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Friday, August 10, 2012

Nukie



Nukie
1988
Sias Odendal, Michael Pakleppa

Cashing in on something popular by copying key elements has been around as long as there has been something popular. Moives in particular have made an industry of it. Most of them are thrown together to make a quick buck and just as quickly forgotten. Occasionally something comes along that brings a new twist or carries a certain charm of its own. 

Nukie is not that thing.

“E.T” (1982) rip-offs are almost without question terrible.  “Los Nueves Extraerrestres (aka Pod People)” (1983), “Mac & Me” (1988), “Little Boy Blue: Tiny Terrestrial” (1990) are all awful.  Perhaps none are quite so awful and misguided as “Nukie”, a film that manages to blast so far beyond ‘so bad it’s good’ that it becomes 'so terrible it possesses a malevolent awfulness about it.'

Two icky looking aliens, who are at first glowly lights and then later lumpy turds with big eyes, ears and gross snotty noses, crash on Earth. Miko, the stupid one, is caught by the American "Space Foundation" and taken to a secret broom closet to be the subject of evil experiments.  Nukie, the other stupid one, lands somewhere in Africa.  Nukie is desperate to find Miko and after taking some advice from a talking baboon, heads to a village to seek help in getting to America. Here he befriends two young boys who happen to speak perfect English for no reason. Back at the Space Foundation, when Miko isn’t getting pumped full of tranquilizers, he’s befriending a talking computer named EDDI.  The rest of the film is colossal mess involving a warlord, a nun, a talking monkey and a scientist who gets turned into a clown or something.  Oh and spoiler alert: The whole movie gets resolved with a wish. 

Nothing is good in “Nukie.” Nothing at all. The aliens are annoying rubbery monstrosities that evoke zero sympathy. Nobody can act, the "Space Foundation" scientists being especially cringeworthy. Nothing makes any sense at all. When it’s not appalling you, it’s boring you.  Setting most of the movie in central Africa could have resulted in at least resulted in some nice scenery but the movie fails to even give you that. Miko suffers some torture that’s pretty harrowing for a kids movie. I suppose this is meant to echo E.T.’s handling by the government, but coupled with the low budget and grainy film there’s something very seedy about it. If any kid could stay awake long enough through this mess they might find something very unsettling at the core.

“Nukie” is in some ways the perfect kind of film to put on with some friends over and plenty of drinks. It rarely commands your attention but every few moments something ridiculous happens and just when you think nothing stupider could possibly occur it does. Just warn your friends before you press play or may wind up with a few less friends.

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