Walk On Water: terrible subtitle problem

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Haggai, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    EDIT: Ignore the problems mentioned in this post, there do not appear to be any subtitle problems with this DVD...see post #7.

    I just got this DVD today, which was released last week. No reviews up yet on DVD-Basen. I saw the movie in a theater earlier this year, and it's very good, so I was looking forward to getting it on disc. It's an Israeli film, and since the Israeli protagonist finds him dealing mostly with two German people, a lot of the dialogue is in English, I'd guess about 50-60% of it. Most of the rest is in Hebrew, and a little bit in German. As you would expect, the theatrical release had subtitles for the non-English dialogue, and no subs for the scenes in English.

    I've only sampled a few scenes on the DVD, but it appears that the entire film has FORCED English subs, even for all the English dialogue! I don't think they're burned in subs, they appear to be player-generated, but I couldn't turn them off. There's a menu option for turning the subs off, but it doesn't work. Neither that, nor toggling on the fly, did anything to get rid of the subs. This is a complete disaster. What was Sony thinking?! Who wants to watch a mostly English-language film with forced English subs on all the time? I like the movie very much, but I'm not going to watch it this way. Nor do I recommend that anyone else do so, unless and until Sony corrects this awful mistake. The English subtitle track should be exactly as it was in the theatrical release, with option to turn it on or off. Period.
     
  2. James Luckard

    James Luckard Stunt Coordinator

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    That's terrible. It's one of the best movies I've seen so far this year, a shame they screwed up the DVD.
     
  3. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    While it's certainly possible the disc has forced subtitles, this could also be a problem with specific players. I've encountered some discs (in my case they were released by Fox) that have occasional subtitle problems with my player. French subtitles sometimes come up automatically and I have to stop playback, then start again to turn them off.

    I'd actually be surprised if the subtitles were forced by design (unless it's a manufacturing error) if there is a menu option to turn them off.

    When you try to turn off the subtitles using the remote's Subtitle key, do you get a "prohibited" text or icon on the screen? If not, your player may just have trouble with this particular disc.
     
  4. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Marko, it's weird, but when I used the Subtitle button on my remote to change on the fly, I could switch the status between on and off, but it simply didn't change anything on the screen. The subs were there no matter what I did. However, now that you mention it, I'll try the disc in my computer when I get home to see if a similar thing happens, which would go at least some ways to determining whether it's a player-specific problem or not.

    But there's still a problem either way, though. If I could turn the subs off while watching the movie, there would still be the major problem of having them either all on or all off, all the way through the movie. The dialogue sometimes switches back and forth between English and other languages within the same scene. The default subtitle track (and there's only one of them on the disc) should be present during the non-English scenes, and absent during the English ones, or else I'd have to toggle back and forth more than a dozen times throughout the film (if I could get the subs to turn off, that is). The fact that I would have to do that is beyond a manufacturing error.
     
  5. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    That's one line of thought. Another is that they should stay on all the way through; I know I've missed a fair amount of dialogue during films that switch between languages because I expect to be reading, as opposed to listening, or vice versa, based upon the previous sentence/scene.
     
  6. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    True, Jason, I'm sure we can all agree that there should be at least two subtitle tracks in a situation like this: one just like it was in theaters, and one with English subs on throughout the entire movie. Like on the Kill Bill discs, although the percentage of non-English dialogue in those movies is a lot smaller than in this film. That's pretty much what I meant by "default" track in my post that you quoted. An all-English track should be there as well, but only as an alternate option, since it doesn't represent the theatrical release. A big problem here is that there's only one track to choose from.
     
  7. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    OK folks, FALSE ALARM...I just checked the disc in my computer, and then again on my regular DVD player, and now there's no problem. It now appears that (a) you can successfully toggle the subtitles on and off on the fly, and (b) the subtitles-off option is precisely what was in the theaters, i.e. subs for non-English dialogue, but no subs for the English scenes. Switching to subtitles-on provides subs for all dialogue, English included.

    Needless to say I have NO IDEA what caused the problem last night that had me so mortified. What can I say...sorry, Sony. :b Somebody pass the dunce hat. [​IMG] But naturally I'm happy that this wonderful movie appears to have been transferred without a hitch.

    OK, on other DVD issues, a few quick thoughts: the back cover of the DVD case says that there's a making-of featurette included, but that's wrong, there isn't one. The only extras are some trailers, but the one for Walk On Water is not among them. The trailers start when you first load the disc, but you can skip them and go straight to the main menu.

    Picture quality appears to be pretty good, in 16X9-enhanced 1.85:1. There's just one language track, in 5.1. The specs read "English, Hebrew, German 5.1 (Dolby Digital)," but this does NOT mean that there are three different language tracks. There's only one track, with at least some scenes in each of those three languages.

    If one of the mods could re-title this thread "Walk On Water DVD," or something more innocuous, that would be much appreciated.
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Haggai,

    Thanks for your comments on this one. I was planning on reviewing it, but unfortunately, it came out during my involuntary sabbatical (due to family medical issues, which have since been resolved happily) last month. I'm looking forward to seeing it eventually!
     

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