What’s Up, Muhammad could have worked as an alternate title of this film, which revives the grand old tradition of overdubbing a movie’s existing dialogue with comical new dialogue. What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), Woody Allen’s overdubbing of a Japanese spy movie to make it a battle over an egg salad recipe, is still the best known of these ventures.
It was far from the first, however, and was preceded by Fractured Flickers (1963), a weekly television show in which celebrities would dub improvised comedic dialogue into old silent movies. Much later Mad Movies (1985) would feature its comedy talent from the L.A. Connection overdubbing movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Not even serials were exempt from such treatment, with my favorite example being Firesign Theater’s production Hot Shorts (1984) featuring items like Sperm Bank Bandits in which the comedy team inserted comical dialogue into old serials like Canadian Mounties vs Atomic Invaders.
Other prime instances of overdubbing include What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon (1983) with Jay Leno and other celebrities editing comical dialogue into the classically bad monster movie The Hideous Sun Demon and A Man Called … Rainbo (1990) in which the early Sylvester Stallone movie No Place to Hide was overdubbed to make it a comedic sendup of Sly’s Rambo movies. Even the original Night of the Living Dead has been given this treatment.
Enough background information! Islam Attacks features the Tim Burton movie Mars Attacks being overdubbed with hilariously dark comedy material which makes the story a look at the Western World’s weak and inept response to Muslim fanatics. The large heads of the Martian invaders are altered by CGI making them look like turbans in just one example of this film’s audacious attitude.
If you recall, Burton’s Mars Attacks featured the government hilariously refusing to think the Martians had hostile intentions no matter how many acts of violence they committed. The Martians would even be shooting people to death while robotically saying “We come in peace.” Islam Attacks does just what you’d hope for and plays up how contemporary governments keep trying to downplay any hostile intentions from Islamist groups and shows them blasting people to death while saying “We are a religion of peace” over and over.
The only real down side to this irreverent comedy masterpiece is the same weakness that afflicts all overdubbing projects – it goes on too long. The filmmakers should have trimmed at least 11 minutes from the base movie. As it is, though, viewers can’t help but grow a little weary of the limited options of the premise.
Islam Attacks is certainly worth watching and will no doubt seem more relevant with each passing year given the political class’s obsession with whitewashing Islam’s blood-soaked and intolerant history as well as its present-day menace. +++
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