September 27, 2010

L'empire contre attaque

As much as I realize that it would be good for me to watch as many movies in French as I can get my hands on, I seem to fall short of forcing myself to watch anything dubbed in French. Before my summer holiday, I would watch French TV while cooking dinner. I would put on the news or a game show program, both of these fulfilling the requirement of having the original language be French.

I lucked out too, because unlike most French people who hate to read and like everything dubbed for them, FBF also likes to watch things in VO, voix originalle (original voice).

While trying to decide upon a movie to watch, FBF suggested Star Wars. I excitedly agreed, only to find out that the only copies of my beloved Star Wars movies he owns are dubbed. I decided to take one for the team, as well as attempt to improve my French, and we put on Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

Movie posters for the American and French versions

We didn’t get too far into the film before I started having major issues with whoever did the translations. They were not doing the film justice. I tried my best to ignore the bad translations, which I did, until this happened.

Let me set the scene. Han Solo has just rescued Luke Skywalker from certain peril wandering around aimlessly on the planet Hoth. Han, Chewie, C3PO, R2D2, Luke, and Princess Leia are all in Luke’s hospital room. Han teases Leia and accuses her of doing this on purpose in order to get him to stay at the rebel base longer. Then she calls him some names! Some very specific, Star Wars-y names!! She calls him a scruffy-looking nerf herder.

Proof she calls him a nerf herder!

While I don’t, and didn’t, know the translation for scruffy looking, I expected to hear the word NERF. This word did not leave Princess Leia’s lips.

I immediately reached over and paused the movie.

I asked FBF, “est-ce qu’elle a dit ‘nerf herder’?” (did she say nerf herder?)

Non,” he replied, “elle a dit, ‘Mon dieu, vous êtes si prétencieux, si imbécile, si mal fichu, si effronté.’” (No, she said, ‘my god, you are so pretencious, so stupid, so poorly presented, so shameless!)

As you can see, she did not make any allusions to nerf herding what so ever, and choose to instead ramble off some half-rate insults. I was visibly upset. In an effort to calm me down, FBF said, “….mais personne française ne sait quoi est un nerf herder,” (…but no French person knows what a nerf herder is).


Needless to say, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the rest of the film.



    One day it'll be in 3D in French. Don't watch it. Your brain will implode.

  2. Seriously. I'd say that I'd have to come back to the USA just to watch them, but I'm not so sure how I feel about Star Wars 3D. It'd probably be worth it just to hang out for the midnight showings, though.

  3. Here is something I can't understand:
    - you'r a girl
    - from California
    - who live in france
    - drink beer
    - and like Star Wars

    It doesn't add up. You'r probably a robot.

  4. Gosh, you caught me! I'm definitely a robot ;) Haha. Thanks for becoming a follower Francois!

  5. It's too bad then you missed Georges Aminel as LA VOIX DE DARK VADOR :))

    Plus you missed a moment when the dubbing got the better. Han's quote "I'm a nice man" has been turned to "Je suis un gentil vaurien" (I'm a nice scoundrel). That's SO Solo IMO. :)

  6. Well I have heard the French Darth Vader voice, but how can you beat James Earl Jones?! Impossible.

    That quote does seem super Han Solo! It's just hard for me to hear these characters that I love with weird foreign voices. It takes longer for me to immerse myself in the story line.


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