1988 | Color | 95 min.

Starring: Glynis Johns, Steve Railsback, Ronald France, Siphiwe Mlangeni, Sipho Mlangeni, Bewan Windell, David Fox, Sara Braunstein, Sam Ntsinyi, Jabulile Phakane, Fats Dibeco, Reed Evans, Carin C. Tietze (Tee hee. Teats! Yes, I am very immature…Ha ha. Teats!), Lester C. Muller, Marcel Schneider, and Calvin Burke.

Directed By: Sias Odendal

They were originally going to call the film, “Dookie,” but it felt a little too on the nose.

They were originally going to call the film, “Dookie,” but it felt a little too on the nose.

E.T. has spawned dozens of imitators and outright ripoffs since its release in 1982, most of which range in quality from the enjoyably bad to the completely unwatchable. These films include the infamously dreadful Mac and Me; the Filipino retelling, Little Boy Blue; the obligatory Turkish knock-off, Badi; and perhaps the ultimate tribute, a pornographic version from our friends in Germany which I really wish I had the ability to “un-see.”

The seldom seen, Dehydrated Buddha.

The seldom seen, Dehydrated Buddha.

Ranking ever so slightly ahead of watching a female E.T. being penetrated by several hairy German fellows, is 1988’s Nukie. This painful slog of a film tells the story of two alien brothers, Nukie and Miko, who become separated from one another when they inadvertently crash land on Earth. While Nukie manages to land safely in the backwoods of Africa, his brother Miko is captured by the evil American Space Foundation. It’s up to Nukie, with the help of a scrappy pair of African twin brothers, Toki and Tiko, to rescue Miko from the clutches of the evil American scientists and return the lost alien siblings to the stars.

“Hey, check me out.  I'm Michael Jackson over here.”

“Hey, check me out. I’m Michael Jackson over here.”

Unlike Spielberg’s charming sci-fi tale which this film attempts to ripoff, Nukie is a complete disaster on almost every level. The plot, such as it is, moves along at an agonizing pace, meandering slowly from one pointless scene to the next. The resulting film is far too boring to hold the attention of all but the least discriminating of viewers. Unless of course you happen to enjoy pointless narration, whiny aliens screeching “Nuuuukieeee!” and “Miiikoooo!” every five minutes, and seeing slight variations on the same establishing shot of the Space Institute (Or is it NASA? The film can never really seem to make up its mind on this point.) at least fifty times. Never in the history of cinema has a director so thoroughly established a location.

I hope you find this building utterly fascinating.

I hope you find this building utterly fascinating.

Even more annoying than the aimless plot and endlessly recycled establishing shots, are the film’s numerous and feeble attacks on Western culture and America which are, even at their best, laughably heavy-handed and silly. Take, for example, Sister Anne (Gylnis Johns) berating John Railsback’s character, Dr. Harvey, on the evils of Americanization:

Dr. Harvey: “Progress does bring some benefits, doesn’t it Sister?”

Sister Anne: “Oh yes, it brings all sorts of beneficial things. Beer, cigarettes, sofas (?!). You call it progress, and I call it extermination.

Apparently, La-Z-Boy has a been quietly laying the foundation for the complete destruction of mankind for decades.

“Breaker, breaker, this is The Holy Roller, anyone got their ears on?  Come back.”

“Breaker, breaker, this is The Holy Roller, anyone got their ears on? Come back.”

Rounding out the repulsiveness are our alien stars themselves, Nukie and Miko. Opting not to have their aliens be cute, loveable little critters, a la E.T., the producers of Nukie instead decided to have their otherworldly protagonists resemble two dingy, burlap sacks of manure. And, as if these characters weren’t quite off-putting enough already, the filmmakers made the inexplicable decision to have copious amounts of viscous ooze occasionally stream out from each of the repugnant little creatures’ nostrils. I suppose nothing endears a character to an audience faster than a severe case of sinusitis.

“What, me worry, preciousss?”

“What, me worry, preciousss?”

In fact, these characters are so unappealing, that only a few moments into the film I really couldn’t have cared less if the aliens were ever reunited. Frankly, when Nukie began carrying on a conversation with a talking chimpanzee—the one character almost as annoying as Nukie himself—I wanted nothing more than to see Nukie mercilessly ripped limb from limb by a pride of ravenous lions. Probably not the reaction the filmmakers were looking for.

We now return to Jim Henson's Dumpster Babies.

We now return to Jim Henson’s Dumpster Babies.

If you haven’t guessed by now, Nukie is a terrible way to spend ninety minutes of your life. The audience is subjected to an hour and a half of watching one burlap snotbag wander aimlessly around South Africa looking for the other burlap snotbag, until the Brothers Snotbag finally remember that they can simply turn into pure energy and fly around at will, at which point the movie ends. And no, I didn’t just ruin the ending for you—I saved you from the indescribable pain of watching this cinematic pile of excrement for yourself. You are welcome.

“Noooo!  Where was the spoiler alert, jackhole?!”

“Noooo! Where was the spoiler alert, jackhole?!”

I feel compelled to point out the two young men who play Toki and Tiko (Siphiwe and Sipho Mlangeni). These two boys are really the only brights spot in the film. Unlike, hell, everything else in the movie, the boys somehow manage to at least come off as likeable. And that is really quite an achievement considering the power this film has to suck all positive feelings from its viewers like some kind of merciless black hole of hate.

“Please Lord, smite our lousy agents with a plague of festering boils.  Amen.”

“Please Lord, smite our lousy agents with a plague of festering boils. Amen.”

I’ll grudgingly admit, while it is an absolutely dreadful film by nearly every objective measure, Nukie probably isn’t the worst E.T. knockoff ever made. However, it is definitely the worst one you can watch with your lights on, the volume up, and your door unlocked—but I still wouldn’t recommend it.

“So long, folks.  See you in Nukie 2: The Search for Kleenex.”

“So long, folks. See you in Nukie 2: The Search for Kleenex.”


Reviewed by Derek “I did it all for the Nukie” Miller
Posted April 28, 2013

Video Clip

Thrill as Nukie demonstrates the amazing powers he has to summon the opening credits of Love, American Style.

Additional Screenshots (Click an image to view full-size)



Gargulio on July 9, 2013
El Nukie me lo hizo hacer
Derek Miller on July 9, 2013
Así es, mi amigo. El Nukie es potente! :D


Leave a comment