Foreign versions of Transformers the Movie

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Sonscreen, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Sonscreen

    Sonscreen Casual TF collector<br><b><font color=#FF0000>aksm TFW2005 Supporter

    Sep 15, 2004
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    I thought it might be fun to see how foreign versions of Transformers the Movie compares the USA edition.

    I bought the Chinese G1 boxset awhile back and finally got to watch the Cantonese version in it's entirety. The translation/dub was for the most part spot on and stayed true true to the USA version.

    Even the name translations were pretty close. Optimus Prime was called "Big Brother" by a few of the Autobots. It's a term of respect/endearment. Ironhide was "Iron skin", Hot Rod was "Fire Rod" and so forth.

    The Autobots were the "bot team".The Decepticons were the "The con team". The dinobots were the "dinosaur team". Devestator was "big harmful guy" :D 

    Some random things that I remember as kind of funny.

    Perceptor - his name was pretty much doctorate/PhD.

    The universal greeting in Cantonese sounded really goofy.

    Soundwave's voice actor sounded like a total nerd.

    USA version - "First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside"

    Cantonese version - "First we crack the shell, then we eat their meat" :confused2 

    If I remember more, I'll add it. If you've watched a foreign version of the film,please share your thoughts. :thumb 
  2. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

    May 14, 2004
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    There are two (!) German versions of TF:TM.

    The first version aired for the first time on German TV in 1994 (the movie never got a theatrical release in Germany, seeing as the cartoon didn't air until 1989). The dub was done by the same studio that had previously dubbed the cartoon, but for whatever reason, they rotated most of the voices for the movie.

    For example, the guy who had voiced Rodimus Prime in the cartoon now suddenly voiced Optimus, and so on. The only voice I can confirm with full certainty remained the same as in the cartoon was Starscream, which was an outstanding Chris Latta impersonation. Possibly the most "accurate" voice of any German Transformers dub ever. If I remember correctly, Soundwave's voice wasn't scrambled at all (even though it was in the cartoon).

    The same voice cast was later also used for the German dub of the G2 cartoon.

    The translation was mediocre most of the time, but the Junkions were a real surprise. The dubbers actually "localized" their dialogue by replacing it with well-known slogans and phrases from German TV. The most outstanding one was Wreck-Gar reciting Toyota's slogan of the time (which translates as "Nothing is impossible!") after the Junkions had fixed Ultra Magnus.

    The movie aired a second time on the same channel, never to be seen again afterwards. There are rumors that the movie had been edited for German TV (allegedly, Starscream's death had been considered "too cruel" and was therefore edited out), but I've seen the German TV airing of the movie, and there was nothing missing. I could never find anyone who would confirm to me owning a copy of the movie that contained that particular edit, so the rumor is most certainly bull.

    Come 2004, and we got a German DVD of TF:TM. Wow, what a pile of junk. The cover is based on an old piece of promo artwork that was also used for the G1 sticker album by Panini, and the title is just "Transformers". No notice of it being a feature movie anywhere. The description on the back cover is just summarizing the setup for season 1/2, with two blatant errors:
    1) It's implied by the text that the two factions (Autobots and Decepticons) "emerge" on Earth (in the sense of "those factions didn't exist before the Transformers came to Earth"), and
    2) the term "Transformers" is TRANSLATED (!) as if it was a piece of technical equipment.
    The "summary" is illustrated with three pictures, one of them showing Beachcomber from "the Golden Lagoon", the second showing Afterburner and Lightspeed from "The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 1", and the third showing Ratchet, Chip Chase, Huffer, Sideswipe and Mirage, presumably from "The Autobot Run". None of which are actually on this DVD, obviously.

    "Special bonus" features listed for this DVD are "English audio" (that's not actually a "special feature", since it's a STANDARD feature for German DVDs with the exception of the odd cheap crap DVD, such as the pisspoor German G1 cartoon boxsets which just contain a small assortment of random episodes with unfiltered video), a "trailer show" and a "slideshow".

    Now we move on to the dub itself.

    MAN, what a piece of crap. Apparently, the master tapes of the original dub done for German TV as described above had been lost, and so it was decided to do a NEW dub for this DVD.

    Comparing this dub to the Star TV dubs would be an insult to Star TV.

    None of the voices sound familiar, which means it was probably done by a cheap studio using amateur actors. Some of the voice work is not all that bad, and they even bothered to scramble Soundwave's voice (but because the voice actor doesn't speak like Dr. Claw, it sounds more like "token sci-fi robot" rather than badass Soundwave).

    The translation is piss-poor. Whoever translated it
    a) obviously didn't have an original script (accurate transcripts can be found ONLINE!), which is why "Me Grimlock need new strategy" was interpreted as "Me Grimlock need NO strategy", amongst other examples of bad hearing,
    b) didn't understand English very well ("It's a pity you Autobots die so easily, or I might have a sense of satisfaction" was interpreted as "Is it pity for you Autobots diying so easily, or do I actually feel satisfaction now?")
    c) didn't actually THINK twice about the context of the scene ("When we slip by their early warning systems in their own shuttle and destroy Autobot City" was interpreted as "When we slip by their own shuttle's early warning systems", while the Decepticons were already STANDING INSIDE said shuttle!)
    d) didn't actually give a damn (the Junkions' dialogue, which I described above as having been particularly well translated in the original TV dub, didn't make ANY sense in this version).

    So ultimately, the only saving grace of this DVD is the English audio, which, coupled with a price below 10 Euros (if I recall correctly, it was 8 or 9 Euros), isn't actually that bad if you think about it. Yo just shouldn't ever listen to that horrible dub.

    A fellow German fan is currently rewatching all dubbed German cartoon episodes and should hopefully put his "dub report" online soon, which will review both versions in depth.
  3. Optimus-JD

    Optimus-JD Team Laser Explosion!

    Jul 1, 2002
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    Constructicons...Form BIG HARMFUL GUY! Nope, doesn't sound quite right! haha