Here’s a pet peeve: I can’t stand bad voice dubs.
Whether it’s a foreign movie or a native English production that’s just a little out of sync, if the sound on a video doesn’t match the movements of the mouth I get uncomfortable.
This even bothers me sometimes when watching cartoons, where the animation is supposed to be so stylized and abstract that you don’t notice the dub. I was watching Hiyao Miyazaki’s latest film, “Ponyo” a few days ago* and only after the movie ended put my finger on what had been bugging me. The dialogue sounded fine if I closed my eyes, and the characters looked fine if I muted the sound. But watching the mouths moving in sync with the original Japanese dialogue while listening to an all-star English voice cast made everything seem a little faker.
When I lived in France, where dubbing is far more popular, I mostly frequented the artsier theater that showed subtitled films. A few times I caught American films on TV dubbed into French and found the experience too odd to watch. The only time I saw a dubbed movie in the theater was “Spiderman 3,” where the dialogue was mostly beside the point (as well as being so simple that I could understand the whole film despite my mediocre French).
I don’t think my attitude towards dubbing is too weird, but what’s striking to me is that other people don’t seem as bothered by bad dubs as I am. A few times lately I’ve been watching a video with friends and paused it several times to try to fix the audio sync, only to discover that I was the only person who apparently noticed anything. Is this unusual? I’ve got no idea. All I know is I’ll be sticking with the version originale sous-titrée when I’ve got a choice.
*I’ve noticed that I tend to turn to animated films when I’m looking for a movie to unwind with in the evenings.