January 29th, 2006

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We saw "Duma"!

Yep, we did! Although the web site http://www.dumamovie.com says that Duma is playing only in Los Angeles and New York City, in fact it is playing at one googolplex cinema in San Jose -- and apparently at the googolplex in Santa Cruz.

So we hopped on the light rail Saturday to see it. This is the first time I've been told in a cinema that our movie is "third floor on your left." Third floor?! I did say it was a googolplex... Duma was playing on the 12th screen.

It was a really nice movie. The only reasons I can figure that they won't mass-release it in the U.S. is A) They show riding a motorcycle without a helmet; B) Obviously they show people deciding to keep a wild animal as a pet; C) They don't subtitle any of the non-English speech; D) They figure American city kids can't identify with a South African farm kid. There's some subtle cinematic storytelling too that Americans aren't used to, where the pictures alone tell the story, if your brain is working. It reminded me of the difference between watching Kiki's Delivery Service in the original Japanese and watching the English dub: In the English dub, they always have the characters talking over the establishment shots, because they figure dumb Americans wouldn't be able figure out what the pictures are meant to convey (for example, check early on when Kiki arrives at the city and is in awe of how big and busy it is).

Speaking of differences within the same movie... A while back, I saw on one of your LJs a link to a movie trailer for a CGI film, Doogal. Now, as much of an anglophile as I have been, certainly I've heard of The Magic Roundabout -- a very popular chidren's show in the UK (of French origin, as I understand it) -- but I never actually knew the characters. So it wasn't until looking up a trailer for Dougal (using that spelling) that I realized the film Doogal is in fact based on that television series. But watching the British trailer -- http://www.the-magic-roundabout.com/video/MagicR_trlr_hi.mov -- I went, "Hang on, the trailer I saw before had different voices, didn't it?"

Indeed, the entire voice cast has changed -- as well as the spelling of Dougal's name and the title of the movie. Why they did this, I cannot fathom, for most of the British cast was made up of actors that many Americans have heard or seen before (Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Kylie Minogue, Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen, Robbie Williams ... ). The voices don't seem like they would be difficult to understand at all, either. Maybe they decided to change a lot of the dialogue for cultural differences or to remove risque jokes (such as the "Milky Way" gag you see in the British trailer). I dunno. It just seems annoying that they'd change one English-speaking cast for another.