Ridiculous Overseas Rip-Offs of American Films
Be proud, America! Sure, other developed nations outgun us on every front from health care to sex robots (thanks, Japan), but when it comes to popular culture, other countries can't get enough of our shit. However, as they say: Give a man a fish, and he'll be fed for a day. Teach a man how to make local reproductions of a fish at a fraction of the cost of the American original, and you'll get, um, one hilarious-looking fish. Flailing metaphors aside, check out the 10 most ridiculous overseas "re-imaginings" of American classics.
Pros: The singer is clearly a sex symbol is his own land, and gives hope to paunchy, jheri-curled men everywhere. Also, the video's a harsh reminder of everything that was good and bad about LSD.
Cons: There is only one person in the world who can dance like Michael Jackson without looking like a seizure victim. We'll give you a hint: It's not this guy. Also, we're not afraid to say it: All the zombies from the third row on back are pretty much just phoning it in here.
Highlight: Around 2:47 he breaks into a horrific leg-locked dance-walk with a hideous twitch:
When he first twitches, you think something's gone horribly wrong with his nervous system, but then he does it a couple of more times and you realize he's doing it on purpose.
Conclusion: A pleasantly zaftig imitator makes up for his paunch by bringing the whole affair in at a svelte three and a half minutes.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Japan)
Pros: In 1946, Japan authored a new constitution. One of its provisions was that all fictional characters must be able to turn into robots, which in turn can combine into a larger, more powerful super-robot. Of all the provisions of historic legal documents, this has been deemed the most awesome.
Cons: Land of the Rising Sun? More like "Land of the Rising Destroying My Precious Childhood Memories." Shredder doesn't cry, dammit!
Highlight: You think the song is going to mercifully end at the 3:07 mark, but showing an indulgence worthy of Use Your Illusion-era Axl Rose, the producers opt instead to launch into a second chorus that was very clearly improvised on the spot:
Go, go Turtles! / With an overwhelming, surprising transformation! / …Our hearts combine and the miracle fusion body is awakened!"
Conclusion: An utterly heartbreaking revision of our youth, yes, but it is still, like Domino's pizza to an anthropomorphized amphibian, strangely appealing.
"Star Wars" (Turkey)
Pros: Easily decapitated Wookies! An abundance of trampolines! With props like these, do you really even miss the basic tenants of narrative filmmaking?
Cons: Glove-to-furry combat is great, but we really miss lightsabers. Also, on watching the end of this film again-um, what?
Highlight: At 2:06, our hero successfully disarms a goblin-robot, but is less lucky when he tries to break the sword over his knee:
Conclusion: Coherence aside, if the rest of the Middle East learns this hero's strangely effective form of Turkish kung fu, where a single kick can split heads in half and make rocks explode, America's war on terror is pretty fucked.
Pros: From what we understand, this is only a revised intro for what was otherwise a normal (albeit dubbed) episode of the early '90s American cartoon. Still, it does show that, if an animator wants to make things awesome, he only needs two things: backgrounds composed entirely of moving lines and explosions.
Cons: Japan! What did we tell you about tampering with our child… Actually, you know what? This is pretty cool. Can we get the whole series done this way?
Highlight: At 0:43 they give Wolverine the Pokemon treatment (communicating that he's flying through the air by showing him completely stationary in an athletic pose with lightning in the background).
Conclusion: The original's theme music is still unbeatable. We're pretty sure, however, that this is damned close to what the American version actually looked like to our little nine-year-old brains.
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" (India)
Pros: Who knew that between owning the Dallas Mavericks and being a billionaire software maven, Mark Cuban also found time to front an all-Indian Beatles cover band? Also, since he seems to be having a seizure throughout the video, why didn't anyone stop filming and get a doctor?
Cons: "These Beatles think they are so great, with their three guitars and drum set. Wait until they see our secret weapon!" "Surely, boss, you don't mean…" "Yes! A FOURTH guitar! Also, awkward choreography."
Highlight: About midway through, the band sings the incredibly romantic line: "We also create false promises," followed by fake-Cuban doing an amazing impression of Steve Martin's "Wild and Crazy Guys" schtick. Only, apparently he's trying to be seductive:
Conclusion: Say what you will about the spasmodic dancing and blatantly lifted guitar riffs, but it's hard to deny Bizarro Mark Cuban's angina-inducing enthusiasm.
"Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon" (China)
Pros: In his latest, thrilling, unauthorized Chinese adventure, Harry must use his centaur's keyhole-shaped genitalia to defeat the big, purple dragon from Disney's Sleeping Beauty! Or so we assume. Honestly, we'll just wait for the movie.
Cons: Reality is much more disappointing. According to Wikipedia, it turns out the book is mostly just a word-for-word copy of The Hobbit with the names changed. (Side note: We tried this trick with our college admissions essays and The Princess Diaries. Still nothing from Harvard.)
Highlight: No movie, so we'll probably have to choose Harry's hand gently caressing his centaur's hip:
Conclusion: Come on, China! Japan has been out-producing you in the whacked-out shit department since 1952. You finally have a chance to make good, and you fumble on the goal line. It's downright heartbreaking.
"The Wizard of Oz" (Turkey)
Pros: Unlike the Turkish Star Wars, this remake's director at least appears to have seen the movie he's ripping off. Or at least read the back of the DVD case. Also, Dorothy is a stone-cold fox.
Cons: It's not bad enough to be good, and ends up hovering slightly south of "low rent." Nothing says "compromised cinematic vision" like midgets that are actually just short, chubby 12-year-olds.
Highlight: At some point, Scarecrow's ass is supposed to catch on fire, but because they couldn't actually afford to put a man in a flame suit (let along a believable Scarecrow outfit) he just jumps around holding his butt like he's got an explosive case of the roo.
Conclusion: If anybody wants to take our pornographic version of Oz into production (working title: The Wizard of Oz, But With Naked People), we've got all the boring, shabbily produced non-nude parts right here.
"Mickey Mouse" (State of Palestine)
Pros: Terrorists love Mickey Mouse! So what if he's inciting genocide and calling for the downfall of the Western world? The Chinese can call Big Macs "Death to America Burgers," but it's still a McDonald's in Tiananmen Square, right?
Cons: Only filmmakers with worldwide grosses north of $500 million are allowed to endorse the annihilation of the entire Jewish race. (Source: Disney Corporate Policy Manual, Section E, Paragraph 13, aka The "Passion" Clause)
Highlight: Mickey shares some helpful advice with the kids:
"Don't forget to ask your parents first before you annihilate any Jews, kids!"
Conclusion: Disney has since ceased the loaning of character costumes to radical fundamentalist groups, even if they promise it's just "for their kid's birthday."
Pros: Finally, a film that understands the watchability of any of any musical is directly proportionate to the number of giant shark attacks it features.
Cons: It's still a musical, and the female lead's performance of "Cats Being Strangled in E Flat" goes on for way too long before she does her best chum impression.
Highlight: The brief glimpse we get of the shark after the big musical number should put things into perspective for anyone who's ever complained about the quality of the animatronic shark in Jaws 3:
Conclusion: That movie with the singing, cross-gendered John Travolta in a fat-suit is coming out soon, right? Can we get this shark tickets to the premiere?
"Star Trek" (Turkey)
Pros: Unless "Uhura" is Turkish for "ass-revealing space-tunic," this show's attention to detail proves that Turkey finally has the unauthorized remake down to an art. Or science. Whatever.
Cons: Gratuitous T&A, and the dialogue isn't any less indecipherable than your standard techno-babbleÃ¢â‚¬"we're not really seeing a downside here. However, our heart still goes out to the one guy in the country with an original idea.
Highlights: So many to choose from, but we're going with Turkish Kirk's unbelievably swishy entrance onto the bridge:
...and Turkish Uhura's hip-riding skirt:
Is this intentional? Did she try this on before they started rolling?
Conclusion: Really, Turkey, you should give him a call. His name is Abdullah Oktar, and he's got a great idea for a sitcom. We'll give you a hint: Ted Danson and a female lead TBD (he's in talks with Leah Remini) just bought a new houseÃ¢â‚¬"in space!