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PLANET WARS [Os Trapalhões na Guerra dos Planetas] (1978).

Bloody fucking Christ! Watching this movie is more painful than passing a kidney stone the size of a G.I. Joe! But first, a bit of backstory. In Brazil, "The Trapalhões" starred in several dozen cheapjack kids' flicks during the '70s and '80s (some of them featuring a young Xuxa Meneghel). Their on-screen comic-idiocy makes The Three Stooges look suave and urbane, as they happily ripped off classic tales such as The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, Sinbad, and in this crazed, no-budget fiasco, STAR WARS! The film begins with a carload of klutzy cretins (our "Trapalhões") chased by generic thugs. Why? We're never told. After a solid 5-minutes of this slapstick pursuit (which makes CANNONBALL RUN 2 seem intellectual), they encounter a cardboard-'n'-scotch-tape spaceship, piloted by rugged Flik (who looks like Han Solo, but dresses like Luke) and his huge, hairy assistant Bonzo (a tall guy in a Chewbacca mask). Flik needs help to stop the evil Zuco and save fiancée Princess Mirna, and offers the Trapalhões their weight in gold (obviously, a universal form of currency throughout the galaxy), if these greedy bumblers will help him out. This soon leads to a slo-mo desert rumble with Sand People knock-offs, Bonzo smoking a cig while sitting on a pile of comatose bad guys, and a scrawny guy in a Darth Vader helmet kidnapping the Princess. Meanwhile, our Earth schmucks meet beautiful babes in the middle of the desert, take them cruising in their old car, and end up at an intergalactic disco. It's at this point I wished my VCR would suddenly explode, and save me from further misery. Will Flik find his Princess? Trust me, you won't care. The plot is secondary to its stupidity, such as when Trapalhões' leader Didi (Renato Aragao) wanders off in search of food, breaks open a giant egg, a guy in a bird costume bursts out, and even a slow 4-year-old could spot his face underneath the fake beak! Plus, when Didi finally turns action-hero, it's accompanied by SIX-MILLION-DOLLAR MAN-style music. Director Adriano Stuart manages to create a movie that's more horrible than THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL. Scenes are constantly repeated, the alien language is simply dialogue played backwards, there's an eardrum-bleeding disco score, and even Sid & Marty Krofft would've vetoed its special-FX (oh, look, a gigantic blue-screen spider!!). Some of the perverse alien backdrops are mildly-cool, in a BUGALOOS-meets-Dali fashion, like a forest of giant mushrooms and plastic trees with living fruit, but most stoned viewers will be comatose long before those highlights. I'd like to imagine George Lucas shitting his pants while watching this tripe, and I'm surprised he didn't sue their asses for copyright infringement until the producers were forced to sell their children into prostitution.

© 2002 by Steven Puchalski.