Tourist Ömer visits Star Trek (1973)
Film review #342
Director: Hulki Saner
SYNOPSIS: The U.S.S. Enterprise is visiting Professor Krater on a remote planet to collect some reports. While they are their one of their crew is killed, and Captain and his crew begin an investigation. The Professor wants them off the planet, and so uses a machine to transport a man to the planet who he will claim to be the murderer. Meanwhile on Earth, Ömer is being forced into a shotgun wedding when he is transported to the planet and taken into custody by Spock. However the investigation begins to get ever more complex, and even Spock’s patience begins to wear thin with the hyperactive Ömer running amok on board the Enterprise…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Tourist Ömer visits Star Trek (Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda) is a 1973 Turkish sci-fi film and the eighth in the series of films centred around the hapless roamer Ömer, as he causes trouble wherever he ends up. This time, he is about to be forced into a shotgun wedding with a woman who he says he barely knows. Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Enterprise is visiting Professor Krater and his wife on a remote planet to collect some reports from him when one of there crew is mysteriously killed. They have to stay and investigate, which irritates Professor Krater, who decides to use a time machine to bring someone from the past who he can blame for the murder. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Ömer, that person is him. Krater brings Ömer to Kirk and Spock as the murder, and they take him on board the Enterprise into custody. Obviously, the first thing that should be mentioned is that this is not an official Star Trek film (although technically it is the first film in the Star Trek franchise), and none of the original cast, crew or writers are involved in this. Then again, neither is it a parody, since that would have changed the names of the characters and such. The film also steals the footage of the Enterprise in space from the television series, which shows it isn’t too concerned with any repercussions from using the Star Trek name. The story itself also isn’t anything too original, with plot points taken from a number of different episodes and recreated. Certain scenes will be very familiar to Star Trek fans as they are pretty much identical to those found in said episodes. So it definitely feels like a Star Trek episode, but mostly because it copies them directly.
Ömer is the typical fish-out-of-water character, as he tries to navigate the future he has found himself transported to, and generally make a mess of everything he touches. A lot of the time though, he is absent or in the background, as the film typically plays it straight and acts as a proper Star Trek episode. The actors that portray the characters do their bit to capture the original feel and look of said characters: Kirk has that sense of presence and swagger, and Spock has the Vulcan stoicism, and the actor that plays him is able to do the trademark eyebrow raise very well. Some of the acting is a bit rough, but that almost adds to the authenticity of replicating the original series. A lot of the humour is derived from Ömer being annoying and testing Spock’s Vulcan patience to the absolute limit. Ömer gets to play about with some futuristic gadgets and use them to basically annoy Spock again, so the film makes use of the setting for Ömer’s character to be himself, and it all unfolds pretty much how you would expect it to. Some of the humour will be lost on people unfamiliar with Turkey and its culture, but there’s not too much of it, and again a lot of the focus of the film is on reproducing an authentic Star Trek experience.
This film clearly doesn’t have much of a budget or the technological means to create any spectacular special effects. The same three or four sets are used throughout the whole of the film and don’t offer much variety, although the on-location filming looks rather nice. The bridge of the Enterprise looks nothing like the original, and clearly they had to make it with what they had. This film is definitely a product of its time; when filmmakers could get away with using another’s intellectual property without being found out and sued into the ground. It does feel authentically like a Star Trek film not just because it steals everything from the original without making it into a parody or satire, but because the limited budget reflects the similar constraints that the original series had. The film focuses on being more Star Trek film than Tourist Ömer, with the titular character only serving as a minor complication or annoyance in the plot. Given that the plot itself is mostly cobbled together from episodes of the series, there’s not much new for a Star Trek fan to see either, although they may enjoy the references. Overall: pretty harmless, but pretty pointless.