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[Comments] (7) Gained In Translation: I should have mentioned earlier that my seeing Kiki's Delivery Service earlier with Riana was actually the second time I saw it; I'd also seen it the day before with Sumana. Also we had watched Elf, which Sumana really likes but which I wasn't crazy about.

Anyway, when I watched it with Sumana we watched it in Japanese with subtitles, just because that's how we saw Spirited Away in the theater and we liked the voice work for that movie. About halfway through the second viewing, the disc started acting up and we tried various things to fix it, including switching the audio track to English. And gaah! but the English track was a mess.

There was already a perfectly servicable and (as far as I could tell) pretty faithful English translation, which was used as the subtitles for the Japanese audio track. But in the dubbed version, this translation had been jettisoned in favor of what was clearly a much looser and greatly inferior translation, complete with entirely new lines of dialogue that didn't even work. It was like someone's bad fan fiction had been dubbed onto the movie. So I guess I am going to have to be a subtitle snob, if that's what they do when they dub movies. I never really compared the subtitled versions of a particular movie to the dubbed before, because I assumed they used the same translation for each. Does this always happen?

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Posted by John at Tue Jun 07 2005 19:22

I'm with you, Leonard, on Elf. I found the attempts at humor to be ill-timed, immature, obvious, trite, and way overplayed. But that was a movie I saw at the request of many family members, who assured me it would be the funniest movie I ever did see. People ruin movies when they hype it up too much.

Was Kiki's Deliery Service any good? I've always wanted to see it, as it came out many years ago. Susie and I both really enjoyed Spirited Away.

Posted by Sumana at Tue Jun 07 2005 22:16

a) Leonard exaggerated and misread my enjoyment of "Elf." "Kiki's Delivery Service" is a slow, thoughtful film and "Elf" is a comedy/tearjerker. The night we saw KDS and "Elf", I now realize, I was more in the mood for the latter.

b) Man, the philosophical argument in "Elf" is messed up. The magic in the ending makes no sense. More on that in my blog soonish.

c) John, I feel bad for you that hype ruined "Elf" for you. The same thing happened with me and "Phantom Menace." I could have enjoyed it ok if I had treated it like just another action movie. Actually, then I just wouldn't have gone. L and I saw "Elf" because he thought I wanted to and I thought he wanted to. One of those O. Henry stories.

Posted by anonymous at Wed Jun 08 2005 09:47

I remember there was a scene in the film "elf" where the giant elf man ate a baby, with chocolate syrup. You'd think they'd frown upon that kind of thing in a movie, but i guess not.

Posted by Kristen at Thu Jun 09 2005 19:21

I remember watching Spirited Away with you guys, leonard and sumana, while in San Fran. I can't believe you guys have to pay $10 per movie ticket.

Posted by Sumana at Thu Jun 09 2005 20:41

I seek out matinees and only see a movie in a theater about once every three months. $10 is indeed ridiculous.


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