funny.

(Film available here.  English subtitles available here).



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