Subtitles versus Dubbing, one of the most furious debates between the movie and TV show enthusiasts today. And this truly is an extremely important topic, for the form in which you watch can make a huge difference in the experience and overall enjoyment!
I don't have the anime fever, which seems to have gripped the world. Although I do enjoy seeing Death Note which I've begun seeing and is pretty interesting, but I do not enjoy anime as much (I could go on about it, but I guess that's for another time). However I've been gripped by the foreign language films I've seen over the past few months. Luckily I'm from India, so that reduces one language from the list of those I need to worry about.
Now before I give my side, you can check out a scene from Death Note, which gives the subbed as well as the dubbed version, although it's not great because it doesn't show much of the face, which shall form a major part of my argument, but still do check it out.
Yes, for me, subbed it is.
Although in the case of anime, it doesn't matter much for me. There is no actor in flesh and blood on the screen, so it shouldn't make much of a difference, that's for me. However, I've had the terrifying experience of having seen English movies dubbed and that left me scarred for life (I do not exaggerate, it was brutal!). So I can only imagine that it'd be painful for the Japanese to see their shows in that form. Only because of this, I see anime in Japanese, with English subtitles.Now, coming to the real point, which for many doesn't seem to matter as much as the anime.
Yes, Live-Action films. Now, just as an example "Fast and the Furious 7", a franchise I was never too fond of, but in India, it grossed over 20 Million US$! Just in one country.
Now I know these figures are almost nothing compared to the worldwide gross, of about 350 Million US$. But it makes a point, audiences worldwide, many who don't even understand English are going to see Hollywood movies, and adding to these numbers, just because of one tactic: Dubbing.
Effects on the Acting
I've seen many foreign language films, (in my case, it'll always refer to non-English, non-Hindi) ranging from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros, to the Palme d'Or winning "Blue is The Warmest Color". "Baran" and "The Song of Sparrows" two gems from Iran. Now one of the foremost factors, for many, the most important, in judging a film, is the acting. And one of the most important things in a good actor, is dialogue delivery. Now with dubbing you're just cutting a major chunk of the beauty of the film!
The actor is the one who understands the character much, much more than the voice artiste. So it's only fair, that the emotions, the raw emotions in the voice are of the original actor.
And honestly, doesn't it feel super-creepy, that someone's mouth is moving in one way and words they utter are completely different? And if the timing is wrong, then your life will be hell
The Beauty of Language
Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavour, laziness will not do.
It's not very sad, it's morose.
I believe these lines, by the genius, Robin Williams epic-ly embody, what I wish to say.
My final argument, and the reason I feel the most important, the beauty of the language. Now, English is a very, very adaptive language. And that is perhaps why it's among the most widely spoken language. For many it's the first language even though it isn't the mother tongue and for many others, it's a second language. And an established "superstition" which is, to an extent, true is that English is needed to succeed.
I recently saw the movie, "Tanu Weds Manu Returns", it was a great movie, but it made me realize something that I hadn't seen in a long, long time. The beauty of language. However hard we try, there are somethings that are best expressed in the language they were meant to. The peculiar words in the dialects. The different beautiful forms of poetry from the native country.
I admit, even if subtitles are given, it's not like we will enjoy all these things. But what if, perhaps something sticks to our mind. Another important aspect, is that although in most cases the writer won't object to any of this. But do you not feel that it's grossly disrespecting to him, that someone has ruthlessly struck off his work and implanted something else on top of it?
This is something I believe can be attributed more to books, than movies, but in books, you don't have any choice do you? But maybe, if you know any language other than the "Language of the World", it's best to read original works, in that language, even if it means sitting with a dictionary all the time. Do it. And I promise, you'll be rewarded.
Now those in support of dubbing will argue, is the purpose of the movie sitting and reading? It's not a book!
Well, when the movie has no purpose left in it, enjoy the points you get for not reading.
Note: Hope you guys enjoyed reading! Do comment with your views. Also at many times the article might have seemed anti-English, or a personal attack, but these are just my views. Hope to see some great debate in the comments!