Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Do you speak English? Well you SHOULDN'T

I understand that films are going to make significantly less money if they’re not in English.  I also understand that the majority of blockbusting actors and actresses speak English as their primary language.  But it’s still SUCH a peeve of mine when directors use English in situations where it’s clearly not the tongue that was spoken.  And while reading subtitles isn’t necessarily the funnest time of all the fun times, I can appreciate the purity that accompanies my requirement to do so.  Below are some case studies of both sides of the coin.

The Good
Inglorious Basterds was a quintessential Tarantino film.  A drama at times, comedy at others with a little fusion of action throughout made the film entirely entertaining.  Furthermore the use of multiple languages (similar to the multiple languages used in Europe) made the film so much more credible and believable (which is ironic because they assassinate Hitler…but roll with it, just roll with it).  Similar to war films like Saving Private Ryan and The Hurt Locker, that little extra effort to stick a subtitle in there and use the actual language framed the film so much better.

The Bad

Gladiator is, and will always be, an awesomely amazing thrill ride of a film.  Almost every time I get out of the shower I look into the mirror and say, My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”  Is it true?  No.  My name is Noah.  But it gives me strength throughout the day and truth be told I think I’d make a decent Gladiator.  I’ve always said that.  And while I’m probably gonna take some heat for knockin such an epic film, but it makes NO sense how a Roman Gladiator with the nickname “Spaniard” is fluent in English with an Australian accent…  #amIright?  Though I probably would have a tougher time saying it in Latin (Maximus Decimus Meridius vocor, dux exercitus ad aquilonem: Felix Generalis legionum imperator vere fidelis servus ad Marcus Aurelius. Pater occisus fuit, a viro usque ad mulierem interfectus. Et dabo ultionem meam habere, aut in altera vita) it would have made an epic film even epic-er in my opinion, though it probably wouldn’t have been such a commercial blockbuster.  They also probably would have had to recast Joaquin Phoenix to someone who had gone through puberty, but it is what it is.

The Ugly

Valkyrie annoyed me so much with the language thing.  "The target is Hitler.  The plan is Valkyrie.  Lucky for us the entire German army speaks unaccented English."  You’re going to have Tom Cruise play a Colonel named Claus while he walks around speaking the perfect English of a prep student from suburban Minneapolis?  CLAUS.  Should have at the very, very least been a German actor with an accent.  I Googled German actors and turns out they’re a thing.  Get it together, Tom.

The Ugliest

Pretty boy Gyllenhaal TOTALLY had me believing he was a Persian Prince.  Never would have guessed he was born in California.  Can you say Oscar snub?