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Death. Taxes. Keith Richards. Attractive girls being inexplicably interested in Wilmer Valderrama. And characters with vaguely British accents in fantasy or historical fiction movies.
We are brought up with the understanding that these things are the lone certainties in life. Today, we'd like to closely examine that last guarantee. Presenting 10 fantasy movies featuring characters with vaguely British accents who do not need to have British accents.
(Editor's Note: Yes, we know Ancient Greece and Rome were very real places, but "Gladiator" and "300" are hardly non-fiction accounts of them. So... humor us.)
1. 'The Lord of the Rings' Franchise (2001 - Present)
This is the most egregious offender of the bunch, if only for sheer mass. "The Return of the King" alone controversially broke the Guinness record for movie length by 418 hours and 29 minutes. But while many cite original novel writer J.R.R. Tolkien's influence as the reason for the Britishness of the film series, no one can explain the exponential degrees to which the actors spike the proverbial British football (soccer ball?) in the viewer's face. See for yourself at the :47 second mark of "The Hobbit" trailer below. ("I'M GEW-ING, ON AN AD-VEN-SHAAHHHH!")
2. 'Planet of the Apes' (1968)
The original "Planet of the Apes" memorably won its lone Oscar for "Movie Most Obviously Trying To Use the British Accent as a Representation of Sinisterness," and deservedly so. Charlton Heston (American accent) spends most of the film looking for his misplaced shirt and asking ladies which way the beach is, while his inexplicably British ape overlords lecture him about manners and whatnot. The scene at the 1:01 mark of following trailer explains the dynamic quite nicely.
3. 'Gladiator' (2001)
Everyone in the Roman Empire spoke Latin, so in a sense, "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott had carte blanche regarding the way his characters spoke, especially since it's the 21st century and exactly nine people on Earth can speak Latin. Still, we couldn't help but notice California native Joaquin Phoenix's out-of-nowhere British accent as the conniving Commodus. Then again, we admit it would have sounded weird if the line was, "How dare you show your back to me, bro?"
4. 'Underworld' Franchise (2003 - 2012)
The "Underworld" movies take place in Budapest, Hungary, in an alternate universe where vampires and werewolves have been at war for a thousand years, exactly nothing of which has anything to do with Great Britain or its dialects. Yet director Len Wiseman — native of San Francisco — has all of his characters fit with British accents. Listen, we're not saying Wiseman has to cast Jeff Foxworthy as Kate Beckinsale's love interest for future movies or anything... actually, yes. Yes, we are.
To be fair to Gerard Butler, he's pretty much just talking in his own voice throughout this movie, and that's to be expected. We can't imagine "acting" was any more important than "working out heavily" or "finding the proper-fitting red briefs" in preparation for his role. But when he boots that helpless Persian into the random hole to nothing that the Spartans (of Ancient Greece, of course) have in the middle of their city for some reason, we can't help but hear, "Madness? THIS. IS. SCOTLAND!"
6. 'Clash of the Titans' & 'Wrath of the Titans' (2010 & 2012)
It's almost as if the dialogue in "Clash of the Titans" was intentionally written in such a way that it can't possibly be said with anything other than British accents. Witness some of the lines from the trailer, posted below: Can you hear George Clooney (for example) saying, "It is time, for the mortals, to pay" in a George Clooney voice and take it seriously? It's tough, right? You would think he was saying it facetiously in a half-assed "Ocean's 11" sequel.
7. 'The Chronicles of Narnia' Franchise (2005 - 2010)
This one's a bit of a lay-up. Sure, the kids are from the U.K., but it's not like Narnia is a majestic, whimsical section of Liverpool or something. And as if trying to distinguish itself from its peers, the "Narnia" series gets serious bonus points for pioneering the notion of animals having British accents, too, even if Liam Neeson was a poor casting choice for the talking lion (only because his voice is so distinctive that it overrides everything; you go from, "Whoa, what a badass lion!" to "Oh, that's Liam Neeson" almost instantly.)
8. 'Street Fighter'
Did you have a feeling we were going to add Puerto Rico-native Raul Julia's random British accent as M. Bison to this list? Thought so.
9. 'Season of the Witch'
"Season of the Witch" throws a hilarious Nicolas Cage curveball at us by being EXACTLY the prototype for this list, except that Cage and co-star Ron Perlman choose to speak in their own voices for the duration of the movie. So we have all of these gothic characters speaking in loooonnngg drawwwnnn outttt Engliissshhhh sentences, and then Cage replying with the same voice he uses to place a second order of fish tacos at a truck in Venice. Simply superb.
10. 'Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country'
This may or may not have made the list strictly for the unreal clip below. Even the Klingons are randomly and inexplicably British! CRY HAVOC!