TALK STORY

Dubbed or subtitled? Your preference?

POSTED BY: LWAVES
UPDATED: Thursday, March 13, 2008 17:41
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Monday, March 10, 2008 1:35 PM

LWAVES


Watched The Orphanage this weekend which I enjoyed as a great drama/ghost story.
Recommended it to a couple of people at work who sounded interested until I told them it was subtitled (the original language is Spanish).
Then they were like 'No way' and 'Never watch it'.
Now I know this subject often comes up about foreign movies but I thought I'd put it to my fellow Browncoats and find out what we all prefer.

Personally I don't have a problem with subtitles, I find it easy to read them and watch the movie as well. Hearing the inflections and emotions etc of the original actor speak the lines (even if I don't actually understand the words) is far better for me than a dubbed voice.
I really can't stand dubbing. Because of the different language the synching is ALWAYS out (yeah I know this can't be helped) but to me it makes it so distracting to watch. Much worse than an English language film that has its audio out of sync.

What are your thoughts?



"I don't believe in suicide, but if you'd like to try it it might cheer me up to watch."

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Monday, March 10, 2008 1:50 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


I agree. Subtitles are superior. It's always weird to hear an English-speaking voice coming from a Japanese character (because I watch more anime than foreign films), and, especially with cartoons, some of the dubbing is awful.

Once a lurker, always a lurker.

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Monday, March 10, 2008 8:45 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Whenever this subject comes up, I recall the spaghetti westerns - The Stranger, the Two Strangers, and The Three Strangers (retitled as For a Fistfull of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.)
They had English speaking stars, and all the extras were Italians speaking Italian in an Italian film production. it was made for Italian audiences. They dubbed all the Italian speaking with English. Then the entire dialogue was subtitled in Italian.
This was done so the Italian audiences would think it was an American Western film, but the script was specifically written for Italian audiences. They were all immense hits in Italy, and within a decade - after Clint's "4th" installment, an actual American production, the first 3 were brought to America.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:27 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I prefer subtitled, and I also liked The Orphanage a lot.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:49 AM

SPACEANJL


Subtitles, every time. Bad dubbing is so distracting. Unless it's a cult classic like 'Monkey'.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 4:10 AM

JONGSSTRAW


I typically would prefer dubbing. Sub-titles, for me, are too distracting, and often ruin the pace of the movie. Some movies, however, I do prefer to see in the original language such as Das Boot. If you watch the 2 versions, they almost come off as 2 different movies.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:12 AM

DEADLOCKVICTIM



I saw a comedian once in Austin - he had a great bit where he played a samurai and and moved his mouth as though he were speaking Japanese, but the words came out as English... so a long dialogue would end up as just a few words... pretty funny, but i guess you had to be there...

I prefer subtitles - mainly because voice overs or dubbing is distracting in that you can usually tell that the movements of the mouth don't line up with the words being spoken...

I have a thing about things lining up....

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:49 AM

MAL4PREZ


Funny, I just watched Curse of the Golden Flower last week. (Great movie!) I watched with subtitles, for all the reasons stated above. Inflection, etc.

But the movie is so damned beautiful that I watched again a few days later with dubs so I could take in the settings and costumes and facial expressions. There was a lot I missed the first time through - not only visual details, but lines I didn't process while reading but did while hearing.

I still prefer subtitles, but sometimes a second view with dubs is worth it.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:56 AM

SPACEANJL


A really well-dubbed film, and I find that my brain is parallel processing the subtitles with the audio. There are some films where I have to think hard to rememebr if I saw subbed or dubbed.

'Curse of the Golden Flower' was a real feel-bad film. But so damn beautiful. That big battle, and then the even bigger army of servants who just cleared it away like nothing happened? Mad.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:11 AM

EVILDINOSAUR


I can watch both, though I think I prefer dubbed. The reason being I find it easier to follow what's happening if I'm listening to the speech rather than reading it, the different voices make it easier to tell who's talking. Though watching subtitled is fun too, especially when you start picking up what some of the words in the foreign language are.

"Haha, mine is an evil laugh."

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:35 AM

ZEROKIRYU


It doesn't really matter to me.

I'll usually watch the dub first, then go back and watch the subs.

There are a couple of series where I actually prefer the dub, such as Hellsing Ultimate (Crispin Freeman IS Alucard IMO).

_________________________________________________
"Then... where is my dream?"
"It is the continuation of reality."
"Where is... my reality?"
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:41 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Subtitled films are more difficult to understand then dubbed films. The subtitles can be difficult to read and comprehend before the next subtitle leading to an incomplete grasp of the scene. For this reason I typically don‘t watch a lot of subtitled films. I didn’t care much for “Sleeping Dragon Crouching Tiger.” I don’t even think I finished it. I will occasionally watch French films, but I speak French, well enough at least to follow with subtitles. The last subtitled film I watched was “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and it was probably one of the most difficult to watch, because it was so complex and there was this constant line between reality fantasy that you had to keep clear in order to understand what was going on. If not for the shear caliber of that film, I’m not sure I would have bothered trying to watch it again, but as it was, I ended up watching it over a dozens times (and actually ended up learning a quite a bit of Spanish in the process), scrutinizing over it. That’s the thing about subtitled films, particularly those with complex themes or plots, if they are not just really good I might not spend the time it takes to understand the film.

As far as dubbed films go, these are jokes. There’s no such thing as a dubbed film that is not just laughable. The typical example of a dubbed film, of course, is the quintessential “kung fu” movie, which in the US are typically jokes. We don’t take them seriously in the US and it’s not because some of them perhaps aren’t good enough to be taken seriously, it’s because the dubbed creates a comical effect that undermines any gravity in the film. This became crystal clear to me the first time that I watched the Karate Kid dubbed in French in my French class - absolutely nothing even remotely serious was left in this film. It was all a joke. And the whole class was in tears by the end of it.

So there’s really no comparison between subtitled and dubbed. Foreign language films will always be difficult to understand if you don’t know the language, but dubbing, in my opinion, is the lowest common denominator for dealing with problem.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:50 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
'Curse of the Golden Flower' was a real feel-bad film. But so damn beautiful. That big battle, and then the even bigger army of servants who just cleared it away like nothing happened? Mad.

It's a Shakespearean tragedy is what it is - betrayal, incest, murder. Just crazy! I admit I couldn't watch the battle the 2nd time through. The buildup is gorgeous, but the slaughter? Awful.

One film that *requires* subtitles - Nightwatch. Watch it in Russian with subtitles on, and they do things. They work into the film visually, and in how they're timed. Sometimes the words reverberate or melt into red mist. It's so cool. Why don't more films do this?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:00 AM

BLACKADDER7


I greatly prefer subtitles for one reason: accuracy. When a dub is done correctly, the dialogue is morphed so that the length of the line fits the facial movements of the speaker. This results in mistranslations, loss of context, and many times, simple nonsense lines that have nothing to do with what is really being said. This problem simply doesn't exist with accurate subtitles and good timing (and I fansubbed anime for 4 years, so I have a little bit of experience in this area, but also some bias).

I've often heard the argument that the time it takes reading/comprehending subtitles detracts from the enjoyment of the medium. To that, my counterargument has always been - learn how to read better/faster. There are millions upon millions of people all over the world that watch subtitled media and have no problem comprehending and enjoying what they're watching.

Just my $0.02. [/rant]

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:02 AM

DEADLOCKVICTIM



...then there are always the problems with translations...
need i remind you of "All your base are belong to us...!"

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:12 AM

DEADLOCKVICTIM


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
One film that *requires* subtitles - Nightwatch. Watch it in Russian with subtitles on, and they do things.



An excellent example... Nightwatch and Day Watch are really incredible films - still waiting for the third film of the series... Dawn Watch..? I'm not sure if that is the correct title, or when it will be released in the U.S.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:38 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Inaccurate translations will always be a potential problem even with subtitles. Very few languages can be translated between each other without a loss of meaning. And languages that are very different, such as Chinese and English, you will likely never get a perfect translation and often a “bad” translation is a good as you can get. Regardless of whether a film is subtitled or dubbed there will always be a potential and sometimes a certainty for bad translations. On top of that, different cultures have different ways of expressing emotion and different gestures and different intonations. I can’t listen to Chinese and understand whether a question is being asked or a statement is being made based on the intonation alone, because I don’t understand the why Chinese is intoned. So often there is a conflict between what is being said and what is being read. Languages are enormously complex beasts and there are numerous ways in which meanings between the two languages can become obscured. But that problem is certainly exacerbated by dubbing in which words are selected as much for their comparison with lip movements then for meaning.

And I don’t like the attitude that some people have where they insinuate that people who may have difficulty comprehending subtitled films are stupid. Subtitled films will always propose a greater challenge to comprehension then watching films that aren’t subtitled, and making people aware that they are not alone in their struggles with subtitles is the best way to keep them motivated to watch subtitled films instead of falling onto the lowest common denominator.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:38 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Double post?

subtitle: What? I made a double post? That's just fools talk man. I don't make no damn double post. Damn. Go jive your turkey somewhere else, you honkey dog.

And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!

subtitle: Perhaps my quaint but novel quoting of the last line of Dune will destract people from my double posting.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:54 AM

DEADLOCKVICTIM




I haven't seen this in a while...



take off every zig.... ha ha ha ha....?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:56 AM

BLACKADDER7


I certainly didn't intend to imply that I believe that people who have difficulty with subtitles are 'stupid'. I rather use it as an opportunity to espouse the virtues of subtitled media as an art form and try to suggest potential avenues of personal improvement. I can't play golf. Doesn't mean I'm not a good athlete, just means I suck at golf. If I wanted to make myself more well-rounded athletically, I might try and learn how to play. Lousy metaphor, I know, but the best I could come up with on short notice.

In the end, everyone will have their own preference for their own reasons. It's fun to debate, but rather pointless. I'm not going to convince anyone to prefer subtitles, and no one will convince me to like dubs. But it's all good... :)

-------------------------------------------------------------

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:30 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Inaccurate translations will always be a potential problem even with subtitles.

So true. Have you read the threads about Firefly dubbage in French? It's amazing what changes. And I've heard of odd things in Firefly subtitles as well - even English to English subtitles!

Anyway, your raise a good point that the language matters. French intonations I can pick up, but Mandarin not so much. In Chinese films I get more meaning from watching the actor's face than from their voice, and I can only watch their face if my eyes aren't constantly darting to the subtitles. And again, there's that costume/scenery thing. I hate missing pretty visuals.

Really, if a film's good enough to be worth it, I like watching twice. Once with subtitles, once dubbed.

DLV - I haven't seen Day Watch yet. I've heard it's even better than Night Watch. You think?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:04 AM

STORYMARK


I definitely prefer subtitles with foreign films. For all the reasons mentioned above (accuarce, nuance of performance, ect.) Pan's Labyrinth and Infernal Affairs are films I've watched recently with subs.

Occasionally, I will watch a dubbed version, but only under certain circumstances. For a drama, it's subs all the way. However, with heavily action-oriented films or anime, I somtimes prefer the dub. Makes it easier to follow what's happening on-screen, and you're really not loosing much in terms of performance, since nuanced acting is rarely of high importance in those films.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:25 AM

DEADLOCKVICTIM


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
I haven't seen Day Watch yet. I've heard it's even better than Night Watch. You think?



Nightwatch was the first of the three released here and the first one I saw, so I think I liked it a little more than Day Watch simply because it was my introduction into this strange story.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:36 AM

CHRISISALL


Subtitles, every time, with two notable exceptions: Wing Chun & Magnificent Warriors- the original language versions didn't have Michelle Yeoh's voice in them anyway, and were fully dubbed as they were shot without sound, so the dubs actually work better in those instances for me.
I like hearing the real inflections of the actor's voices- I feel the performances are undercut with dubbing.


Technical Chrisisall

"I supported Bush in 2000 and 2004 and intellegence[sic] had very little to do with that decision." - Hero, Real World Event Discussions

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:45 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Blackadder7:
I rather use it as an opportunity to espouse the virtues of subtitled media as an art

I don’t really disagree with you. I prefer an authentic feel when I watch a movie, so much so that the bad Russian accents in Red October really ruined the film for me. Even the English spoken in Gladiator got on my nerves a little, which is why I really liked Gibson’s two movies that he did in the supposedly authentic languages, “Passion of the Christ,” and “Apocalypto.”



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:47 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Subtitles, every time, with two notable exceptions: Wing Chun & Magnificent Warriors- the original language versions didn't have Michelle Yeoh's voice in them anyway, and were fully dubbed as they were shot without sound, so the dubs actually work better in those instances for me.

I draw the exceptions with kung fu movies and Godzilla movies. God, just intended these movies to be dubbed.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:29 PM

THATWEIRDGIRL


I prefer subtitles. Just because I don't know what someone is saying doesn't mean I can't hear the emotion in actors' words. It just sounds and looks weird when it's dubbed.

---
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
-- Charlie Brown

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:36 PM

THATWEIRDGIRL


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
I draw the exceptions with kung fu movies and Godzilla movies. God, just intended these movies to be dubbed.



Seconded!

---
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
-- Charlie Brown

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:43 AM

SPACEANJL


Haven't seen Day Watch yet, either, but have all the books. Third one is Twilight Watch, and there's some talk that the third film will be in English, which may actually detract from it. Mind you, what they've done to the storyline in the films is so off-base, it may not.

The books are interesting in themselves, because there is a whole different mythology and assumption underpinning them. Almost reads like classic western fantasy-horror, but with a twist. I find books that play with your assumptions and perceptions a lot of fun to read (C J Cherryh 'Foreigner' sequence etc) and that's also a reason I like some Anime. Though, on the dub/sub front, you still know that you are missing nuances, because even if you have the language, you don't have the cultural wiring.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 5:28 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
I draw the exceptions with kung fu movies and Godzilla movies. God, just intended these movies to be dubbed.


"My.. Mantis Fist will beat.. your Godzilla Claw!" just doesn't seem the same in the original language....

Cheese-filled Chrisisall

"I supported Bush in 2000 and 2004 and intellegence[sic] had very little to do with that decision." - Hero, Real World Event Discussions

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 6:27 AM

EMPIREX


I'm of two minds. If a film is more action-oriented, like Crouching Tiger or Brotherhood of the Wolf, I prefer dubbing.

If a film is more than just eye-candy, I prefer subtitled. I agree: the inflection in the voices of the original actors is important and sometimes the actors they use to dub sound nothing like the original actors (see Brotherhood of the Wolf).

Some of my favorite foreign films:
anything by Pedro Almodovar
The Keys to the House
The Horsemen on the Roof
Queen Margot
The Last Days of Sophie Scholl
Rosenstrasse
A Very Long Engagement
Amelie
The Last Day
The Crime of Padre Amaro




"Can you, for a moment, imagine how depressing it is to teach one thousand years of masculine ineptitude? Why do you think there are so few women historians? I'll tell you why. Because history is not such a frolic for women as it is for men... History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. History is women following behind with a bucket and a mop." - Alan Bennett, "The History Boys"

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:30 AM

MACBAKER


I think it depends on the product.

Old John Wo movies like "Hard Boiled" and "The Killer", and Besson movies like "La Femme Nikita", are so badly dubbed, I prefer the subtitled versions.

Most Anime is dubbed by one group of voice actors, and they do a much better job. With Anime, I prefer the dubbed versions. Trying to read thesubtitles while keeping up with all of the action in these films can be problematic.

Lets also not forget the horrible dub work done on the original release of "Mad Max", to make it seem more "American". Like we wouldn't notice the right hand drive cars!!! LOL! The Aussie version is much better.

I'd given some thought to movin' off the edge -- not an ideal location -- thinkin' a place in the middle.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 10:03 AM

EMBERS


I always prefer subtitles...
I want to hear the actors' voices, and emotions...
the people who do dubbing are always terrible.

New Firefly fans should check this out: http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=15816

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 1:26 PM

LEOPARDFLAN


I've only had two experiences with this kind of thing: Pan's Labyrinth (subtitled), which I couldn't finish because of time issues, and District B-13 (dubbed). I'd have to say that I like them both the way they are- B-13 because there was a lot of action, and Pan's Labyrinth because I'm studying Spanish, and it helped my listening skills, listening to Spanish spoken with different people.

In general, I'd have to say sub-titles are preferable, because I read really fast, and I'm used to having subtitles on movies (because my parent's are odd like that), but for action movies, dubbing is perfect.

#~%~~*~~~&~~~*~~%~#\/#~%~~*~~~&~~~*~~%~#

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:06 PM

AVENGINGWATCHER


Personally I enjoy subtitles. Like some other people on the thread I read extraordinarily fast, to the point that I often forget I am reading subtitles. Someone had mentioned Brotherhood of the Wolf. I love that movie but would prefer to see it with subtitles, actually I haven't even checked to see if it has the option. Nightwatch was a fantastic movie, for those that have Netflix there is an instant viewing of both Nightwatch and Daywatch available.
Dubbing for me tends to distract from the visual elements, as often I can understand what is going on by the visuals and the face, but I am also highly patterns and systems oriented, so I can often pick up words that are repeated as the movie goes on. So I say watch what works for you, after all this is all about enjoyment right?

When there are no heroes where will we turn?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:39 PM

TWILIGHTSEEKER


On the whole I prefer subtitles...partially because so much dubbing is poorly done and also because I too like to hear the speakers inflexions and vocal nuances...having said that I agree that you can lose other things watching the sub titles.

I tend to watch films in languages other than english at least twice to try and get it all. I think I have watched Pan's Labrynth at least three times. If you have not seen this one it give it a try. Del Toro is amazing.

If you want to really do the visaul film..get one with neither dubbing nor subtitles and try to just feel the film.

twi

twilight seeker

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 3:18 PM

ALLIETHORN7


I really do prefer subs. Simply because, well, dubs usually do suck something fierce. Now, I regulary watch anime, and, I have to say, comparing dubs and subs, hearing the sounds in English makes me cringe. In English, ANYTHING that is even remotely serious is lost under layers of bad acting and words that aren't supposed to be there. Also, for a lot of it, I get the feeling that the voice actors don't enjoy their job. Seiyuu, however, take their jobs like what they are- a high pillar (In Japan).
I'd rather get the feeling from the origional, then suffer through my ears being raped. Yeah, some dubs are good. Most ain't- in my experience.

-Danny

Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now controls the past
Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now?

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Thursday, March 13, 2008 5:41 PM

BORIS


subtitles rock...particularly for those of us with the attention span of a goldfish or who like to focus on details other than what's being said(speed reading subtiltles gives you a bigger window of time to look at other details), I use subtitles for all Dvd's including the English ones. also I love the dvd's that have a feature where you can watch and listen to the movie, and have subtitles of the commentary at the same time. I hate dubbing on international films, for the same reason as Lwaves...I tend to waste alot of time being irked about the mismatch of sounds and mouth movements.Ruins the movie.

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