I saw E.T. in theaters when I was just shy of 7. It was an ideal age to see the movie. I’ve seen in since once or twice as an adult. It’s been a while but it’s a good movie. Spielberg never really makes outright bad movies. It’s aimed at kids but okay for adults. Growing up, VHS rental stores were a brand new thing. And we didn’t have any Internet reviews to easily look up. So we made decisions on what to rent based off of the box art, mostly. Thus, I grew up on several knock-off E.T. movies. Mac and Me was the most prominent. It was odd to see bad movies as a kid because you were like, “Well, an adult made it so if I don’t like it I guess I’m just not paying attention.” But no. The knock-offs were bad. So I decided now that we should have a week of looking at the knock-offs. And I’ll tell you right now, I really really regret watching the Turkish knock-off of E.T. It’s titled Badi and it’s really uneven. It’s certainly intended to be a kid’s movie. But… they literally kill a dog in it. I was disgusted and there was no going back. So while I intended to poke light fun at this movie, I instead outright hate it.
First of all, it should be noted that the movie was in Turkish with no subtitles. So I’m guessing at some stuff, but even without dialog, I could get a sense of characters and the gist of the plot. I used imdb to figure out some of the character names. Badi focuses a LOT more on the kids and even the adults than E.T. That’s probably because the Badi suit is nowhere near as convincing as E.T. and it’s actually kind of terrifying. There are two main characters, both boys. Bülent is a blond-haired kid with two sisters (the oldest of which seems to be constantly teased for maybe being ugly?) and two parents. His father has a HUGE mustache and is supposed to be funny (I think) but is actually scarily abusive. He screams at his family and hits them. The other kid is Bülent’s pal, Ali. Ali is dark-haired, an only child, with just his old crone of a mom. He really likes plants and animals while Bülent likes electronics.
Early on, we see Ali befriend a stray dog but some school official won’t let the dog into school. When Ali gets out of school, a police officer has shot the dog in the street. And when the dog is picked up, there is just no doubt that they are lifting this dog’s corpse. Up to this point we’ve just had some goofy kids and a friendly young adult who runs the local electronics shop. Some nice lady swings by and they chat while walking around town and they see the dog get shot, too. The electronics owner’s best customer is Bülent so I guess he knows the kids. Anyway, as soon as I saw the dead dog, I lost all interest in trying to enjoy the movie on any level. I quickly realized that the town they live in is kind of a slum. And I don’t mean it’s decorated as such. It’s just… depressing. Not many paved roads and the houses are all ramshackle. The kids hang out on a hill that’s by a major highway. It’s just a greyish brown dull place to live.
Bülent tries to get Ali to hang out with his gang of friends (and his sisters) but Ali just hangs out at home talking to his pet bird. And I don’t mean talking at it. I mean he legit appears to be having back and forth conversations. Meanwhile, the nice lady goes back to her apartment which is also a lab. I don’t understand this at all and there’s two guys there who I never quite figured out what their relationship to her is. One is older so it could be her father but I suspect it’s a professor. Then there’s a guy her age that seems to hit on her but she’s not that into it? Maybe? But he honestly could also be her brother. I think he’s definitely her colleague. They are sending out signals into space, so I assume it’s a SETI type of project. A UFO immediately zooms by. And the movie cuts to a brief shot of a sleeping cat while they all react. Is this some sort of Turkish joke that I don’t get? An editing mistake? It’s really weird.
So Badi steps off the UFO into the woods. Remember how in E.T. the aliens were obviously doing some sort of scientific research, gathering plant samples? And they left but E.T. got stuck? There’s no such nuance here. Badi just lands and walks off into the woods. And while the whole town gets out at night and looks around for whatever the noise was, Ali is the one to find Badi. No big surprise there. Among those who look for the noise are the three researcher folks, some other type of scientist doing his own thing, a police inspector that looks a LOT like Saddam Hussein and essentially the rest of the village.
I really should not keep comparing Badi to E.T. since the former is so terrible, but it generally follows all the plot beats of E.T. so it’s hard not to. At this point in E.T., Elliott and E.T. carefully search for a sound and E.T. gets scared and then they become friends. In Badi, Ali and Badi see one another and scream and run and there’s no buildup of tension. It just happens. Ali instantly trips and gets bruised up. So Ali can’t go to school the next day, which seems to piss off Bülent. What a pal. So Ali’s mom goes off to work and then Badi comes snooping around. Is it a coincidence? Or was he searching for the first guy he saw? Probably the first option because they again bump into each other and Badi gets scared so he starts farting white gas. Yeah, that’s what he does when he’s scared. It’s actually quite gross. Ali doesn’t run away this time; he tries to communicate. And they bond over candy. But they don’t have Reese’s Pieces. Instead it’s this… grey pile that has gritty brown stuff inside. And you can see it because Ali chews it with his mouth wide open. It looks terrible.
Aside from farting, Badi can do magic. He makes some apples float. Then he makes Ali’s bruises disappear. Ali’s mom comes home and Badi hides by just standing right behind her. I don’t know how she doesn’t hear or smell him. While this is going on, the researches find the UFO. And Bülent and his siblings spy on the researchers. The researchers go to the electronics store to build… something. So Bülent builds something, too. He hooks up a record player, circular saw and some chemistry items into what looks like a piece of junk. I guess it’s supposed to resemble E.T.’s invention made with the Speak N Spell.
So what would be the least sensible move for Ali? He does that. He takes Badi out of his house where there’s only his mom and moves him into Bülent’s house. So Bülent introduces him to each of his siblings in a scene that takes way too long. And I guess I forgot but Bülent has a younger brother who screams and cries when he sees Badi. This actually made me laugh because it was just so real. Badi starts fiddling with Bülent’s device and also finds a stash of porn magazines. He flips through them and… there’s boobs in this movie. The tone keeps changing just when I think I’ve got a grasp of it.
Ali then has a weird dream of all the kids at school singing a weird song together and flapping their arms like birds. Badi shows up along with police sirens and they all swarm to protect him. Then Ali wakes up, his mom comes to comfort him and he can only speak like a bird. It’s weird. The next day, Badi decides to just walk out of the house in broad daylight and go to the school. The scientists are still searching for him (without any luck) and when the school custodian sees Badi, he faints and seems to hit his hard really hard on the steps. This gag is repeated shortly. Badi just walks right into Ali’s class and the kids all love him but the teacher keeps looking in the wrong spot and not noticing Badi. Until he finally does and he also faints. Or just drops dead? I don’t know, but these falls are ROUGH.
Anyway, the kids all smuggle Badi back to Bülent’s house. That night, they get the, I dunno, I’ll call it “communications equipment”, and go to smuggle Badi out. But they come across Bülent’s angry father. He sees the shadow and I guess thinks it’s one of his kids out of bed past their bedtime so he raises his hand to hit them. Then he sees it’s Badi and things get really, really slapsticky. Sorry movie, but you killed a dog. You don’t get to follow that up with slapstick. Badi does his gross fart gas and the entire family starts running up and down the stairs and in and out of doors, all with the film sped way up. I guess because they all get scared by one another?
It gets stupider. Badi runs back to Ali’s house and when Ali’s mom sees him she appears to have a heart attack. But the kids then take Badi to an abandoned amusement park. No one calls an ambulance or anything. Badi uses his mysterious abilities to turn on the rides. So if wandering around town making adults faint and have heart attacks hasn’t drawn any attention, certainly an amusement park would. Badi is really, really stupid. Every kid from town comes and goes on rides and eventually the cops show up. In all this confusion, Badi disappears. In the morning, Ali’s friends drag him home where his mother is apparently okay and has been nervously waiting for him. While this is going on, the investigators are all frustrated because their device to find an alien keeps pointing them close by but they figure that can’t be and keep driving all over town. They’re… so dumb.
Ali’s mom asks Bülent to get a doctor because Ali isn’t feeling well. Instead, Bülent gets the investigators! What? I don’t understand this part at all and it continues to be confusing. The investigators come to Ali’s house and his bird tells them that Badi is in the trunk of their car. They immediately check and find him. That’s where Badi’s been hiding. How did the bird know that? How did it have the ability to tell them? Seeing Badi again, Ali is instantly better but Badi appears to be sick. The kids all gather around, worried that he’ll die. The other scientist from the beginning pops up and so do all the villagers. But Bülent is ready for this and he’s organized all the kids in town to help. They toss marbles at the adults or move shopping carts in their paths. They wear monster masks and shoot toy guns at the adults. Ali uses the distraction to sneak Badi out of the house in a towel.
The kids put Badi in a cart and inflate some balloons that Badi then farts into. And his farts lift them into the sky. The only way E.T.‘s flying bicycle scene could be improved. With farts. The kids tearfully say their goodbyes and Badi leaves in his UFO that I guess he could have left in at any time he wanted to. If you’re curious about the electronics store owner and the lady investigator, who knows what happens with them? The movie is over.
Mercifully over. What a shitshow. Badi appears to have been improvised based on E.T.‘s story. But then they found ways to make it worse like really gross farts, murdering a dog, having adults take painful falls, adding an abusive father, and more. Just… avoid this movie. There was a Badi 2, but I just can’t. I just can’t.