Google+ Isma's Meditation Chamber - Doodles by IAMO: November 2005

Monday, November 28, 2005

Watching the Goblet of Fire

Following up on my last blog entry related to films dubbed in Spanish, I wanted to talk about the experience I had last week when I went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at a local movie theatre in Tijuana.

First of all, I'm a fan, so I had been waiting for this movie for some time now. I was trying to read the whole book before I saw the movie, but I just didn't have the time and I only got to "The Yule Ball." I have to say, the movie is amazing, I loved everything about it, and I can't wait for the next one.

The movie was great, but I had a horrible experience at the movie theatre. You see, there is a ridiculous trend going on in Mexico with more and more movies being shown in theatres only in their Spanish dub version instead of the subtitled version. This is really annoying because I prefer to see this kind of movies in English. Where I live, the best and closest option to see a movie is Cinemastar, but it's not a big movie theater chain in México, and lately, some of this year's most popular movies (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride, among others) have only been shown dubbed in Spanish. For those who don't know, when a Spanish dub is not made correctly, it can suck really, really hard. Well, Goblet of Fire was only shown dubbed in Spanish in my favorite theatre, so I had to look else.

I only had 2 other options: Cinepolis (which I avoid due to really bad customer service) (just my opinion here), and Cinemark. Both are big chains in Mexico and both where showing Goblet of Fire in your choice of subtitled or dubbed versions. Well, I picked Cinemark, and I really regret it. The movie and the soundtrack where scratched, throughout the whole movie! You could see 2 vertical stripes and a screechy sound whenever the score was played. I still can't believe that the movie was in such bad condition on opening day.

I wrote to the managers of both Cinemastar and Cinemark. I didn't get an answer from Cinemark, but the manager at Cinemastar kindly replied to my message and said that he agrees that the movie-going public should always have the choice of both dubbed and subtitled versions, but that, unfortunately, they depend on what the distributors in Mexico City send them. What this means is that, in Mexico, we live in a stupid centralized system. Think of Coruscant as the Capital and the rest of the country as the Outer Rim Territories. But, what the distributors don't understand is that whatever they like to see in Mexico City (or if they prefer dubbed versions) doesn't necessarily apply to the rest of the country, much less a border town like Tijuana.

So, I'm running out of choices to go to the movies in my town. I guess I'll just go to San Diego to watch my next must-see movie in a digital projection theatre.

In summary: Harry Potter Year 4. Great movie. Bad movie theatre experience.


Monday, November 14, 2005

"¡Tú eras el elegido!"

There is a sort of controversy in Mexico with pictures being shown in movie theatres dubbed in Spanish or with Spanish subtitles. This Dub vs. Sub debate has been going on for ages, but it has become more evident lately because more and more movies, specially the family-oriented ones, are shown dubbed in Spanish, and sometimes the subtitled version is not made available. A lot of peophe really hate the dubbed versions, they want to hear the real voices in English and prefer to read the subtitles. But also, a lot of people prefer the dubbed versions because, well, they don't know English, or, like in so many other countries, they don't know how (or don't like) to read. Personally, I have no use for either one of them, but only because I know English. So, when I go to the movies, I skip the dubbed versions (because sometimes they are not made properly) and I ignore the subtitles.

Some countries don't have a choice. I don't know if it's entirely true but, I have heard that movie theatres in Spain are required to show all international films dubbed in Spanish ONLY. Or that subtitled versions are not very accessible. I think that's stupid.

My position in this debate is neutral. I don't think that one version is more important than the other one in the context of the Mexican movie-going public. The important thing is that we have a choice. Both versions should always be available to public. Much like the audio options in a DVD.

Which brings me to the Spanish dub in the Revenge of the Sith DVD. Though I prefer the English version, I have made it somewhat of a tradition to watch the Star Wars movies dubbed in Spanish with my Dad, because that's the way he prefers it and because non of the Region 1 Star Wars DVDs have Spanish subtitles. Also, my sister has done some voice over work recently, so I have learned to appreciate the craft and talent of voice actors.

Yesterday, I got together with my family and watched Episode III dubbed in Spanish. Not to be confused with the awful (so I'm told) Spanish dub from Spain, fortunately, this was the same Spanish dub that was released in theatres in Mexico and Latin America, and I have to say, It was not that bad. Some dialog is slightly changed to match the screen actor's lip movement, but, other that, most of the voice acting was convincing. Mario Filio is okay as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cristina Hernández is great as Padmé Amidala. Jesús Colin nails it as Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, he sounds almost like Ian McDiarmid. Irwin Daayan is also very good as Anakin Skywalker, although he sounds a bit older for the part.

The cool part about this voice over work is that they paid attention to continuity and used the same cast for Episode I and II, and also the Clone Wars micro-series for Cartoon Network, as you can see here and here. Also, some of the same voice actors worked in the Spanish dub for Episodes IV, V, and VI, so, you can hear Arturo Mercado as Yoda and Carlos del Campo as C-3PO throughout the whole Star Wars Saga.

Now, since they are not shown in the DVD credits, and so that they don't remain as unsung heroes, here is the entire cast list of voice actors for Star Wars Episodio III: La venganza de los Sith:

Anakin Skywalker: Irwin Daayan
Padme: Cristina Hernández
Obi Wan Kenobi: Mario Filio
Canciller Palpatine: Jesús Colin
Yoda: Arturo Mercado
C-3PO: Carlos del Campo
Mace Windu: Víctor Hugo Aguilar
Conde Dooku: José Lavat
Bail Organa: Gerardo Reyero
Darth Vader: Federico Romano
Clones: Miguel Angel Ghigliazza
Nute: Paco Mauri
Ki Adi Mundi: Carlos Aguila
Eeth Koth: José Luis Orozco
Saesee Tiin: Gerardo Vázquez
Kit Fisto: Ismael Castro
Tion Medon: Alberto de la Plata
Odd Ball: Rolando de Castro
Mas Ameda: Mario Arvizu
Droid médico: Humberto Solórzano
Piloto de Fireship: Raúl Anaya
Super battle droids: Oscar Flores
Super battle droid 3: Javier Rivero
Droid de batalla: Igor Cruz
Capitan en Cruiser: Herman López
Capitan Antilles: Andrés García
Genaral Grievous: Eduardo Giaccardi
Droid técnico: Carlos Hernández
Typho: Ricardo Brust
Niño Jedi: Andoni Sánchez
Piloto en Cruiser: José Luis Mora