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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Ponyo

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Kenneth Lee

    Kenneth Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, I agree with Carl (and thanks Matt for the clarification):

    * There's no proper English Subtitles for this Blu-Ray? :(

    Sigh. This is definitely frustrating. Does anyone know of an e-mail address that we can contact Disney / start some online petition to get them to realize that quite a number of us *do* care about getting real English Subtitles and not SDH / Hearing-Impaired versions?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Adam Gregorich

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    I look at this release essentially as a remake. If it were a live action film it would have been an full scale remake with a new cast. Since its animated Disney was able to use the existing footage and just "remake" it by recasting the voices.
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I agree with Andrew in that animated films are a special case, especially when the effort is put into the English-language version that Disney puts into its domestic treatments of Ghibli films.

    But, holy moronic mouse, Batman -- no straight subtitle track? THAT is ridiculous! What were they thinking?
     
  4. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Adam, I've been watching and collecting since the early 80's and I can tell you that you have an incorrect impression on the culture of Japanese anime. By reviewing the film in its English dubbed format, you have fallen into the same category that many viewers, who have a negative attitude about anime, have fallen into.

    First, your statement that Ponyo is a remake because it has an English dub is incorrect. As someone who has personal knowledge of the agreement between Walt Disney and Studio Ghibli and someone who has intimate knowledge about why Disney has the license in the first place, Ponyo isn't a remake (as you stated).

    Let me explain.

    Back in the eighties, Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, allowed one of his animated movies, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, to be released in the United States. However, the studio who adapted the animated film into English, horribly hacked up the movie, conducted severe edits and renamed it as "Warriors of the Wind." It would take over 20 years before Miyazaki would allow his films to be released in the United States. However, when Disney was negotiating for the license, the one caviet was that Disney would not be allowed to edit one piece of footage from any of Miyazaki's movies.

    The only changes that Disney would be allowed to make would be to create an 'English audio track" for the English dubs and to add a subtitled track. Content wise, Disney could not edit any of the content of any Studio Ghibli movie.

    Most anime reviewers, typically, review whatever anime that they are reviewing in its original "Japanese Audio" with English subtitled. What many anime fans have discovered is that over 90% of the English dubbed anime are poorly made. This is why most anime reviewers such as Anime News Network, Anime on DVD/Mania.com will review anime releases in its original Japanese audio. This gives the reviewer the impression of the anime without any edits or additions that often come with English dubbed audio tracks.
     
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Good points Jaref, and this is what I was getting at with my earlier post.
    Also I pretty sure Adam was just making a point on the bad subitles by calling this a remake, it's obviously not a remake it just a foreign language film with a subpar english translation and subtitles.

    I saw that much of the english translated words on the sreen were far from what was actually being said, so I'm not sure if the english words written on the screen were accurate or if the actors spoken words were accurate.
     
  6. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    According to DVD Beaver, the space used on the disc is 41.25 GB. There was plenty of space left for an additional lossless track. Considering that there are no bandwidth heavy special features that run with the main feature (such as Video-in-Video, etc.), they would still have had plenty of head room for top notch video quality. The omission of a lossless Japanese track being bit budget issue is something I seriously doubt.
     
  7. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    So there really isn't a regular English subtitle track? Just closed captions? I thought we were past this.

    Granted, any translation (even a "literal" one) is still an interpretation, but as many have stated, a "dub" translation has to take into account the characters' lipflap, and a more "literal" one doesn't.

    This is very disappointing, and I honestly thought Disney knew better (as they've shown on every Studio Ghibli release up to this point).
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

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  9. Kenneth Lee

    Kenneth Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi All,

    Looks like the folks at The Digital Bits posted up contact info for Disney Customer Service. I just sent them an e-mail on this. If you do want to see Lossless Audio and (at least) Proper English Subtitles, please let them know!

    [Note: If lossless original language audio is important to you, then by all means let Disney know by calling their customer service number (800-723-4763 U.S./888-877-2843 Canada), or better yet by writing them an e-mail or letter. PLEASE be polite when doing so, because the voices of dedicated, reasonable customers are ALWAYS heard the loudest and taken most seriously by the studios.]

    http://www.disneystudioshelp.com/Contact_Us.html
     
  10. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Thanks, TonyD.

    I think the point is that when HTF Members, whether they be staff or not, to indicate in their review that their review is based either on the "subtitled text" aspect or the "English dubbed audio track" of the anime. For those of us who have been anime fans for a long time, this is a particular important fact.

    The reason why I find Adam's remark "I look at this release essentially as a remake" particularly offensive is that he's making a judgment on the film without knowing what the anime industry is all about. If he had correctly done his research, he would have discovered that none of the Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli films that Disney has released have been edited in any way and that the "no content edits" clause was a sticking point in the "anime licensing" contract that Disney signed with Studio Ghibli.

    You can find this information very easily by checking out any of the following sites:

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com
    http://www.animenation.net
    http://www.nausicaa.net

    Like I said, I've been watching and collecting Japanese anime since even before anime licensing was introduced to fans in North America. Hayao Miyazaki is downright adamant about Disney not editing any of the content of his films and the review's comments about this film feeling like a remake is an attempt at slighting this movie.

    My remarks are not meant to draw out any ill will or polarize this discussion, but it would be nice if a little research was done before a reviewer makes personalized comments about what they think this film is.
     
  11. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I can't believe that there is not a proper English subtitle track on this release - it is beyond comprehension. I don't care who they put on a dub track, I watch films in their original language, and not having a subtitle track means the original audio is pretty much useless.

    If this is any indication of how the rest of Miyaziki's work will be released in North America on Blu Ray, then I am going to be extremely disappointed. The previous releases on DVD were great, but the increased resolution would have been worth rebuying all of them. Without proper subtitles FORGET IT!
     
  12. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Quote:Originally Posted by Bryan Tuck
     
  13. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    I gotta admit, Ive read through this thread, and I still can't tell whether this release has proper English subtitles or closed captions. Which is it? Maybe this thread needs subtitles!

    Can someone clarify?
     
  14. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    When an anime movie, television series or OVA is translated, the anime has a team of translators that are in the employ of the studio, which does the audio track for the English dub for any particular title they may be working on. In effect, the English audio track (or English dub) may differ from the subtitled track that appears on the particular anime title they may be working on. English audio or English dubbing is often referred to as ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement).

    Now, when the translators originally translate the anime, their translation may be as close to the original Japanese dialogue as it can be and the translation team will often rewrite certain "Japanese" cultural references in the anime and re-write it so that it's easily understandable by its American and English speaking fans.

    When the script-writers get hold of the translation, they may make changes to the dialogue so that when the voice actors (called seiyuu in Japan) are speaking their lines of dialogue for placement within the anime they are working on matches or syncs with the movement of the anime characters mouth. Often, you'll find that the English audio dub will different slightly from the English subtitled track.

    Bear in mind that the actual translation of the anime will depend on the quality of the translator and how well he or she can translate the anime from the original source material that the studio received from their licensor (the company that handles licensing for the anime they are working on).

    Also note that when an anime is licensed, and when the ADR studio receives the original source material, that the anime they receive only contains the anime with the original Japanese audio track. Japanese anime is only received in its original Japanese audio track. Japanese studios do not provide translations in English and neither do they provide the translation for the dub.
     
  15. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Jeff, I hear you. I have all of the Ghibli movies on DVD and I have to say that I cannot remember if the DVD releases contain the subtitled track. I would assume so since the DVD's have English and Japanese audio tracks. It's sad to hear that the Ponyo Blu-ray doesn't contain a subtitled track.
     
  16. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    I e-mailed Disney about Ponyo regarding the lossy Japanese audio and the subtitles. Regarding the subtitles, they replied:

    "When you select the Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 Track, regular English subtitles will display. When you select the DTS-MA English track, and turn subtitles on, English SDH will display."

    SDH-only subtitles would have been a deal-breaker, but lossy audio, while not ideal, isn't enough to keep me from buying the disc, so I'll probably pick up Ponyo after all.
     
  17. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Quote:
    Can any of you guys who have the disc confirm this?
     
  18. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Tell me about it. I'll probably pick up the Blu-ray on Saturday.
     
  19. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

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    I'm fairly certain when I was was watching the Japanese version this afternoon I had regular subtitles. There were absolutely no SDH events like describing noises and such. I also thought the DD5.1 640k track was quite good, one of the best ones I've heard. The PQ is stellar and it's well worth the $15.
     
  20. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    Well, I rented it to see for myself if it had a regular subtitle track. It does. You can select an English subtitle track from the subtitle menu after selecting the Japanese track. If you select the English track and then go to the subtitle menu, the subtitles are an SDH track. The film is actually better than I thought it would be, considering some of the reviews I read. I think films such as "Totoro" and "Porco Rosso" are better, but this film was nowhere near the dog that I thought it would be. The film is aimed at the younger set and I was concerned that it would be nearly unwatchable for an adult, but I think it is pretty decent. The adult characters seemed too accepting of the fantastical goings on. There is no skepticism at all from the mother when the main character tells her what he is seeing, which makes the mother seem rather too good to be true. The film is meant to be an uplifting family film and I would say that Miyazaki succeeds in delivering on that front.

    I thought the opening animation sequence was a bit minimalist for a theatrical release, but the film had some very nice visuals in later sequences. The animation is nowhere near the quality of the Disney classics, but even Disney can not live up to that kind of quality with their modern animated films. It is still nice to see hand-drawn animated films being made amid all the CGI animated films that have become the norm. It cost 12 dollars to rent this film. I just should have gone ahead and bought it. While it doesn't reach the level of his earlier films, I'm beginning to think that I should have purchased it as a vote for having the rest of his films released on BD.

    The picture quality is top notch and the sound quality of the Japanese track was quite good, even though it is not a lossless track. At present, lossless tracks are meaningless to me since my receiver is not capable of decoding the tracks. The lossy track at 640 Kb/s sounded fine to me.

    So, after seeing it, I have to take back what I said in my earlier postings. Disney actually did a good job on this disc and the movie would have been a worthwhile purchase. I really haven't been entirely disappointed by a Miyazaki film; although, he did come close with "Howl's Moving Castle".
     

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