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10 Best ConLang Movies of All Time

December 27, 2016
6 min read

Thousands of languages are spoken all over the world. Literature manoeuvres the art of communication via language. But, what is ‘ConLang’ (short for ‘Constructed Language’)? Basically, it is a language that has been deliberately made up and has not evolved through years of human use. Conlangers are the artistes who give some of the films the authenticity they are known for by inventing languages .. say for aliens and AIs etc. Here’s a list of some of the best movies ever with ConLang. You can watch some of these best constructed language movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime.

10. Minions (2015)

The multi-talented Pierre Coffin; who dons the hat of a voice artist and a director (along side Kyle Balda) in ‘Minions’, is quite fluent with the ‘Minion’ ConLang. The adorable banana-loving trio; Kevin, Stuart and Bob, speak the ConLang created by Coffin himself. Sandra Bullock as Scarlett Overkill, John Hamm as Herb Overkill and Pierre Coffin as the three minions have done a commendable job as voice artists.

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9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

The second edition of the Thor franchise also had ConLang used in it. David Peterson created ‘Shivaisith’ for ‘Thor: The Dark World’: a language spoken by the ‘Dark Elves’, the bad guys in the Thor Universe. Majority of the dialogues in ‘Shivaisith’ were delivered by Christopher Eccleston who played the role of ‘Malekith the Accursed’. The movie also stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleson as Loki and Natalie Portman as James Foster.

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8. The Mummy Series (1999)

The Mummy series, based on ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, also uses ConLang. The ‘Ancient Egyptian’ spoken in the film is both fresh and original, and therefore reminiscent of the Ancient Egyptian Era dated back to 3000 BC. Dr Stuart Tyson Smith; someone who is well versed with Ancient Egyptian pronunciations, is also the one who developed the ConLang for Stargate (1994). The series has Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and John Hannah in pivotal roles.

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7. 30 Days Of Night (2007)

One of Hollywood’s efficaciously intimidating horror ventures, ’30 Days Of Night’ features some brutal slaughtering and horrendous happenings in Barrow, Alaska. During winters, the town witnesses thirty days of ‘polar night’, the phenomenon in which a night lasts for more than 24 hours. Fear ensues as a bunch of blood-hungry vampires; led by Marlow (a seemingly intimidating Danny Huston) butcher the townspeople, wreaking havoc and spreading fear. The ‘Vampiric Language’ created by Dr Helen Charters is spot on and adds to the novelty of the film.

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6. The Dark Crystal (1982)

A movie based on an alien planet in an ancient era, ‘The Dark Crystal’ is a tale too forward for its time. Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s farsightedness is commendable; as they put forth a tale based on the damaging of a ‘Dark Crystal’ by one of the ‘Urskeks’. Fala Vam (“Thank-You”) and Dolah (“Stay”) are some ConLang phrases used in the film, indicating the advent of a filming procedure way back in 1982. The film features Jim Henson and Frank Oz in visually convincing roles.

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5. Avatar (2009)

This is one film that needs no introduction. James Cameron’s magnum opus is the quintessential ‘ConLang’ cult. Besides falling in love with Avatar’s immensely detailed fictional universe of Pandora, one just can’t ignore the Omiticaya clan’s creative language. The Na’vi language; created by Paul Frommer, has fans worldwide who are fluent at it today. The film has Zoe Saldana as Neytiri and Sam Worthington as Jake Sully; conversing in the Na’vi language in most parts of the film.   

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4. The Star Trek Series (1979-2009)

The Star Trek series also uses ConLang as a vital part of communication. In Star Trek III: The Search For Spock; the ‘Klingon’ language was employed,which was created by Marc Okrand. The language; that is spoken by many communities worldwide, requires the speaker to have a guttural grunt as she/he speaks it. The series has William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart spearheading the star-cast.

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3. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

‘The Lord Of The Rings’ Trilogy places itself among one of the most celebrated fantasy adventure films in Hollywood. All the three parts; (‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, ‘The Two Towers’ and ‘The Return Of The King’), extensively use ConLang in their scripts. ‘Elvish’ is the ConLang used in this trilogy, created by R.R. Tolkien who has penned the original novels. The series has some stellar performances by Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom.

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2. The Star Wars Series (1977-2015)

Be it ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 or ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015, the Star Wars Series has done more than just entertaining us; it has become a pop culture phenomenon.The series is famous for using ‘Alien Languages’ like Ubese and in Ben Burtt, the sound engineer’s opinion, these were created by mixing interesting combinations of sounds way back in the 1970-1980’s. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Harrison Ford are some well known actors who star in the latest edition of the franchise.

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1. Blade Runner (1982)

The ‘Blade Runner’ would soon qualify as a ‘series’, with its second installment releasing next year (Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049). Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic is based on a former detective’s quest to track down and eliminate ‘humanoid androids’ from outer space who have descended on Earth. ‘City Speak’ was the ConLang used, a blend of Japanese, Spanish and German; something that validates Scott’s unprecedented genius. With Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, Sean Young as Rachael and Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty at the helm, this film was worthy of the acclaim it received. 

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