"Ratatouille" signage - English or French?
January 23, 2008 2:26 PM   Subscribe

When I saw Ratatouille in theatres, I'm fairly certain that all the printed text in the film was in English. But watching my (Canadian, FWIW) DVD the other night everything was now in French. Is my mind playing tricks, or did Pixar alter the movie while I wasn't looking?
posted by Monster_Zero to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, the text in movies is altered to match the language of the audio track. This is for the theatrical release. With big releases, there might be 25+ versions of the film with unique video and audio. DVD releases get a bit tricky though since they include multiple language tracks.

Tidbit: A video version without a specific language inserted is known as the "textless version".

There all kinds of things done with computer generated/modified movies to allow things like this and for forensics in tracking down how films transition from the theater to the P2P networks.
posted by Argyle at 2:33 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Not entirely sure what the question is. Are you watching the English audio track and there's a (for example) rendered street sign actually in a scene that say Rue Granville where you were sure it said Granville St before?

I'd be shocked if something like that actually changed depending on the audio track. I rather doubt it would change to Granville Straße if someone was watching the German audio track.

I haven't actually seen Ratatouille, but this might help others who have.
posted by Nelsormensch at 2:44 PM on January 23, 2008

I've seen both the American English version and own the Canadian DVD, and you're correct, Canadian English audio version uses the French text in written signage - personally I think it's charming, but my wife (who's French isn't as good as mine) says she misses details by not being able to quickly pick up on those details without having to concentrate on it.
posted by iTristan at 2:58 PM on January 23, 2008

Well there we go. Thank you. And yeah, I found it charming as well, and it does seem that the movie gives enough information in other ways to compensate for those who can't read the signage.
posted by Monster_Zero at 4:32 PM on January 23, 2008

I've seen both the American English version and own the Canadian DVD, and you're correct, Canadian English audio version uses the French text in written signage

Yes but does the English version use English text? I dont feel as if anybody has confirmed that in this thread.
posted by vacapinta at 4:35 PM on January 23, 2008

vacapinta: yes, it does. i always thought it was for the same reason that in the american release of harry potter (for example) they do two shootings: one with british sayings and terms and one with americanisms so the stupid yanks won't wonder what the hell a "jumper" is.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:51 PM on January 23, 2008

I watched it with my family over the holidays and marveled that an American film would have actual French. Now I realize that's a feature best suited to all the Canadians with their cereal box French skills.
posted by SassHat at 4:54 PM on January 23, 2008

What about lip-syncing? Do they change the mouth movements for versions with
different languages?
posted by ShooBoo at 4:58 PM on January 23, 2008

This reminds me of that Cheerios commercial that's on now; on Canadian networks they have the original British accents, but on American networks they dubbed it with North American accents.
posted by piper4 at 5:24 PM on January 23, 2008

As a lifelong American, I was amazed at how many weird little things were different when I moved to Canada. I was obviously expecting stuff like the metric system, but little odd things. Zed for z, pretty much everything by Nabisco - Oreo cookies, Wheat Thins, etc. - are made by someone called "Mr. Christie," and they taste different. My in-laws routinely send us American Wheat Thins for Christmas. I expect Mazda, the car, to be pronounced with an a as in "father," but up here it's a as in "bad." It takes some getting used to.

And DVDs and videogames come with different box text. Since they have to explain the movie or game in two languages, you only get half as many words to figure out what you're being pitched. I think it forces us to be more perceptive, to make fast allusions to other movies or games, sort of the way the Tamarians from Darmok could pack so much meaning into a simple phrase like "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra." Or, as it would be said in Canada, "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra/Darmok et Jalad chez Tanagra."

Up here, Canada mints are called simply "mints."
posted by Naberius at 5:35 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was amazed at how many weird little things were different when I moved to Canada

My favorite is Reese's peanut butter cups, which are simply Reese in Canada. There go all my jokes about Rhesus Monkey Cups.
posted by kindall at 6:58 PM on January 23, 2008

Little tidbit: Pixar even changes the composition of the scenes in a movie for the 4:3 version of the DVD, making for a much better translation than what one usually sees.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:32 PM on January 23, 2008

Another Canadian difference: I got a box of Grape Nuts, in South Africa, but from Canada. It is lighter in color than the American version, and tastes terrible. I wrote Post in Canada, they did not bother to respond.
posted by Goofyy at 9:14 AM on January 25, 2008

I think they forked off the entire company's brand line at some point, and as the American versions have gotten more and more sugary and fatty and good tasting but unhealthy, the Canadian versions just stayed the same. That's my theory anyway. Canadian Oreos are more like what I remember them being like when I was a kid.

Not that anyone's still watching this thread...
posted by Naberius at 3:25 PM on January 25, 2008

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