Green Linguarian—With Brightest Hopes. With Darkest Despair.
Linguistic Film Reviews with Trey Jones
“With brightest vowel. With darkest alveolar lateral approximant.”
Jakob Grimm as Hal Jargon/Green Linguarian
William Jones as Thaal Syntactro
Benjamin Lee Whorf as Kiloword
Leonard Bloomfield as Hačektor Hammond
Franz Boaz as Abin Singulur
George Zipf as Paralipsis
Green Linguarian stars a badly miscast Jakob Grimm as Hal Jargon, who takes over the role of Green Linguarian from dying extraterrestrial linguist Abin Singulur, played by Franz Boaz, whose talent is wasted in such a brief role. Jargon inherits Singulur’s Ů, which is capable of creating glowing green forcefields in the shape of almost anything he can imagine. It is powered by voiceless bilabial fricatives—the symbol for which adorns the Green Linguarian Corps’ costumes.
Some critics have claimed Green Linguarian is the “must-see suprasegmental movie of the summer” (Roger eBurr of the Chicago Linguistics Association Sun-Times), and praised the movie for its “stunning velar nasals” (Gene Subscript of the Chicago Linguistic Federation Tribune). Richard Roepertoire, also of the Chicago Linguistics Association Sun-Times went so far as to described the movie as “Language Wars meets Irony Man”—which could only be true if it had taken the very worst of each; both are vastly superior films.
I really wanted to like this film. I’ve enjoyed several of Grimm’s other films, notably the romantic comedy The Propositional Act (opposite America’s sweetheart Sandra Buccaloc). I even enjoyed his performance in the superhero film X-Bar Origins: Worderine, in which he played the more well-suited, snide and snarky character Wade-Giles Wilson, a.k.a Deadlangue. Jones (as Syntactro) and Whorf (as Kiloword) are two of my favorite actors, but here Whorf is buried under a ton of prosthetics, rendering his normally expressive face visually mute, and Jones seems to be phoning in his performance—is it just me, or has he been coasting since his riveting turn as Lord Henry Blackword in Sherlock Holmonyms?
For the sake of a superhero film, I was willing to overlook the bright green spandex suits with overly-developed built-in musculature, the limitless power of the Green Linguarians’ Ůs, and the aforementioned goofy prosthetics. However, the most unbelievable facet of the movie is the laughable notion that throughout the universe, philologists, grammarians, linguists, linguisticians, and linguarians are able to get along without any ideological divisiveness, led by The Guardians of Universal Grammar, who created the Green Linguarian Corps.
I was initially horrified when the character Nom dePlume Chornsky first appeared on screen, fearing Old Man Chomsky had debased himself in agreeing to make a lightly fictionalized cameo. In fact, Chornsky was not played by a reverse-aged Chomsky, but rather Jack Colloquialman, most famous for his role as the similar-looking Noah Benefactive on the television show ♂ρρρ (alternatively titled He-Rhos, for those who are not fans of that particular TV cult favorite).
I went into this movie with brightest hopes. I came out with darkest despair. While it pains me to do so, I have to recommend not seeing it in theaters. I suggest waiting for it on NLP disk, or, even going so far as to unwatch it on NegFlix.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Stones