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The Unintelligible / Film

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Films — Animated

  • Brave has Young Macguffin, who speaks in thickly-accented Doric Scots that no one can understand except his father.
  • Hilariously played with in The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Disney. The heroes are caught by the thieves, tied, gagged, mock-trialed and are about to be hanged.
Clopin: Any last words?
Quasimodo and Phoebus:[mumble incomprehensibly through their gags]
Clopin[condescendingly]: That's what they all say.
  • The frog hunter Two-Fingers from The Princess and the Frog.
  • Jack-Jack from The Incredibles speaks in Baby Talk.
  • Q*bert in Wreck-It Ralph speaks in garbled syllables accompanied by speech bubbles, as he does in his games. Felix can at least talk back though "[his] Q*bertese is a little rusty".
  • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Merida ends up being this as none of the other Disney Princesses understands a word she's saying because of her thick Scottish accent. As Anna explains, "She's from the other studio."
  • Insectosaurus from Monsters vs. Aliens only speaks be making a screeching noise. It also appears that only Missing Link can understand him.
  • Taking a cue from the cartoon, Rico becomes this in Penguins of Madagascar where he was simply The Quiet One in the previous three movies. Unlike the cartoon, he is completely unintelligible and never says anything recognizable.
    Dave: Dave!
    Kowalski: (uncertain) Daaave...
    Dave: Dave!
    Skipper: (confused) Dave?
    Dave: Dave!?
    Private: (pretending) Dave!
    Dave: Dave??
    Rico: (bored) Blah...
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  • Isle of Dogs has Atari speaking in only Japanese, apparently without subtitles, and while only his fellow Japanese can understand what he's saying, the dogs can't. Lampshaded by one of the dogs named Duke, who mutters, "I wish someone spoke his language."

Films — Live-Action

  • Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, when in 50 foot giant form, rains unintelligible things at the pirates after they set her free. Word of God says that she's cursing them, and basically telling them to go fuck themselves.
  • Star Wars: Many aliens and droids are unintelligible, speaking only in beeps, growls or alien speech.
    • R2-D2 speaks in bleeps and bloops, which are understood by everyone in the cast.
    • Chewbacca communicates only in animal roars, whines and grunts, which are understood by everyone.
    • There are occasional instances where characters will translate for each other. Examples include the two cantina ruffians and C-3PO's stint as a translator for Jabba the Hutt.
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    • The Death Troopers in Rogue One are this to the audience. Unlike regular stormtroopers that are perfectly understandable even through their helmets, the Death Troopers sound like garbled radio static whenever they talk. It's supposed to be some sort of vocal encryption their higher-end gear provides.
  • Captain Stimpson in Texas Across the River is capable of speaking normally, but whenever he issues a command, it sounds like, "Haroo, har!". His soldiers invariably follow the command, despite themselves being unable to understand what he's saying.
  • In the Ocean's Eleven trilogy, the Amazing Yen speaks only Mandarin Chinese (except when he's swearing), yet the rest of the gang can understand him perfectly, often (but not always) leading to a Repeating so the Audience Can Hear moment.
  • One of Robin Hood's merry men in Time Bandits has to have his friend do translating duty.
  • Inspector Kemp in Young Frankenstein speaks with an accent so thick even his Transylvanian countrymen can't understand him:
    "Vee had better confeerm de fect dat yunk Frankenshtein iss indeed vallowing een ees gandfadda's vootshtaps."
  • Gabby Johnson of Blazing Saddles speaks "authentic frontier gibberish":
    "..And no sidewindin', bushwackin', hornswagglin' cracker croaker is gonna rowway... bushescutter!"
    "Now who can argue with that? ...I think we're all indebted to Gabby Johnson for clearly stating what needed to be said!"
  • Whisper in Live and Let Die. Due to some unspecified condition, he's unable to speak above a whisper.
  • Mikey O'Neil in Snatch. speaks with such a thick "Pikey" accent that outsiders have difficulty understanding him. His subtitles occasionally revert to "??????"
  • Mumbles in Dick Tracy, played by Dustin Hoffman. A stenographer is seen giving up entirely on translating. Tracy is able to discern what he's saying by recording him, and then playing back the tape slowly. Later, Mumbles is able to speak coherently to confess Big Boy Capri's plans.
  • Police Constable Bob Walker of the Sandford Police Service in Hot Fuzz speaks with such a thick rural accent that Nicolas Angel needs other villagers to translate for him. However, isolated country folks are unintelligible to everyone but Bob, forcing a translation chain. Interestingly, as Angel gets more familiar with the town, Bob's dialogue becomes more intelligible.
  • The Pink Panther: Inspector Clouseau's outlandish accent often makes him unintelligible to others - even his fellow Frenchmen.
  • Fenster in The Usual Suspects. Benicio Del Toro invented this character aspect because the character was too thin, and existed only to die. He based his performance on Dustin Hoffman's performance as Mumbles. Cast members were asked to have him repeat himself if they couldn't understand his line delivery. A few of these end up in the final cut.
  • Farmer Fran in The Waterboy has a completely unintelligible Cajun accent.
    • The actor reprises the role (or a similar character) for a bit part in Joe Dirt, in which his heartfelt advice of "Home is where you make it" is interpreted as "You like to see homos naked" by Joe.
  • Frenzy in Transformers live-action film speaks almost entirely in Cybertronian. However, he does speak English sometimes, such as his last words: "Oh, shit." Shockwave from Dark of the Moon is also fairly hard to understand.
  • Blaine Cody from Rat Race, due to a self-made tongue piercing. His brother, Duane Cody will sometimes "translate" his speech.
  • The eponymous Pootie Tang. It is said that he is too cool for words and nobody undestands what he says, but what he means.
  • Herbie The Love Bug embodies this in that his horn is his only method of communication. At least one person from each movie understands him.
  • Played with in Enchanted as far as understanding The Unintelligible goes. When Pip enters the human world, he finds himself in the difficult position of only being able to utter word-like squeaks. Prince Edward thinks he understands him perfectly. He doesn't.
  • Gymnasia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A woman hailing from the Isle of Silent Women, she expresses with pantomimes apparently unrelated to whatever is happening. When Pseudolous, her Love Interest and Butt-Monkey reveals her pantomimes as an highly organized sign language which he's able to translate to the audience, the rest of the cast is genuinely surprised.
  • Elmo in Schizopolis speaks in a weird, drawling language that includes such expressions as "Arsenal! Nose army," (a greeting), "throbbing dust expression" (roughly, "nice place"), and "ambassador landmine" (roughly, "let us copulate"). When compelled to speak in normal English, he becomes almost psychotically frantic.
  • The eponymous protagonist in Spider (2002) is a paranoid schizophrenic who mumbles his words incoherently much of the time.
  • Jack the Giant Slayer :Fallon's smaller head's speech is almost entirely incomprehensible.
  • Nadir the "wizard" in Sinbad of the Seven Seas speaks mostly in gibberish understandable only by his daughter.
  • Detective Ringwald in When Evil Calls mumbles everything in drunken slur and keeps switching between English and French. Only his partner Nelson seems to understand him.
  • Up the Chastity Belt: On the way to the Holy Land, Lurkalot stops to as a yokel directions. The yokel speaks with an incomprehensible Mummerset accent, which results in Lurkalot making several false starts.


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