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Film: The Gods Must Be Crazy
Modern Society in a nutshell (or rather bottle): weird, repulsive and mad.

The Gods must be crazy! is a classic low budget film from South Africa from the 1980s.

Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a tribe of Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert who lived in harmony with each other and with the harsh environment. Then, one day, an empty Coca-Cola bottle (the classic heavy glass style) falls from the sky. We, the viewers, can see it came from an airplane, but as far as the tribe is concerned, it came from the gods.

The Coca-Cola bottle is very useful. However, there is only one, which inevitably leads to conflict; and since it is harder than anything that can naturally be found in the Kalahari Desert, someone gets hurt. For the sake of the harmony of the tribe, one of their members, Xi, is tasked with dropping it off the edge of the earth.

We cut to a modern South African city to establish some "tribal" habits of the "civilized" people in the film. (Translation Convention is not necessary as most South Africans can speak English while Xi and the other bushmen are unfamiliar with the language.) A couple of these city-inhabitants set out on their own quests, and they inevitably cross paths with Xi. Hilarity (genuinely) Ensues.

The film was an instant hit (despite being low budget) and was a Star-Making Role for N!xau (who played Xi, himself being a real bushman) the second film, simply titled The Gods must be crazy 2 was more or less as good as the first, if a bit too similar.

N!xau's popularity had him being cast in a series of comedies made by a Hong Kong company in which, rather than being called Xi Xo, he goes by his real name. Although never intended to be sequels to the original film (as the titles and plots of the films were entirely different), they were eventually released under "The gods must be crazy", added with a sequel number. The original Chinese title of the fifth film even translates to "The Gods must be funny in China" as nod to the original film. Let's just say that these films were quite different from the original ones:

Crazy Safari (The Gods must be crazy III) featured Xi helping some Chinese people who were transporting a Chinese mummy/vampire when their plane crashed. It ends with the Chinese Zombie fighting an African voodoo zombie.

Crazy Hong Kong (The Gods must be crazy IV aka The Gods must be crazy in Hong Kong) takes the Fish out of Water concept Up to Eleven by having Xi get stranded in modern urban Hong Kong and get into various hilarious situations.

The Gods must be funny in China (The Gods must be crazy V). N!xau now lives in a small village in China, often giving lessons about his native country. He also learned to fully speak Chinese (in reality he never did and his voice was simply overdubbed by a Chinese actor) and communicate with them. A sports promoter notices how fast he can run and manages to persuade him to enter a marathon. Hilarity Ensues as he and his team get lost during the race and in the meantime save pandas from mad poachers.

Tropes:

  • The Ace: Jack Hind to Steyn. He's got his own Cool Car!
  • Affably Evil: The soldiers in the second film, and the assistant poacher, though he is more of a Harmless Villain.
  • African Terrorists: Sam Boga and his men.
  • The Alleged Car: The Land Rover in the first film, which is such a troublesome vehicle that the characters actually nickname it "The Antichrist" or "Son of Malakka" for Africans. The plane in the second film becomes its spiritual successor.
  • Animal Reaction Shot
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The filmmakers didn't care what Nǃxau actually said during his scenes, since most of the audience wouldn't understand him anyway. The narrator always explains what Xi is supposed to be saying. Nǃxau said whatever he wanted, which often wasn't in character.
  • Banana Peel: One guerrilla manages to slip on an entire bunch.
  • Big Bad: All five films: the African Terrorists in the first film, the poachers/ivory dealers in the second, diamond thieves in the third, smugglers in the fourth and panda thieves in the fifth and last film.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Nǃxau was never given anything specific to say, so he made up his own lines, often mocking the artificiality of the scene he's in. The documentary N!ai, the Story of a !Kung Woman shows the final homecoming scene with subtitles for Nǃxau's words. Although the scene is supposed to play out like a triumphant return, Nǃxau is chastising the tribe for not rushing out to greet him immediately, as they would normally do if the scene were real.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The president of Burani and his kabinet get shot up by terrorists, a few of those terrorists are shot by police. No single drop of blood or a gunwound is shown, making them basically simply drop dead for no reason.
  • Bulungi: Burani, the country whose cabinet gets shot up by Sam Boga's men. It apparently borders Botswana.
  • Catch Phrase
    • Ai yai yai yai yai.
    • I noticed.
    • I don't want to talk about it.
    • Yes, boss?
  • Chinese Vampire: The main plot of the third film.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Coke bottle.
  • Cool Car: The car camouflaged as a bush in the second movie.
    • Hind's car in the first film as well.
  • Culture Clash: One of the central themes of the movie. A lot of situations both comedic and serious happen to Xi because of this.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Kate.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Xi considers the attractive heroine to be "ugliest person he has ever seen."
  • Disguised in Drag: Xi pretends to be one of the hostages so he can get close enough to tranquilize the terrorists.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Steyn, after Hind takes the credit for rescuing the schoolchildren.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: Quite a few examples.
  • Genius Ditz: Andrew Steyn.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: During the climax, Xi attempts to drive the Land Rover, but, due to inexperience, winds up putting it in reverse. Rather than attempt to correct his mistake, he simply stands on the hood and steers it backwards.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Subverted twice. The terrorist being interrogated spills the beans only after being pushed to his death—actually a joke as the helicopter hasn't even taken off yet.
  • Hilarity Ensues
  • Hyperlink Story: Both films, with Xi's story serving as the backbone each time.
  • I Call It "Vera": The Antichrist, a most temperamental offroad vehicle. Subverted in that it's not good affections that earned it the name.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Andrew Steyn becomes quite a Badass to help save Kate and the village children.
  • Mad God: The view that the Bushmen take after the Coke bottle from the sky causes so much trouble. Goes hand-in-hand with Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Meaningful Name: Jack Hind, Steyn's "jackass" friend, who constantly mocks Steyn at the presence of a third person, thinks of nothing but saving his own hide at the first sign of danger, and takes credit for Steyn's brave actions at the end.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Brenner in the second movie.
  • Mood Whiplash: In an otherwise cute and slapsticky film, there's a scene where guerrillas slaughter a roomful of people with machinegun fire.
  • Narrator: Done very properly in that only the scenes which focus on Xi have narration. It, of course, adds to the hilarity.
  • National Geographic Nudity: The Bushmen wear very little clothing (naturally, as they don't need it) and Xi is surprised when he sees a woman wearing a dress for the first time. He even points out how impractical it is in the African climate.
  • Noble Savage
  • No Man Should Have This Power: The conclusion the Bushmen draw about the Coke bottle. It's extremely useful, but also one-of-a-kind. Eventually people start fighting over it, which confuses the Bushmen, who have no concept of ownership.
  • Noodle Incident: An in-universe example, as the audience sees what happens with the rhinoceros, but neither of the characters involved tell the whole story to anyone else.
  • Oh, Crap: One of the catch phrases is said when something is about to break loose.
  • Of the People
  • One-Dimensional Thinking: When Ann is being chased by the rhino, she runs in a straight line until she hits a tree and climbs it.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The third film give us an African Zombie.
  • Panty Shot: Ann Taylor's skirt gets pulled over her head twice in the first sequel.
  • Pet the Dog: Terrorist leader Sam Boga acknowledging Kate's point and demanding that the army leave out food and water for the schoolchildren he's taken hostage is a standard case of Pragmatic Villainy, but also making sure the military commanders are informed that he made a mistake in failing to plan ahead was somewhat decent of him, since he certainly didn't have to.
  • Product Placement: One has to wonder whether Coca-Cola paid any money to have their product so prominently displayed, yet as a representation of Western culture's negative impact on indigenous people.
  • The Quest: Find the end of the world, throw the bottle off of it. Ultimately, Xi finds himself on a cliff far higher than he's probably ever stood in his life, above the clouds. Understandably, he decides he's there, chucks the bottle off and goes home.
  • Rhino Rampage: Subverted. They're pretty calm when they do their civic duty of stamping out fires.
  • Running Gag: The two guys playing cards in the guerrillas's gang.
  • Scary Black Man: An tall African zombie.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shout Outs:
    Radio: The president, who miraculously survived the hail of bullets with only a flesh wound, will be addressing the nation in a few moments.
  • Socially-Awkward Hero: Andrew Steyn around women. Many of the comedic moments in the film are when he's around Kate.
  • Soft Glass: Incredibly averted. To the Bushmen, the glass bottle is the hardest material they've ever discovered. It didn't even break when dropped out of an airplane.
  • Straight Man: Mpudi. Also serves as the bridge of communication between Xi and modern culture.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The honey badger in the second film.
  • Thank Your Prey
  • Those Two Guys: The Master and his cowardly assistant in the third film.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The jewel robbers in the fourth film who are after Xi for foiling their heist.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: A Lampshaded subversion explicitly explains that tranquilizer darts don't take effect immediately. That's why they are rigged to be so easily removed that the victim doesn't know they've been tranqed (they feel only the sting, that can be attributed to insects).
  • Under Crank: The film's slapstick comedy makes thorough use of the technique, especially seen when the truck accidentally takes two young kids.
  • The Unpronounceable: The Bushmen's language, with its use of various clicks, is virtually unpronounceable to anyone else.

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alternative title(s): The Gods Must Be Crazy
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