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HTF REVIEW: Whisper Of The Heart - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!



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#1 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 06 2006 - 08:36 AM

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Whisper of the Heart

2-disc R1 Edition

Studio:STUDIO GHIBLI (released through Disney)
Year:1995
RunTime:111 minutes
Rating:G
Aspect Ratio:16x9 encoded 1.85:1
Audio:5.1 DD Original Japanese, 5.1 DD English
SpecialFeatures:Behind the microphone feature, Trailers and TV spots, Full-length Storyboard
ReleaseDate:March 7, 2006






*** Note: I received *three* GHIBLI films on Friday to be reviewed for Tuesday: Whisper of the Heart, My Neighbor Totoro, and the masterpiece Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m trying to get them all reviewed ASAP so please be forgiving…it’s been a full weekend! ***



Feature...




Whisper of the heart doesn’t fit the storyline of the typical Studio GHIBLI film. Having just written that, I’m amused that my mind would come up with the phrase "typical Studio GHIBLI film" which seems somewhat paradoxical. By “typical” I mean the very atypical way in which (most) GHIBLI films depart from reality, and integrate strange other-worldly, pseudo-spiritual surrealism dissolving human characters into mystical storylines. If that’s what you’ve come to expect from GHIBLI films, lay your expectations aside for this charming addition to your Japanimation collection.

Whisper of the Heart keeps firmly rooted in “the real world”. While that's in no way a criticism of the film, not knowing this ahead of time might lessen your enjoyment if you watch the entire movie “waiting” for the film to suddenly take a turn through a fantasy porthole just around the next corner. The closest that the film comes is a brief dream-sequence that looks unmistakably GHIBLI. However, it’s precisely this real-world twist of Whisper that makes it so compelling. I found myself engrossed in the story, emotionally invested in the convincing relationships of friendship and family among the characters. Whisper is a drama...the story surrounding the coming-of-age of a young teen Japanese girl, and while the film may be entertaining to middle-aged children by virtue of “being a cartoon”, the story, message, and striking visuals speak to me as a film predestined for a more adult audience to enjoy.

Steve Y from HTF writes:

Quote:
I saw Whisper of the Heart for the first time about three years ago and was blown away. It helped that I had no idea where the story was going to go next. Like Howl's Moving Castle, it works best when you try to disengage any preconceived notions about what certain stories are "supposed" to do... it's a very naturalistic tale which moves in odd, unexpected directions, much like "real life".

The emotional success of Whisper of the Heart is in large-part due to the outstanding voice-actors which I was privileged to enjoy while listening to the English audio soundtrack of this marvelous film. Does that bother you? I’m sure that purists experience of bit of stomach curdling at the sound of a statement like that. But leaving my flame-suit courageously aside, allow me to share an alternate point of view. One that isn’t heretical, but is actually grounded in a principle of serving the artistic integrity of the film…

Original Language?

While one language may legitimately constitute the “original” spoken language of the first-release region for a particular film, there are some differences between animated and live-action films that make the strict adherence to listening to only the “original” language track a bit of a red-herring with animated features. How can I say that? Well…for a few real reasons:
    [*]Most animated films are actually crafted with multiple language options in mind, and when this is the case it’s not accurate to describe the alternate language options as an afterthought or even as an artistic compromise. Quite often great care is taken to select voice-actors for each language option that appropriately represent the intentions of the director to their respective region audiences.
    [*]Animation has visuals that can be more easily married to multiple spoken dialogue options than live-action. Let’s all be honest and say that the typical Japanimation style of lip-movement makes this dialogue shuffle all the more easy.
    [*]A subtitle-option for non-native speakers necessitates its own set of compromises (that usually get ignored), one of which is that in order to follow the film’s story the viewer is forced to focus on the subtitle text which keeps him or her from looking at the animated visuals which the artist intended to have your focus. In a very real sense, watching the movie without having to spend 50% of your time reading text is consistent with the director’s intentions.
    [*]A large part of the emotion of an animated film (like any film) is communicated through the voice acting. And while this would seem to support an argument for listening to the original language track, this overlooks the disparity of cultural expression between the original dialogue and the viewer’s native tongue. It can be argued that English voice-acting is better able to communicate the intended emotional impact to English-speaking viewers than a Japanese language track, which for all its originality, communicates its emotional meaning through a context unknown to the English-speaking listener.

I support Disney’s decision to provide both optional English and the original Japanese language presentation with Whisper of the Heart for Region 1 audiences. I personally prefer to watch this DVD listening to the English language as I find it gives me a better opportunity to drink in the animated visuals and experience a more emotional connection with the story than I would wrestling with subtitles that distract me from the hand-drawn imagery that the director wanted me to see. I respect any film purist’s (or Japanese speaking viewer’s) preference to watch the film with its original Japanese audio presentation. Feel free to discuss, just be respectful to all sides.




Subtitle Update (March 21):


There are actually THREE English-subtitle options for Whisper(and the other 2 GHIBLI films released along with it:
    [*]English Closed Captioning...which includes sound-effects and is more-or-less a translation of the Enlgish audio soundtrack (ie, a word-for-word translation of the the English soundtrack option, not the original Japanese).
    [*]True English Subtitles. This is more literally a translation of the Japanese language and in many cases differs more noticably from the "English Audio" soundtrack option. Fans and purists should use this option when listening to the original Japanese language to get the most authentic experience.
    [*]English captions for written signage. This is an unusual option...subtitles only appear sporatically when something in the scene with Japanese wording might have been readable to Japanese audiences (like signs or letters)...and is translated with English subtitles. They only appear a handful of times. Curiously, these subtitles default to "on" and you'll have to cycle through the subtitle menu to shut them off if they become annoying.





Picture...


It’s just gorgeous. I’ve yet to drop Howl’s Moving Castle in the DVD drawer, but so far Whisper is the best looking GHIBLI-film on DVD to-date. It’s detailed, clear, devoid of any digital artifacts like some of the “shimmer” I saw on Nausica (which I presume was DNR) and produces an utterly film-like presentation on my 106” diagonal screen. I found myself captivated by the image…seduced in that “ahhh” way that well filmed/projected animation can do. I kept shaking my head amazed that I was watching a projected DVD. It really looked, and more importantly felt like film.

Backgrounds are so detailed and naturally painted on the screen that (like with Bambi) you can just stare into the scenery and never get bored. Whisper is a film that cries out to be projected on a wide-angle system. So many scenes take real advantage of the “scale” of a wide-angle viewing set-up. In addition to just loading each scene with a wealth of visual information that really “shines” on a big screen, many scenes depend on subtle movements and perspective changes in the scenery to communicate their presence, and these attributes are lost when viewed greater than 2 screen-widths away: The graceful movement of clouds against the sky, the impact of city-scape vistas, the movement of power lines outside the train-car window. Visually, Whisper is all about detail, scenery, and scale. Do this film justice and see it big.

Colors are distinctively warm in the GHIBLI sort of way…with flesh-tones tending to red though not “defectively” so. Contrast and black level are perfect. And unlike most other GHIBLI DVDs in my collection, the image is breathtakingly clean and bears no digital signature of any kind…at least nothing that intruded to distract me at my 1.6 screen-width viewing distance. Edge enhancement is not obvious (unlike My Neighbor Totoro). This may sound extreme, but several times while watching I found myself thinking “wow…that picture reminds me of a Lowry-restored title like Cinderella or Lady and the Tramp”. That’s how clean and clear the image comes across.

Any room for improvement?

Sure: 1080P.

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And I might have seen the slightest bit of EE in a few scenes if I looked hard, but it never intruded and the image still maintained a natural film-like “grace” on the big-screen without any harsh electronic signature.



p.s. the image is appropriately letterboxed inside the 16x9 frame to preserve the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Many viewers may not see the (small) letterboxing bars due to overscan in their system. Thankfully, the image utilizes the full 720 horizontal width of R1 DVD (some previous DVDs like Spirited Away wasted resolution by windowboxing the image on all four sides).



Picture Quality: 4.75 / 5

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Rating Rationale...


Rating Key:

SCORE Description
1-2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch even on a 32” 4x3 480I TV. Think Outland or Jean De Flourette (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl, PAL-NTSC conversion artifacts etc.)-- truly horrid.
2-3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Kill Bill Vol 1.
3-4 Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos.
4-5 A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements limited only by DVD’s 720 x 480 resolution. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW" and ask you if they are watching HD. Think The Empire Strikes Back, the Fifth Element Superbit or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition.




Viewing Equipment:
Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.







Sound...




Please see my comments in the “feature” section regarding thoughts about subtitles versus translated Japanimation if you skipped the movie-review.

Both the original Japanese and newer English 5.1 mix are included here. To the best of my ability they both sound like 5.1 mixes with very active front L/C/R channels with virtually silent L/R rear channels. For all intents and purposes this is a “3.0 DD” mix we’re talking about. However, even with the lack of surround the audio sounds fantastic. The Japanese mix sounds a bit “thin” and a tad bright but the (newer) English mix sounds simply beautiful…and appears to make use of the same original session recordings for Music and effects with only the voices being newly dubbed. I suspect that the mixing engineers were able to preserve better fidelity when mixing/mastering the new English mix but chose to use the existing “off the shelf” Japanese mix which was an appropriate decision IMO.

The English mix sounds full-bodied and robust. Orchestral recording has a comfortable L/R spread and bass, while not room-shakingly violent, provides a solid bottom-end to the acoustic scape. And best of all, the mix makes wonderful and appropriate use of directional dialogue…one that reminds me of “the old days” of vocal mixing before all the center-happy engineers took over the home-video mixing landscape (the dialogue mix on the new Bambi sequel DVD used lots of directional dialogue as well…is this a sign of new things to come?). Refreshing. Really the only thing that the (original) mix could have done better would have been to take advantage of the rear channels. While the lack of surround wasn’t really “missed”, I think that had the original mixing engineers chosen to, it could have enhanced the audio presentation even more. HOWEVER, I should add that decision to preserve the same balance and artistic intent of the original Japanese in the new English soundtrack presentation was the right one. Clearly, the new 5.1 audio could have made a much more modern use of the rear channels since the 5.1 English mix was just recently done for this DVD. However, the decision to preserve the original 3.0 balance and merely present that same soundtrack with the best fidelity possible while only substituting English dialogue for the Japanese vocals was a good one…it upholds the integrity of the original Japanese mix while providing English-speaking audiences a option to forgo subtitles without taking additional liberties by altering the mix in any way other than the spoken dialogue.

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Sound Quality: 4 / 5

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Listening Equipment:
B&K AVR 212 processor/receiver driving my Onix-Rocket Loudspeaker system.



[b]Special Features...



The special features on these three new GHIBLI DVDs are very similar, and in each case the 2nd disc is utilized to present the entire film in raw storyboard form (with the feature-production soundtrack and subtitle options). While not as loaded as the typical stops-pulled-out-2-disc-plantinum releases, the bonus material is more than I would have hoped for and I think most fans will be content.


    [*]Posted Image[b]Behind the MicrophoneEach new GHIBLI DVD has this, and here we visit the actors responsible for the English-voice acting. This is really a nice feature, especially given that this “voice acting” is such a strong component of what makes these new R1 DVDs so worth-while. The ability for these actors to convey emotion and pull the viewer into the experience is key to enjoying the film for anyone who chooses to view with the accompanying English soundtrack.
    [*][b]Trailers and suchYou get a nice handful of original Japanese trailers for the film as well as TV promotional spots etc. All are subtitled with defeatable English subtitles and the trailers play-through one after the other in one continuous stream. You can skip back and forth from trailer to trailer using your chapter-next/back remote buttons. All are 4x3 encoded and just reek of crappy NTSC analog video artifacts. What did you expect?

    [*][b]Feature-length StoryboardOn disc two you can view the entire movie in concept-storyboard form. The image is slightly windowboxed on all four sides and you have optional English subtitles and a choice between the same English or Japanese audio options available to you on the feature-presentation on Disc 1. Fans may enjoy though for me personally this is overkill, but I’m not going to compain!

    [/list]

    [b]All Together...




    Whisper of the Heart really surprised me. I didn’t know what to expect, but I devoted 111 minutes of my afternoon and was well rewarded. It departs from the usual “fantasy” GHIBLI style and instead offers you a real-world-based story about a teenage girl and her sense of self discovery in and among her family, friendship, and romantic relationship journeys. Young children might start to squirm since there is no cute animal side-kick to keep them amused, but any adolescent, teen, or adult viewer will find plenty here to make their viewing a pleasure. I highly recommend this touching and beautifully animated story to any animation or GHIBLI-film enthusiast. The DVD presentation is first-rate, with an outstanding video presentation that will satisfy projection and other wide-angle viewers, and faithfully preserved Japanese audio mix and a newly recorded English mix that honors the balance and recording style of the Japanese original. Bonus features are light, but interesting, and even *without* a single bonus item this disc would easily earn my high recommendation.


    Highly Recommended









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#2 of 31 OFFLINE   Brendon

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Posted March 06 2006 - 09:33 AM

David,

Great review, as ever. I'm tempted to pick up the R1 disc for the 5.1DD Japanese track. My current Region 3 IVL version of the film only has a 2.0 DD Japanese track (from what I remember, Whisper of the Heart was the first Ghibli production with a 5.1 soundtrack.)

If you've not seen it already, may I recommend Ghibli's Only Yesterday ? Completely grounded in reality, it forsakes even the brief fantasy sequence that Whisper allows itself. The screenplay for Only Yesterday could be taken and filmed entirely as live action as a character study - Ghibli has simply provided the most realistic and lush animation instead of live actors. In every other respect it is a compelling and thoughtful character drama. Quite exquisite!

Only Yesterday IMDB link

Looking forward on your Totoro review too; my favourite SG/Miyazaki film of all, and serious contender for both my wife & I's favourite film of all time.

#3 of 31 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted March 06 2006 - 09:36 AM

Nice review....Except that you never talked about what the film was actually ABOUT. Posted Image

The story is basically about being a teenager, and trying to figure out what comes next in life. It is also about young love, and the questions that get asked about it.

Shizuku, nearing the time of her HS entrance exams, becomes interested in a boy who has checked out the same books she has been reading over the summer. Through her search, she finds love and questions her future path, under the expectations of her family. Oh, and the song "Country Roads" is a signifigant presence in this movie.

As DaVid says, there isn't much fantastic content in the film, but it is full of interesting characters. Just Shizuku's family alone it worth the price of admission.

Also, for those who have seen "The Cat Returns" will find some familiar characters. One could say "The Cat Returns" is out of the fertile imagination of Shizuku.

I very much recommend the film.

Jason

#4 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 06 2006 - 09:38 AM

Great recommendation for a new film...I'm certain given how much I enjoyed Whisper that "Only Yesterday" would belong in my collection.

Totoro review coming up ASAP! Go ahead and pre-order if there are any doubts if you can get a discount before street date...



Hey Jason,

Quote:
Nice review....Except that you never talked about what the film was actually ABOUT

That's on-purpose. Most other reviews basically do a plot exposition. To me, that lessens the impact of the film as I like to be surprised when I watch a movie and not have an idea of how the story is supposed to unfold. Also, I know that readers can get a story synopsis via other channels...so what I really want to focus on in my "movie" review section are the issues that underly the story...the deeper aspects of themes and/or qualities in the production that would draw me as a viewer to a particular film.

In any case...thanks for giving a great summary of the story to readers who might have been wondering!

Posted Image

-dave
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#5 of 31 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted March 06 2006 - 09:40 AM

Quote:
If you've not seen it already, may I recommend Ghibli's Only Yesterday?


The only problem with that is, he's going to have to import it, unless TCM decides to show it again in the future. That was the only film they showed that did not have an english dub, which tells me that it isn't anywhere close to being released. Also, since most of the Ghibli stuff is out now, we may need to wait until "Tales From Earthsea" comes out on DVD in a couple of years.

It still surprises me that "My Neighbors The Yamatas" got a release before "Only Yesterday"...

Jason

#6 of 31 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted March 06 2006 - 05:02 PM

great review as usual david.

someone needs to update the main forum page to add these latest reviews of the ghibli movies.
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#7 of 31 OFFLINE   Brendon

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Posted March 06 2006 - 08:29 PM

Quote:
The only problem with that is, he's going to have to import it, unless TCM decides to show it again in the future. That was the only film they showed that did not have an english dub, which tells me that it isn't anywhere close to being released.


Jason,

Oops! Gomen nasai! Yes indeed...Only Yesterday has only been released region 2 Japan and region 3 (Hong Kong & Taiwan). I've also presumed my own preference of Japanese audio/English subs as well, as you rightly point out that there is no English dub to date. If people have multi-region playback capabilities, it's well worth importing.

It is curious that Yamadas has been put out before many of the other Ghibli films, as I always felt that it was VERY Japanese. So many Japanese social conventions are involved in the film but never overtly explained, that I suspected Yamadas wouldn't play well to general audiences.

Still, the North American and European markets got The Cat Returns before Whisper, so what do I know!

Lastly, another Japanese only Ghibli release (R2 Japan); arigatou Lasseter-san. This is a Ghibli produced documentary covering John Lasseter's promotional activities in North American for the US release of Spirited Away. Outside of the darkest corners of Pixars DVD releases, this is John Lasseter talking candidly and in depth with Hayao Miyazaki about animation and film. Fascinating stuff!

I'll stop hijacking David's thread now and go and order myself the R1 Whisper.

#8 of 31 OFFLINE   RafaelB

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Posted March 07 2006 - 01:46 AM

Whisper is one of the *Best* Ghibli films IMO. I'm so glad it's received DaViD's highly recommended rating. Posted Image

While Totoro & Spirited Away hold a place as my favorites this one is easily lumped right in there at the top.

This was one of the titles I imported from Japan (along with Porco Rosso, Cat Returns & Totoro) years ago, thinking that it was one of the least 'translatable' to US audiences- in terms that it's not "fantiastical" and/or "full of whimsy"- and now they've all been released here. My wallet aches... :b

BTW, I still thankfully have Only Yesterday from the TCM airing. The lack of a dub really signified that it's not coming out in R1 yet, so I'm glad I kept it on the DVR.

Rafael.

#9 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 07 2006 - 01:56 AM

Rafael,

thanks for sharing!

Shameless invite: I'd love to come over and enjoy Only Yesterday on your DVR box. Just say when!

And naturally the invitation to compare/contrast your R2 dvds with these new R1 releases is open...that would be a GREAT asset to the reviews and my OPPO player is region-free.

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#10 of 31 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted March 07 2006 - 03:31 AM

Quote:
Still, the North American and European markets got The Cat Returns before Whisper, so what do I know!


Well, Cat is the newer film, so it isn't THAT surprising. Course, I don't think that was when "The Cat Returns" was originally going to be released, since I remember that Totoro was originally penciled in for the last wave.

In any case, it doesn't really matter that it was released before Whisper, because the connection isn't that strong between the films.

Jason

#11 of 31 OFFLINE   Brendon

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Posted March 07 2006 - 03:42 AM

Quote:
In any case, it doesn't really matter that it was released before Whisper, because the connection isn't that strong between the films.

True; I guess I just naturally think of TCR as being a sequel, however tenuous, to WotH.

David/Rafael,

If you go through with David's "shameless request", could you post your comparison of the different region discs in on of the Ghibli review threads ?

I'd also love to read David's take on Only Yesterday too; it'll give me something to tide me over until the Little Mermaid: Platinum review in October!

Enjoy!

Brendon

#12 of 31 OFFLINE   Steve Y

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Posted March 07 2006 - 10:37 AM

Excellent review, David. My opinion does respectfully differ from yours regarding the "true" emotional impact of original language tracks (I place no quotations around original Posted Image ). But I also realize that these films would not be enjoyed by a segment of the population if no choice had been given, so providing both options is the best possible resolution.

I saw Whisper of the Heart for the first time about three years ago and was blown away. It helped that I had no idea where the story was going to go next. Like Howl's Moving Castle, it works best when you try to disengage any preconceived notions about what certain stories are "supposed" to do... it's a very naturalistic tale which moves in odd, unexpected directions, much like "real life".

See this film before you see "The Cat Returns", if possible.

I've been impressed by Disney's handling of the Ghibli films. I'm glad some of these lesser-known gems are finally getting respectable DVD releases.

#13 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 07 2006 - 11:28 AM

Steve,

wonderful comments. Especially about the way that Whisper moves "like real life" in unexpected directions...no "plot forumla" anywhere in sight! I added your comments to my main review.
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#14 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 10 2006 - 02:20 AM

Subtitle Update (March 10):

It appears to my eyes and ears that the English Subtitles on this new R1 release reflect the Enlgish-Translation-Audio track and are not "literal" subtitles for the Japanese-translation.

Meaning that the English audio and subtitle text basically match each other.
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#15 of 31 OFFLINE   Brent Hutto

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Posted March 10 2006 - 05:27 AM

Meaning that the English audio and subtitle text basically match each other.


Well, that basically stinks. We looked at a few scenes in Howl's Moving Castle last night and played the English track with the subtitles on. The English dialog was frequently a rather loose paraphrase of the original meaning. In other cases, the English dialog was obviously intended to define the character differently than in the original (cf. Sophie being depicted as fearful instead of angry in her early encounter with the two soldiers).

I guess Whisper just moved a few notches down our "can't wait to see" list. Pity.


Oh. Nevermind!

Glad we got that cleared up.

#16 of 31 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted March 10 2006 - 08:37 AM

Quote:
I guess Whisper just moved a few notches down our "can't wait to see" list. Pity.


I'd wait a little bit on that judgement. There are some in the other threads suspecting that DaVid looked at the CC track (which I know is on the other discs.)

I'll look at my copy over the weekend.

Jason

#17 of 31 OFFLINE   Brent Hutto

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Posted March 10 2006 - 08:42 AM

Jason,

In fact DaViD did catch the CC dubtitles by mistake.

#18 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 10 2006 - 08:47 AM

Yeah...I'll double check all 3 titles tonight taking care to distinguish between the CC and subtitle track.

With Disney, usually *all* they offer in English is the CC track...so I didn't even think that there would be a separate "real" subtitle track to check for!

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#19 of 31 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted March 17 2006 - 11:59 PM

I just saw this and was thoroughly delighted and charmed throughout, it's my final Ghibli film, as I've seen all the others, and I'm glad this was the last one, because it is so thoroughly wonderful and perfect.

I did many comparisons throughout the film of the English and Japanese track, and unlike Totoro, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Porco Rosso, Howl's Moving Castle, or Spirited Away I would NOT listen to this dub. Marvelous as the animation is, I just feel the main girl's voice is horribly miscast in expression, tone and softness of the voice. Uggh. Most of the other voices in the dub were acceptable, but David Gallagher as Seiji just felt horribly flat compared to the rich textures and tonalities to the quiet voice in the Japanese dub--the difference between acting and just saying the words, in my opinion, is never clearer. Compare to the actress dubbing the mother (or the actor dubbing the grandfather) who gives an utterly terrific performance, a shame the same caliber was not held for all the characters.

The other big reason I vastly prefer the Japanese track is the prominance of the song "Country roads (Take me Home)", which is adapted, mocked, toyed with and then rewritten for better/clearer/more poetic expression in Japanese. I just felt these scenes did not flow as well in English because they don't make as much story sense. I'd feel if I were watching this in English I'd need to explain the Japanese setting and why it is they're not singing the song directly, and why they're changing it.

Yet another reason to watch this in Japanese (for me of course) is that there are so many shots of kanji and phonetic Japanese writing (can't remember the name offhand) that it would be offputting to suddenly have subtitles translating them appear in an English language version. I feel it'd throw me out of the movie, but I would still want to know what was written.

Lastly, I just feel that the dub track didn't capture the nuance and tone of the Japanese original as accurately as the subtitles did, this is something I felt Howl and Porco Rosso did a lot better, and Totoro did okay (completely because of the interaction of the Fanning sisters). So much of tones of animation and the vocal performances flowed together that you could practically interpret the movie without translation, often in the dub I felt less integration of the two and more friction.

A fantastic film, but in this case, I'll always watch the OSL.

And man that transfer was INCREDIBLE!

Adam

ps all these unqualified recommendations for Only Yesterday is sort of like handing someone a loaded shotgun and not telling them there's already one in the chamber. It's a great, powerful film, but man did I find it depressing, like Sansho Dayu (Mizoguchi film) it's a 'that's life' Japanese film. Meaning its quiet and deliberate and a general downer--it'd be the perfect film to license to Criterion.
 

#20 of 31 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 18 2006 - 01:48 AM

Adam,

what an oustanding post. Thanks for sharing your in-depth insights into the English/Japanese language options.

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