Alicia and I made the mistake of watching The Colony the other night. It was stupid! I should have checked Rotten Tomatoes first: “A formulaic sci-fi thriller, The Colony features cliched dialogue, cheesy special effects, and underdeveloped characters.”
Future Ice Age people living underground deal with illness, internal conflicts, and devolved cannibals while searching satellite images for a warmer place.
Trust me, it’s not as good as it sounds. The following are not spoilers, because the movie already stinks:
• There are dozens of cannibals running around together. They communicate by roars like zombies, but they’re fast, and intelligent enough to use the air duct system to break into a locked colony. But when half of their group gets killed in action, the other half doesn’t collect the bodies.
• They abandon a room full of dead colonists to chase after the main character and invade his colony.
• They kill as fast as they can rather than taking prisoners so they can have fresh meat later.
• When the main character clubbed the top cannibal (a White Orc ripoff) to the ground and started to walk away, Alicia said, “He’s going to grab his foot.” Sure enough, a second later, the battered and bleeding cannibal grabbed the dude’s ankle, and they fought some more.
• After the final battle in which the cannibals are destroyed but the colony is severely damaged, the survivors immediately start walking north to look for the oasis (a small warm spot created by a revived weather intervention tower), instead of checking for other survivors and whether anything can be salvaged from their greenhouse, animal cages, or seed warehouse.
• The main dude does have four jars of seeds he had grabbed earlier. “At least we’ll have a fighting chance,” he says. That’s brilliant writing right there.
We watched Despicable Me 2 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then we watched Turbo and enjoyed it even more. Both of us laughed out loud many times. Much of the humor worked well in Spanish: “I’m the Shadow!”
We have also been watching Dr Who, using subtitles I downloaded from the internet. Unfortunately, the subtitles are really bad, apparently created by teenagers in Argentina and Spain. Sometimes they’re literal translations that make no sense, and other times the translators heard wrong or had no idea what was being said.
The episode coming up is The Doctor’s Daughter, which is bad writing on another level. Why was this character created? Once created, why does she never show up again? We shall never know.
I have been reading aloud a Spanish translation of The Wind in the Willows, and Alicia has been entranced. It’s not a bad translation overall, but there are annoying details. The translator nearly always refers to paws as pezuñas, which are actually hoofs, and certain idioms are translated literally rather than using an equivalent Spanish expression: un minuto o dos “a minute or two” rather than un par de minutos “a pair of minutes”.
Language is weird stuff. Did you know that Secretaría General can mean “Office of Legal Counsel”? None of the translation websites will tell you that. I was translating an org chart today from a Latin American government agency, and when I looked at the statutes that describe each office, the Secretaría General was in charge of all legal matters for that agency, including a lot of legal administrative stuff which would fall under the term “Secretariat” (now that I’ve looked up what Secretariat means). I used Office of Legal Counsel, but maybe Secretariat would have been better, although American agencies don’t have Secretariats. Oh, well…
Have yourself a good weekend. And if you watch a foreign film and it doesn’t make sense, remember: translators make mistakes. So do scriptwriters.