31 July 2013

France Killed the Video Star

Foreign Films Quote - Film in the wrong language


I used to quite enjoy going to the cinema to see a good film. My big ol' box of popcorn and I would sit waiting impatiently for the commercials to start. I'm the kind of person who buys snacks at movies theaters and then sits there, staring at them, telling myself that I need to wait until the film starts before I dive in. Yet somehow, mysteriously, half the box of popcorn goes missing before the film even starts. Sure, I feel a little guilty about my complete lack of self-control when it comes to movie snacks, but not really. I am just so excited to be there, excited for the hour and a half of pure entertainment that is coming way.

Or at least I used to be. But guess what? The popcorn isn't quite as buttery here. My arteries are thanking the almighty French popcorn makers, but my taste buds are ticked off. I only go to the movies a few times a year, and when I go, I expect a huge box of popcorn covered with artery clogging artificial, chemically processed yellow butter. Lightly buttered popcorn makes me wonder why I didn't just stay how and wait for the stupid film to come out on DVD. France's popcorn is always a little disappointing. However, France, I will forgive you for this one. You don't know any butter better, and you make up for it, a little bit, with your little cartons of Häagen Dazs ice cream.

But do you know what really sucks? The French translation of American movie scripts, and the fact that the actors don't sound like themselves anymore. A huge part of a character's personality is their voice, and sadly, actors don't generally do their own voice overs. Some of my favorite actors sound like idiots in French. Example: Chad Michael Murry has one of the most horrible voice overs ever. This totally kills it for me. Everytime. Just watch.


Furthermore, I was a French major in college, which probably ruined things for me as well. Watching a movie in French feels suspiciously like homework... Not to mention films tend to use language that you might not hear in everyday conversation. We watched World War Z a few weeks ago, and that thing is chuck full of medical jargon. In English, I might not have understood it all, but I could have easily followed along and gotten the gist of things. In French? Bahaha. No. I left the theater with a pounding headache.

On a final note, let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that humor doesn't always translate. There are movies that I love in English, because they are freaking hilarious. Then I watch the French version, and don't even chuckle under my breath, while by husband sits on the other side of couch, doubled up laughing.

Granted, they never translate word for word, and that's a good thing. The movie would end up sterile sounding, and the French speakers wouldn't appreciate it as much. Moreover, in a move of marketing genius, they often change cultural references and adapt the film for the humor of it's intended audience. That's awesome for Monsieur Right - Not so much for me.

I've given up. I want to see my American films in English


This is probably why I blog so much.

Them: "Tu veux regarder un film ce soir?" 
You want to see a movie tonight?

Me: Errmm......
Changes subject.


*Disclaimer: French movies are way better in French. The English translations kill 'um - everytime.

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