Topic: Do you prefer films in their native language?

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I wouldn't call myself a connoisseur for foreign films, but whenever I have the opportunity to watch a foreign film - usually on BBC4 or Film 4 (for us Brits), I'd much rather watch it in their native languages.

Case in point, Film 4 (UK) is currently (as I type this very message) showing "The Cat Returns" - a Studio Ghibli film and normally I'm a bit partial to watching a finely made animated film (Western or Eastern). Unfortunately I find the Western accents off putting - it's set in Japan for a start. I have turned it off.

On the other side of the coin, "Kung Fu Hustle" - A Chinese film as some may know anyway has a Cantonese and and English soundtrack (you can choose between the two on the DVD) yet the alternate to the original Cantonese soundtrack is a Chinese-English (and I don't mean a localised Chinese-American etc.) one, which is equally odd.
Fortunately for me, when it was shown on TV they had the Cantonese soundtrack. (Conversely, a I remember a Hong Kong film being shown on British TV with western accents and they gave a waiter character a French accent.)

Then you've got your films like "Kikujiro*" (I saw it on BBC4), which are probably never going to get a Western dub.

Obviously there are people who'd say they'd rather concentrate on the performances of the actors than read subtitles (personally I don't have a problem), and also, jokes and cultural nuances are lost on Western ears anyway and converting it into something us Westerners are more likely to understand is obviously better for the overall enjoyment of a film.

What do you think? Have you had the opportunity to watch films in both a native and your own language?


I prefer the original versions. While i don't mind English dubbed anime, other than that I want it in their original languages. Many of my favorite chilhood cartoons have been dubbed in Dutch now, instead of subtitles, which totally ruins it.

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I would always watch them in their native language with subs. And, 'cause I don't pirate I have to watch the Pokemon and Kirby animes in their English dubs of torture. I mean seriously, they are rice balls, not donuts.

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I really don't like dubbed movies whether it be animated or live-action, it can sometimes add an element of comedy which shouldn't be there (Crouching Tiger as a main-stream example). I prefer subtitles and have got very good at taking in the whole screen without missing any of the text, or the action. But then I watch a lot of foreign movies so have had plenty of practice.



Machu wrote:

I really don't like dubbed movies whether it be animated or live-action, it can sometimes add an element of comedy which shouldn't be there (Crouching Tiger as a main-stream example).

Speaking of which, that Ghibli film about a witch and a cat ("Kiki's Delivery Service"?) had a female VA for the cat and the western dub had Phil Hartman - two very different performances obviously, and one which would appeal more to their respective audience (unless you count obsessive purists like myself).

Similarly, Meowth in the Pokémon animated programmes was an entirely different personality across both language barriers.


Only children's movies and TV programs are dubbed in Finnish/Swedish here, but I can see your point when it comes to anime... whether to view it using English subtitles or English dub. Personally, I prefer the Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles since I like the way Japanese sounds more than English does, even if I don't understand what they're saying. Subtitles are also practically the only way foreign TV programs are shown here, with children's shows being the notable exception. Another plus with the subtitles is that they haven't been forced to an approximate lip synch with the actors, giving more options to convey the line more accurately.

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If they get the dub right I do not mind. But I really hate the old Kung Fu movies that are dubbed with really corny voiceovers. My biggest problem in the anime part is they always choose annoying and whiny voices for a lot of the characters. But I usually watch dub because if I wanted to read I would read a book and if its on American Tv like Gundam a show I have been watching for 10 years I really do not have a choice. I actually preferred the 2nd Ghost in the Shell movie in Japanese with subs though.

Hey this if off topic but I live in the States and there was a show from the UK I found funny. Do they still make the show My Hero ? I used to watch it every weekend when I came home from work on Sunday a few years back.



@apocalypse217: Is that the one with Dougal from Father Ted, and he plays a super hero struggling to balance that responsibility with his normal life, resulting in much hilarity?

If so, I don't think it lasted too long, but couldn't say for sure.



apocalypse217 wrote:

Hey this if off topic but I live in the States and there was a show from the UK I found funny. Do they still make the show My Hero ? I used to watch it every weekend when I came home from work on Sunday a few years back.

MY HERO???? Seriously....hmmm. No glad to say they don't make that anymore.If you wanna watch some truly funny english comedy try : I'm Alan Partridge, Operation Good Guy's and Father Ted (with the guy from my hero,when he was still funny) for starters.

On Topic - I have to watch foreign films with their original soundtracks with English subs.They change far too much of the script when they dub it and in a lot of cases with Anime they choose really terrible actors to do the dubs which kinda ruins the films for me.I don't get the fact that some people cant watch and read subs but that's probably because I've always done it

What's this bit for again?


Today I have been watching Kung Fu Hustle in the descriptive English (probably for viewers with poor vision and it was hilarious in an odd sort of way. The narrator voiced the (males) characters, who had English regional accents (Sing had a dodgy american accent) the landlady had a northern (corrie) accent and Brother Sum (the main villain) sounded like a tougher Jonathan Ross. And sometimes the narrator would add a few flourishes and exaggerations which sounded a bit out of place. Still fun nonetheless!

I still prefer the original soundtrack...


Usually, in the original language, especially for Japanese films and Anime but there the exceptions every now and then.

Edited on by Terra



Always subs over dubs, but I have to recommend an American import DVD that is a great example of both a badly dubbed soundtrack and crappy 4:3 framing of a widescreen film:

Blazing Ninja

You can get it dirt cheap from and it is hilarious. It was a cult favourite in my dorm in university. The film is supposed to be set in Japanese-occupied China during WWII, yet everyone is walking around 70s blazers with wide collars. There's also bits of what looks like some totally different kung fu film edited into it which seem to be classic Shao-Lin fighting monks stuff. The voices are riotous and there are a couple of dialogue scenes where the video frame is in the middle of the picture so all you're looking at is a table and two pairs of hands! Absolutely brilliant stuff, don't miss it!

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I watch everything in English. (I'm german) It's just better and especially because I watch mostly comedic stuff and translating jokes is never good they'll almost always lose their funniness... And japanese stuff I also watch on Japanese with English subtitles. Just because I like English more than German

Probably getting a Vita with LBP soon...


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