Poor Christopher Nolan was forced to re-edit Bane's lines in The Dark Knight Rises, after fans complained that this trailer's muffled dialog seems to depict the villain saying, "When Gotham has lasses, you have a mission for pie." This news inspired us to make a list of the top 10 least understandable villains: far from the eloquent speeches of Heath Ledger's Joker or David Carradine's Bill, these bad guys need to take a lesson in elocution if they want destroy the world.
10. Goblins of Troll 2: The goblins in this famously terrible movie are not helped out by the fact that they are obviously people wearing stiff masks and burlap sacks. Suspension of disbelief is impossible here. At one point, a character actually says, "we need some time for some things to happen." Maybe the plan could also involve some stuff, some whaddyacallits and some TBA?
9. Lex Luthor of Superman Returns: It's not that Luthor's dialog is inaudible or muffled in the film, it's that it may as well be. His plan makes no sense. Build a kryptonite-laced landmass that can't support vegetation and live on it with three henchmen? Lex is aware that only Superman is affected by Kryptonite, right? Literally anyone else can just walk up to his door and interrupt his insanely ill-conceived evil plot. We wish we could understand less here.
8. Mr. Freeze of Batman & Robin: Despite his glorious accent, Arnold Schwarzenegger's characters usually get their point across, typically with fists. But Schumacher's Mr. Freeze posed a hurdle not even the Governator could clear: the worst puns ever written. When Freeze says, "let's kick some ice," it's not that we don't understand that it's an attempted pun so much as we don't understand how our ears will ever recover from its nefarious ricochet. It's enough to send us to Arkham!
7. Godzilla of anything Godzilla: Godzilla's trademark shriek is as famous as Wilhelm's or Munch's, but it communicates exactly nothing. We don't understand why you're so mad, Godzilla! Could you maybe lay off the high-pitch, ear-shattering screechiness for a second so maybe we could hug this out?
6. The plants of The Happening: Like Troll 2, the plant villains in this movie are not helped out by Shyamalan's decision to not explain anything about them. Oh hey, plants are killing us? Oh hey, they're not anymore? More like the Crappening!
5. Martians of Spielberg's The War of the Worlds: Wait, you planned to take over Earth for a million years and you never bothered to notice the biggest part of this planet's biomass—viruses and bacteria—were lethal to you? Nice try-pods, losers.
4. Martians of Mars Attacks: When an alien race says "we come in peace" and then vaporizes everyone in sight, it's fair to assume something was lost in translation. Mars Attacks' depiction of humans repeatedly falling for the Martians' apologies-turned-massacres is as hilarious as the song that ultimately brings them all down.
3. Bowser of the Mushroom Kingdom: Look, we know you love Peach, but this relationship can't happen. Sure, in one of the creepier turns in Mario Universe history, it was revealed that Bowser Jr.'s mother is Peach (we won't ask, so please don't tell). But that only makes it more imperative that your dream of a life together ends here. Because Bowser... we don't need any more Koopa Kids. Now go spend some time in one of your luxury lava castles to work this through.
2. Zombies of anything featuring zombies: The motivation of a zombie is crystal clear, so don't go near one to try and find out. However, they are the least eloquent of undead villains. A vampire has charm; a ghost has unfinished business; a zombie will say, "AAAAArrrrgssssSSSAAA" as if that's a convincing argument! Presentation is everything, zombies: work on it.
1. Rod and Nathalie of Birdemic: Shock and Terror: Describing this as a "real" movie is a little generous, but there sincerely is no better example of inaudible or motivationally vague characters in any film ever made. This movie is on Netflix Instant, and is exhibit A for the necessity of professional sound mixers/editors. And yes, technically they are the protagonists, but I am calling them the villains because they recklessly endanger and virtually destroy themselves, everyone around them, and the audience's grasp of what's going on by the end of the movie.
Who's your favorite hard to understand villain?