Avengers’ Bad Words (and other movies lost in translation…)

Avengers

Confession: I’ve got more than a few bootlegs in my collection. In fact, I’ve never seen Star Wars: Episode 3 in it’s entirety, outside of a Russian bootleg a friend gave me a week before the film came out. (A note to George Lucas: Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have paid to see that film under any circumstances.) And for years, the only way I was able to watch Battle Royale was on a VHS copy of a Japanese DVD, complete with 30 seconds of DVD menu screen at the beginning.

Over the years, I’ve replaced a lot of my illicit stash with legit copies, as various movies have made the cut to DVD or BluRay, or as obscure foreign films got a North American release. But often as not, when I’ve got an hour or two to kill, I’ll dig out an old bootleg and watch it instead. Why? ‘Cause every bored cinephile knows that certain DVDs of questionable origin can be a gold mine of unintentional hilarity – in the form or poorly translated subtitles.

Funny SubtitlesFunny Subtitles

The aforementioned Battle Royale is a perfect example. Notable mis-translations include: “That were my friends!!!”, “Anyone who sees this must be scribble”, “That knife I stabed with you, sometimes I think I threw it away, but now it’s my treasure,” and many more.

In Norway, when the original Star Wars movies were butchered refurbished and re-released, the word lightsaber was translated to “lettsabel”, which literally means a saber that doesn’t weigh very much.

Sometimes, even DVDs made right here in the US contain some amusing English subtitles. One example includes Repo! The Genetic Opera, which contains “I’ll man his grave” instead of “on Marni’s grave,” and the memorable “Penile tissue, inch by inch…”

The latest subtitle snafu is making the rounds on the internet this week, and the origin is a bootleg Chinese DVD of  Marvel’s The Avengers, (which, incidentally, doesn’t hit DVD/Blu-ray in the US until late September.)   I’ve included some screen caps below – and just for good measure I tossed in a gallery of my favorites from other movies that I’ve collected from various dark corners of the interwebs – so be sure to scroll all the way down. Enjoy!

Avengers

Avengers

Avengers

Avengers

Avengers

Avengers

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About Dave_P

Dave_P studied fine arts and film history and is a graphic and web designer, and a diehard movie fan. David has been involved with a variety film festivals including the Cinephile Film Festival, the PRIDE Film festival, and the Manhattan Short Film festival, and is currently the director of the Dark Carnival Film Fest in Bloomington, Indiana. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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