Before I get started, there is one thing I think I need to make clear here:
The main villain wears a toaster on his head.
Now I’ve said this about Donyaye Ayandeh before. In fact, I’ve been saying it ever since I first saw stills from the film in Tars Tarkas.net‘s review. Although I had assumed this was a humorous take on my part.
But then I actually watched the film not too long ago, and for goodness sakes, that is a toaster.
To be precise, it might be a bit larger than the real thing, but, if you ignore the minor fact that it has eyes and a nose, it still looks exactly like a classic toaster.
Complete with the handles on its side which double as X2’s ears.
If the evil overlord is actually named X2 (it’s written on his back, but then, it’s also on the back of everyone on the ship…which appears to be named X2).
…Did I mention I watched this one without subtitles?
It’s really hard to sum this one up: it’s like Santa Claus Meets the Martians, only with terrible digital effects. And it’s a Star Wars ripoff.
Okay, that wasn’t so hard.
What makes all this even stranger is that they seem to have stolen the basic 3-D models for their ships. The very first ship we see is a horribly bad wireframe version of the Agamemnon from Babylon 5, then we get what looks like an A-Wing and Y-Wing from Star Wars with minimal rendering.
Although you get the impression that they downloaded these models for free off the internet. Or maybe they were the sample models that came with the software. Or maybe they were some first year computer graphics student’s homework assignments, I don’t know. There’s been some minor attempt to modify them (well, except the Agamemnon, which we only see for a few seconds) but you can’t miss what they are.
Although, to be fair, the X2 is actually an original design, even if it has a somewhat Battlestar Galactica look about it.
But maybe it’s a ship from that show which I don’t remember offhand.
Although the more I think about it, the more certain I am that I’ve seen that ship somewhere…
At any rate, there’s a kid whose grandfather (probably) reads to him from some large book with a wildly illustrated cover showing Persian soldiers on horseback fighting with each other. I might almost get the impression that our official wise old man has a book of Persian myths if I hadn’t heard the word “Koran” spoken very clearly later on in the film. And there is a large portrait of a stern, bearded man on the back cover of the book.
Although you really don’t expect pictures of Mohammed on an illustrated cover for the Koran.
Or an illustrated cover.
However, after a quick introduction to the rest of the family — his father, mother and the goofy guy in a jumpsuit and white boonie hat who is apparently the family handyman (although we know he’s really the comic relief. And a particularly terrible one, at that) — the boy isn’t feeling well and goes to bed with a fever.
However, another little boy who is apparently his friend or neighbor wakes him up. An alien ship (which looks just like an A-Wing) has landed, and the two (and a third boy who barely appears on screen throughout the entire film) go play in it.
But then the alien crew — wearing very silly uniforms those Martians Santa encounters might have been ashamed of — comes back, captures them and takes them to the X2.
Of course, the comic relief handyman is taking a nap in the alien ship, so he and the boy get free (after they’ve met the guy in the silly red hat who seems to be alien henchman number one, and a few other characters in silly costumes). Then the boy’s dad realizes where he is and comes after him in his Y-Wing.
There isn’t a lot more to this one: they befriend an alien dwarf who proves to be an excellent harmonica player; there are other children aboard, including one little boy in blackface, whom the aliens are experimenting on for some reason or other; a suspiciously nice lady isn’t happy when they don’t eat the meal she offers them, and turns into a goofy white, furry creature (which ends in a ridiculous moment “borrowed” from Alien, minus the explosive decompression); it turns out that one of the bad guys (well, girl, in this case) is really an ally in disguise (although she was still back on Earth after we first saw the woman in black. But you can’t think logically about a film like this) and the boy constantly muses about how this all fits in with what his grandfather read to him.
Finally, they are recaptured and confront X2 and his Praetorian guards (who wear a far less impressive red version of his toaster helmet).
But it’s okay because the father dispatches X2 with absurd ease.
In a very silly sort of way, of course.
This summary may make this film sound like more fun than it actually is: after all, most of its running time is spent on talk. Lots and lots of talk.
Lots of it. They never stop.
And even the Wizard of Oz ending we’ve been expecting doesn’t really help.
Still, it’s interesting to see George Lucas filtered through another culture, even if it doesn’t work out well for either of them.
It’s an interesting little curiosity, and if you are into bad films and general weirdness you’ll probably feel the need to see this one.
Mind you, it’s very hard to find.
And there don’t appear to be any subtitles available, either.
But at least you can see the stills from it, and feel thankful that you can’t get your hands on it…
(My thanks once again to the incomparable Jon Whitehead of Rarefilmm.com for finding a copy for me!)