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#1
Old 12-14-2005, 11:13 AM
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"Mars Attacks": help settle a dispute

The movie Mars Attacks was on television a few nights ago. Both my wife and I had already seen it before, though separately. On this recent night she decided to re-watch most of the movie. I only came by a few times to catch some favorite scenes. (I'm not really that fond of Mars Attacks, but it does have a chuckle or two. And who can resist Jack Nicholson, in anything? I sure can't.)

Toward the end, we were discussing the things we liked about the movie, when she surprised me. She listed: "the chihuahua head on Sara Jessica Parker's body, the ever-cheezy Tom Jones, the malfunctioning translator..."

The what? The malfunctioning translator. You know, the Martian-language translation device that Pierce Brosnan's character provides near the beginning of the film which is what allows everyone (including us, the audience) to understand what the Martians are saying in their odd, otherwise unintelligible "ack-ack" tongue.

Now, I had always imagined right from the beginning that the translator was working as it's supposed to, but that the Martians were just blatantly lying. Do not run away. We are your friends. We come in peace. ZZZZHAP! But my wife's understanding is that the Martians were really saying exactly what they were about, and that instead the translator was botched, rendering their belligerent speech mistakenly as pleas for friendship.

So which is it? Were the Martians lying, or was the translator mistranslating?

(For the record, I think my hypothesis is the funnier one. I would also say it's the more plausible one but then I remember the movie I'm talking about, and realize that plausibility isn't a consideration.)
#2
Old 12-14-2005, 11:20 AM
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I always viewed it as the Martians being damned dirty liars. Consider the scene where Jack Nicholson is on the phone with the French leader, who claims that they've reached a breakthrough in negotiations. Jack says, in effect, "Listen to me, get out of there, they're-" and then the sound of weapons firing.

If the Martians actually were saying "We're here to kill you! La la la!" but it was mistranslated, how would they have gotten to a negotiation table and talked through a settlement, and then opened fire?

Plus it's funnier that way.
#3
Old 12-14-2005, 11:29 AM
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Yeah, the Martians were little chickenshits. Besides what lno said, just the way they carried out their attacks. Like when they were sneaking up on an unsuspecting Grandma with the big ol' MegaBlaster at point blank. They could have taken off and nuked the site from orbit (it's the only way to be sure), but they enjoyed being dicks.

Jack Black was great as gung ho Billy Ray (or whatever his name was), who was ready to kick some Martian ass, only to utterly, miserably fail. With butt crack.
#4
Old 12-14-2005, 12:03 PM
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Another vote for the Martians being chickenshit damned dirty liars.
#5
Old 12-14-2005, 12:41 PM
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Liars, although I didn't view them as chicken shit, just mean and being mean to be funny. To the Martians it is a joke, that's why they are smiling.
#6
Old 12-14-2005, 01:08 PM
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I also thought the Marians were lying, and the translator was functioning properly.

But I see the possiblity that the translator was malfunctioning. Anybody have Tim Burton's email address?
#7
Old 12-14-2005, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the webmasters of timburtoncollective.com
Contact Information:
One of the questions we receive most frequently is an address where Tim Burton can be contacted. The following are the only addresses we have.

HIS AGENT:
Tim Burton
c/o Mike Simpson, William Morris Agency
One William Morris Plaza
Beverly Hills, CA 90212


HIS PRODUCTION COMPANY:
Tim Burton Productions
7175 Willoughby Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Yo.
#8
Old 12-14-2005, 01:17 PM
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They came in peace.... it was the dove... really... then there was that simple misunderstanding with congress. Must have been another Dove. Of course the tear in their eye when they heard the President's speech showed the cared. The hand merely malfunctioned and....

Let' s face it, Martians are the biggest dickheads in the universe (Or scrotum heads) Everytime we have a run in with them they want to kill us!!

We should reserve the right to a premptive strike on that planet!!!
#9
Old 12-14-2005, 02:49 PM
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When I saw it I thought that Pierce was so convinced that the Martians had come in peace that he put his bias into the translator, which assumed all their statements were peaceful. I think Burton would be more likely to satirize humans rather than Martians, after all.

Pierce is just the modern day equivalent of the guy waving a white flag at H G Wells' Martians, sure they come in peace, up to the point he gets disintegrated.
#10
Old 12-14-2005, 03:04 PM
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But Brosnan's character didn't invent the translator, Dr. Ziegler did.
#11
Old 12-14-2005, 03:10 PM
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Sneaking an agent into the White House to kill the President?

Uh... it was a surprise acking telegram?
#12
Old 12-14-2005, 04:01 PM
HPL HPL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
When I saw it I thought that Pierce was so convinced that the Martians had come in peace that he put his bias into the translator, which assumed all their statements were peaceful. I think Burton would be more likely to satirize humans rather than Martians, after all.

Pierce is just the modern day equivalent of the guy waving a white flag at H G Wells' Martians, sure they come in peace, up to the point he gets disintegrated.
There's also the scientist in the original thing who keeps trying to protect the murderous alien.

I always thought that when they have those kinds of characters, the response should be "Okay, you go in and talk to it. If you come out alive, then maybe we'll consider that you're right".
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#13
Old 12-14-2005, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpengvin
... Or scrotum heads ...
Ok, this has me laughing my ass off!
#14
Old 12-14-2005, 05:32 PM
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Liars. I thought they were kind of a cross between Josef Mengele and Moe Howard.
#15
Old 12-14-2005, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Rat
. They could have taken off and nuked the site from orbit (it's the only way to be sure), but they enjoyed being dicks..
OTTOMH, when the President gives his stirring "Earth and Mars- Together!" speech, to the Martian leader in the war room, the Martians understand perfectly without needing a translator.

In a scene where Martians are rampaging in the streets, one of them is carrying the translator (which is still saying 'we come in peace') and laughing.

The Martians are jerks. That's why they attacked Earth in the first place. Part of the fun is seeing how hostile they can be before the humans realize their true intentions.

'Wait! We'll blame the winged life form! We'll say we thought it was a weapon! Then, we'll ask for a chance to apologize to important government officials!'

'They'll never buy that!'

'A zorgblon says they will.'

'I'll take a piece of that action.'
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#16
Old 12-14-2005, 06:06 PM
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200 quatloos on the stupidity of the Earthlings!
#17
Old 12-14-2005, 07:10 PM
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I know this is Off-Topic, but one of the things I loved about this movie (besides the lying-ass Martians and the gullible Earthlings) was that it was to my knowledge, the first example of a real, genuine, 100%-truly believable DoomsDay weapon being wielded against a scumbutt foe.

Freakin' brilliant!
#18
Old 12-14-2005, 07:19 PM
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Oh, the Martians were total pricknoses and they were only saying nice things in order to see how many times they could get the stupid Earth people to fall for it. I love them inordinately, though, I think they're the most fabulous SF villains EVER! They're funny and scary and alien as hell and Slim Whitman makes their heads explode into green Jell-O--what's not to love?
#19
Old 12-15-2005, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCathode
OTTOMH
What the *bleep; expletive deleted* does this mean?

Or is it time for me to pit the use of obscure and pointless acronyms on the Internet?

I think the aliens were lying, but I love the ambiguity (are they lying, or is it just bad translating?)
#20
Old 12-15-2005, 11:44 AM
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Off The Top O My Head, FWIW.
#21
Old 12-15-2005, 11:45 AM
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::I use my sword to lop off the top of DocCathode's head, and I hand it to Knorf.

Herer you go.

The scalp speaks: "I am "Off The Top Of My Head"
#22
Old 12-15-2005, 12:06 PM
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Scott Plaid.

Ok, I suppose I should have known that one.

But For the Love of Everything Og (FLEO), does have hackneyed phrase have to be turned into an acronym? Does it proved we're cool?

YMMV, etc.

[/Hijack]

Uh, I have nothing knew to add about Mars Attacks, except that yeah, it was (and is) an unfairly maligned movie.
#23
Old 12-15-2005, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knorf

Uh, I have nothing knew to add about Mars Attacks, except that yeah, it was (and is) an unfairly maligned movie.
I agree, but I was looking forward to it, having collected the entire card set when I was a kid.

My mother threw them out when I went to college.
#24
Old 12-15-2005, 12:58 PM
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What about when the translator was first used? Didn't it "translate" the Martians' language as nonsense? "Dark suede mows like a harvest".
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#25
Old 12-15-2005, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveOnAPlane
I know this is Off-Topic, but one of the things I loved about this movie (besides the lying-ass Martians and the gullible Earthlings) was that it was to my knowledge, the first example of a real, genuine, 100%-truly believable DoomsDay weapon being wielded against a scumbutt foe.

Freakin' brilliant!
Well, actually, a similar tactic was used in Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes (which would have been a much better movie if the actors had taken and presented the lousy script with a serious bent, as in Airplane, instead of laughing at us, the audience, from behind their characters)
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#26
Old 12-15-2005, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anyrose
would have been a much better movie if the actors had taken and presented the lousy script with a serious bent,
Good gad, the scene where they are firing 12 ga shotguns at tomatoes being rolled down a dirt road and scream, "We can't hold them back!" brings me to tears.
#27
Old 12-15-2005, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867
What about when the translator was first used? Didn't it "translate" the Martians' language as nonsense? "Dark suede mows like a harvest".
I thought it was "dark is the swathe that mows like a harvest". I think the idea was that it was supposed to be a martian saying whose meaning is a little unclear; it sounds a bit sinister, but it's hard to tell.
#28
Old 12-15-2005, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manduck
I thought it was "dark is the swathe that mows like a harvest". I think the idea was that it was supposed to be a martian saying whose meaning is a little unclear; it sounds a bit sinister, but it's hard to tell.
I checked Imdb and got;

Quote:
All green of skin... 800 centuries ago, their bodily fluids include the birth of half-breeds. For the fundamental truth self-determination of the cosmos, for dark is the suede that mows like a harvest.
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#29
Old 12-15-2005, 08:13 PM
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I googled and got a lot of "suede", some "sway" and a few "swathe". None of them were from the pen of the screenwriter, though. "Swathe" is the word that makes the most sense in that spot, though, and that's what it sounded like to me when I first heard it, so that's what I'm going with.
#30
Old 03-18-2014, 08:06 AM
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"All green of skin 800 centuries ago their bodily fluids include the birth of half-breeds. For self-determination is the universal truth of the cosmos; for dark is the suede that mows like a harvest!"

Yeah, that's what the translation device quoted the "Ackackak ack ack, ackack ackackack ..." of the Martians as saying. Towards the end of the film a Martian is seen running amok in the streets with his Martian allies carrying the device claiming, "Do not run, we are your friends" while his Martian cohorts are blasting everyone and everything in sight to smitherinies.

The darn thing never did work correctly. Maybe in the sequel ...
#31
Old 03-18-2014, 08:27 AM
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The Martians lied.

So, was it the yodeling, Indian Love Call, or Slim's combination of the two that did them in?
#32
Old 03-18-2014, 08:41 AM
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The translators worked. The Martians were just major dicks.

I'm also reminded of Gallaxhar's message to Earth in Monsters vs Aliens.
Quote:
Humans of Earth, I come in peace. You need not fear me, I mean you no harm. However, it is important to note that most of you will not survive the next 24 hours. The few of you that do survive will be enslaved and experimented upon. You should, in no way, take any of this personally. It's just business. So to recap, I come in peace, I mean you no harm, and you all will die. Gallaxhar out.
#33
Old 03-18-2014, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
The Martians lied.

So, was it the yodeling, Indian Love Call, or Slim's combination of the two that did them in?
A little of both.
I was waiting for Una Paloma Blanca to be played in reference to the white dove which was released,but that never happened.

Last edited by nevadaexile; 03-18-2014 at 08:48 AM.
#34
Old 03-18-2014, 09:00 AM
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A nine year old zombie, and those never get translated properly.
#35
Old 03-18-2014, 09:10 AM
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Attack Of The The Martian Zombies!

A film that must be made.
#36
Old 03-18-2014, 09:14 AM
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Funny you should mention that.

A never completed computer game from the 80s: Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens from Mars.
#37
Old 03-18-2014, 11:39 AM
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Look like its unanimous. The Martians were deceiving us. But, I never considered what your SO thought. I guess its possible that was the intention.
#38
Old 03-18-2014, 11:48 AM
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I always thought the "We come in peace" thing was a riff on Star Trek, where Kirk would say the same thing and then pull out his phaser.
#39
Old 03-18-2014, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
I always thought the "We come in peace" thing was a riff on Star Trek, where Kirk would say the same thing and then pull out his phaser.
"We come in peace shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill. We come in peace shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, men."
#40
Old 03-18-2014, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
"We come in peace shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill. We come in peace shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, men."
Obligatory video.
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