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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
To dub or not to dub...
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Jan 30 2013, 9:12pm

Post #1 of 34 (960 views)
To dub or not to dub... Can't Post

I don't know how many people have seen The Hobbit dubbed in another language (just for the record, I have not seen it all the way through as such - I've only seen clips and trailers from the french dub). But I wondered, would you rather see it dubbed or subbed? If you did see it dubbed, what did you think? Did it bother you at all? I always prefer to see movies subbed, myself...but I've known people that felt that it made it harder for them to concentrate on the movie.


Jan 30 2013, 9:31pm

Post #2 of 34 (553 views)
I wished... [In reply to] Can't Post

... we had more original versions here in Germany... or at least just subbed.

But most screenings here are dubbed. However, the dubbing has become some sort of an art form, at least for the big movies.

So it is not totally crappy - but of course the original is always much better - and the only direct view at a performance by an actor. Movies I care about I always try to watch in the original language (also did that with the Hobbit).

What made matters worse is that the great German voice of Gandalf from LotR was given by Achim Höppner who died a few years ago. Not only is it sad, but Gandalf is maybe the worst character to have a changed voice for.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jan 30 2013, 9:36pm

Post #3 of 34 (527 views)
Subtitles every time [In reply to] Can't Post

I find them less distracting than the wrong voices and lips out of synch with the words.

Storm clouds


Jan 30 2013, 9:41pm

Post #4 of 34 (545 views)
When I lived in Japan... [In reply to] Can't Post

...most of the English movies were subtitled (including LotR)- but tv shows were always dubbed (x-files, etc). Although I know it's all about what you're used to...for example, while I couldn't stand watching the dubbed x-files (because I had seen it in English), there was another tv series from South Korea that was dubbed, and the dubbing didn't bother me as much, since I never saw it before then.

When I watched the Hobbit clips in French, it was just so strange, mainly because Richard Armitage has such a distinctive voice that must be hard to emulate. The voice for Bilbo was pretty good, though.


Jan 30 2013, 9:54pm

Post #5 of 34 (492 views)
Sub, sub sub [In reply to] Can't Post

I grew up with subtitles so it's the most natural thing in the world for me. I can understand that for people with English as their first language, like Americans or Brits, subtitles are not often the best way to go as it could be hard to concentrate on reading and watching at the same time. In Sweden though, everyone watches foreign movies in subtitles and it's not a problem for anyone.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Tol Eressea

Jan 30 2013, 9:58pm

Post #6 of 34 (477 views)
Always subbed [In reply to] Can't Post

Grown up watching subbed movies, so it's not distracting at all. It's sort of automatic, as in I don't noticed the subtitles at all. I just have to glance over the text and that's it. Same for most Scandinavians I guess.


Jan 30 2013, 10:00pm

Post #7 of 34 (481 views)
It's got to be economic [In reply to] Can't Post

The market for subtitled usually is smaller. Doing it in the native language also poses difficulties, but it makes it much more accessible, even if it doesn't look quite right, but as someone said, it's come a long way from dubbed Godzilla films.


Jan 30 2013, 10:28pm

Post #8 of 34 (464 views)
I'm very much opposed to the idea of dubbing in cinemas [In reply to] Can't Post

(unless it's a childrens movie) but I admit I need subtitles. English accents are beautiful, and tricky :) In fact I prefer English subtitles, but I'm fine with localized subtitles, too.

I'm perfectly fine with movies being dubbed for TV - it's a different kind of experience, often a different kind of target audiece, plus sometimes you just really want to sit back and enjoy the movie without too much hassle.

But cinemas - no way. Even though watching a movie is sometimes regarded as "pure entertainment", I believe it's supposed to be a complex experience where the viewer isn't just a brainless, passive consumer (well of course that depends on the movie). The actor's voice, the accent, the way they deliver their lines, it's all part of the director's vision. And especially if they are trained stage actors - RA's or sir Ian's voice (just to name the few obvious examples, I don't mean to ignore the others, equally as great) are an art form of its own! And if I'm paying for the ticket, I want to have that complete vision and experience and I want to hear the original sound. Or I want to be given a fair choice. Reading subtitles might seem tedious, but I believe it's a matter of getting used to. A bit like HFR maybe - you struggle for a few moments, and then suddenly you forget you're actually putting any real effort into it. I saw TH in 3D (no HFR) subtitles and it was perfectly doable.

I caught a glimpe of TH dubbed in Czech, and I know they dub the Misty Mountains song. Someone else's reaction in another thread was that dubbing the Misty Mountains song is criminal, and well that's exactly what it is. And I mean not disrespect to the local actors - it's no fault of theirs.

I'm angry the distributors think the dubbed version should be the primary and first choice. I'm also worried that all the HFR and Atmos copies are dubbed - we're really geting into the "Here I am, switching off my brain, now entertain me!" territory. I doubt the directors want that. Or do they?

(This post was edited by Yva on Jan 30 2013, 10:30pm)


Jan 30 2013, 10:36pm

Post #9 of 34 (451 views)
Wish they'd do it for "kids" movies too... [In reply to] Can't Post

Teach little Timmy to read!

I don't want my beautiful Ghibli movies ruined with dubs! Wink

(I've recently watched several of them in theaters, some with dubs and some with subs, and, while I prefer subs, I actually didn't hate the dubs as much as I expected. I must be getting old. In general, I vastly prefer subs and often cannot stomach dubs at all.)

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...

The Shire

Jan 30 2013, 10:41pm

Post #10 of 34 (441 views)
not to dub ... but in 3D HFR please [In reply to] Can't Post

It's rather difficult to find a not dubbed version in Germany that is in 3D HFR - I have definitely fallen in love with the new format and don't want to watch it any other way in the cinema which is why I have to settle for the dubbed versionCrazy. At least once a cinema nearby showed the movie neither dubbed nor subbed in 3D HFR .. That was HEAVEN!


Jan 30 2013, 10:46pm

Post #11 of 34 (438 views)
My preferences... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Teach little Timmy to read!

I don't want my beautiful Ghibli movies ruined with dubs! Wink

(I've recently watched several of them in theaters, some with dubs and some with subs, and, while I prefer subs, I actually didn't hate the dubs as much as I expected. I must be getting old. In general, I vastly prefer subs and often cannot stomach dubs at all.)

I actually preferred Howl's Moving Castle in English - the Japanese version is just very...flat. It could also have something to do with Christian Bale doing the voice ;) Cartoon dubs don't bother me unless the voice acting is awful. I just have a hard time with dubs over live action, because it's very easy to see that it's not them speaking.

As for dubbing the Misty Mountains song...I heard the French, and I was like "uuuh, no". Have to have the English version for that :)

All-in-all, I'm more used to subtitles, so the don't bother me at all. I had actually wondered how they looked with the HFR 3D, though, since the subtitles sort of "sit out in front" of the picture.


Jan 30 2013, 11:19pm

Post #12 of 34 (421 views)
In Croatia [In reply to] Can't Post

we are too poor to even put on some subtitles much less dub the whole thing :)

Tol Eressea

Jan 30 2013, 11:46pm

Post #13 of 34 (457 views)
Arabic Harry Potter [In reply to] Can't Post

quite the experience. Crazy


Jan 31 2013, 2:32am

Post #14 of 34 (367 views)
most definitely sub [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I'm losing my hearing! sometimes i put the subtitles on just so i know what they're saying! and i often have to put on the subtitles for movies out of the UK since i often miss the bits of slang or if they're speaking quickly.

My avatar photo is Lake Tekapo in New Zealand's South Island. Taken by me in 2004 on a Red Carpet Tours LOTR Movie Location Tour. 'Twas the Vacation of a Lifetime!

pictures taken while on the tour are here:


Jan 31 2013, 2:52am

Post #15 of 34 (355 views)
Subs always! [In reply to] Can't Post

No dub for me please. Everything is better in the original language. I think dubbing ruins the acting, the immersion, everything.

But I have to admit subtitles are quite distracting in 3D movies. There are just so many layers of depth and the text just floats in the foreground, which looks rather weird. I have yet to try the unsubbed 3D experience...


Jan 31 2013, 6:33am

Post #16 of 34 (367 views)
Subbed, definitely [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a language snob. I freely admit that. I also nitpick. Oh, and I studied languages for translating and interpreting. I simply cannot watch dubbed versions of English-language movies (the same way I cannot read translated books). It's impossible. If I watch a movie in German (I live in Germany nowadays), I can still hear the English in the German dialogue, and then I start to find all the errors - and usually there are plenty. Subtitles I could at least ignore.

Luckily I live in an area where there are cinemas that show movies in English. And if there is one that I want to see that the cinemas here don't show in English, I wait for the DVD.


Jan 31 2013, 8:17am

Post #17 of 34 (331 views)
Neither [In reply to] Can't Post

Fortunately here (in Germany's most beautiful city Wink) we have one cinema that shows films in original version without subtitles. I wouldn't be caught dead watching a film like the Hobbit dubbed (to the scorn of my friends). For many films I wouldn't mind, but for something where the language (the voices, the words that are used, the names and places) are such an integral part of the story, I couldn't. Especially because I watch most of my home entertainment in English, and know many of the original voices, and once you know them, you can't watch the dubbed one without getting distracted, or plain laugh out loud. Subtitles I don't need luckily, well not for the English language movies anyways. But we were talking about the Hobbit, right? If we were talking about a French movie, or any other language I don't speak, then definitely dubbed.


Jan 31 2013, 8:34am

Post #18 of 34 (334 views)
Never Dubbed [In reply to] Can't Post

I absolutely hate dubbed movies.

Even when I watch an English movie and the dialogue is off-sync I get annoyed. And when watching a movie dubbed I get really mad.

I've tried it. But my last real cinema-dubbing-experience was Troy. I watched it in Berlin and didn't know it would be dubbed. I thought 'well, i just ignore the German subtitles and I will be fine', forgetting that many movies in Germany are dubbed.

So I prefer subbed versions (or no subtitles for languages I understand) for every movie. In Holland (where I'm from) we get all movies (and tvseries) subbed (except for children-stuff).

But now I'd like to know. Why would you watch a butchered version of the original version?


Jan 31 2013, 9:38am

Post #19 of 34 (329 views)
No idea [In reply to] Can't Post

Although, in mid and southern Europe, it looks like they have little choice right now.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Jan 31 2013, 12:27pm

Post #20 of 34 (316 views)
You should see it in... [In reply to] Can't Post

Irish! And by that I mean Gaelic... When I was living in Ireland, they kept showing Goblet of Fire in Gaelic on TV. I saw it at least twice (I don't speak Irish, but I watched it out of curiosity). Never any of the other movies, though. I thought it was quite... interesting.

The Prancing Pony

Jan 31 2013, 1:47pm

Post #21 of 34 (292 views)
Same here [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had the same problem with deciding between either HFR or not dubbed. I chose HFR because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and I loved it. But when I wanted to watch it in the OV they only showed it at such strange times that I could never go.

So, definitely no dubbing for me. The voice of an actor makes half of the performance and I think you cannot judge a film on only the visual half. They could at least have left the songs as they were and subbed them. "Blunt the knives" was good enough, but I cannot enjoy "Misty Mountains" that way Crazy.

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."


Jan 31 2013, 1:50pm

Post #22 of 34 (295 views)
I feel sorry for anyone... [In reply to] Can't Post

...who doesn't get to hear Richard Armitage's deep, sonorous voice in that song myself :)

Grey Havens

Jan 31 2013, 3:33pm

Post #23 of 34 (290 views)
Being quite familiar with the English language, [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't stand dubbed movies...
I watch them in English with subtitles (which I rarely read anyway)
But it's not common in Norway to dub live action movies anyway, so I'm glad I'm used to English movies with subtitles!
I actually like having English subtitles instead of Norwegian, because, well, it's closer (or spot on) to what the characters actually say in the movie, which doesn't take me out of the movie Smile

Vocalist in the progressive metal band Renamed.

MTT Gandalf

Jan 31 2013, 6:27pm

Post #24 of 34 (273 views)
In Hungary: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hungarian subtitle with original english voices was only in 2D-format.
3D, IMAX 3D and HFR 3D are all subbed.

Tol Eressea

Jan 31 2013, 10:28pm

Post #25 of 34 (250 views)
Not everywhere [In reply to] Can't Post

some still hold on dearly to sanity Wink

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