Here in Canada, we do things a little differently than our American neighbours to the south. Oh sure, on the surface things appear pretty similar, but it’s the little details that truly separate us… and some of those little details hurt. Case in point: Canadian law requires that all consumer product packages be labeled in both of our country’s official languages (English and French). This includes DVDs.
Now under most circumstances, this law is perfectly reasonable, even though the French-speaking population encompasses just over 20% of the population and is limited primarily to the province of Quebec. However, when it comes to movie titles and DVD artwork, it’s a slightly different story. Now you’re dealing with a piece of art, and slapping French titles onto the pre-existing packaging for an English language film can lead to some terrible eyesores. Plus, in a lot of cases, it doesn’t even seem necessary. Is there really a big difference between United 93 and United Vol 93? I think United 93 would suffice.
Now I know a lot of people will probably think this is a pretty anal thing to complain about, and maybe they’re right. But I also know I’m not alone here. For Canadian DVD collectors and fans of graphic design, this is a major pet peeve, and some people will even go out of their way to order DVDs directly from the U.S. just to avoid the French. This is not a knock against French-Canadians or the French language… in fact, I’m willing to bet that many of them would prefer the English artwork as well, since that is how it was originally intended.
I’ve provided a gallery of some of the biggest offenders below so you can judge for yourself!
The new Canadian Blu-ray release for Ghostbusters prominently features the French title, “S.O.S. Fantomes”. It’s definitely the first time in 25 years that I’ve ever heard the movie called such a thing.
Yes, the French word for pineapple is “ananas”. Ananas Express really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
If they have to provide a translation for the title, I prefer it to be in a small, non-descript font rather than trying to mimic the movie’s logo like this.
Same problem as the previous DVD.
The French title is so large that it almost looks like it’s a part of the English title. Couldn’t this be confusing for some people?
Another confusing translation since the French word for dresses is “robes”, which is also an English word. It makes it look like this could be a direct-to-video sequel where she tries on 27 different bathrobes to find the perfect one.
Isn’t this a little redundant?
Admittedly, it’s a pretty ugly cover to begin with, but the French titles at the bottom aren’t helping matters.
I suppose the pun in the English title wouldn’t really work in French, but still… “Max The Menace”? That’s the best they could come up with?
Literal translation of the French title: “Mr. Weather”. Is there no French word for “weather man”?
I’m sure no French-speaking person would know what movie this was if the abbreviations for Mr. and Mrs. hadn’t been translated properly.
I don’t understand why they had to add the french word for “flight” in here. They specifically left it out of the English title to distinguish it from the made-for-TV movie Flight 93.
I guess the title “Gattaca” wasn’t good enough on its own in French. They had to call it “Welcome to Gattaca” instead.
You gotta love it… just two-letters in the title, and of course, the French translation ends up being the reverse order.
Can you think of any other DVD covers that were ruined by terrible bilingual titles?