how do you say “virtuous shell” in chinese?

11 Dec

Last night I went with a friend to see “Napoleon Explosive: The Chinese Napoleon Dynamite” at the Alamo Drafthouse (which is one of the many places that I consider makes Austin the wonderful place that it is.) It was Napoleon Dynamite in “Chinavision,” which basically means that they show a DVD of the film from China which was subtitled in Chinese and then translated back into English subtitles. It was very surreal.

I completely understood the translation of “Napoleon Dynamite” to be “Napoleon Explosive,” but how did Pedro’s name translate to “Virtuous Shell?” Is it a phonetic thing? Hopefully there is someone reading this out there who knows some basic Chinese and can resolve these profound questions of life.

One of my favorite translations from the movie was when Napoleon asks about the chicken’s “large talons”, and it was translated to something like “big marketable skills.”

For those wondering, no, alas, I was not one of the lucky ones to win a “Vote for Virtuous Shell” t-shirt. I like how those shirts made what was originally a somewhat obscure movie reference (and which became so mainstream that even Target was selling “Vote for Pedro” shirts) back into an obscure jest.

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