Sunday, October 23, 2005

No Damn Subtitles

A funny thing happened when I was watching the special features on The Grudge DVD yesterday. You know The Grudge. It was a Japanese horror movie (originally called Ju-on: The Grudge)written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. Sam Raimi saw it and thought it was so damn awesome that he wanted to remake it. He knew that the only way Americans would watch it would be if it was remade with American actors. But he got Shimizu to direct this new American version starring Sarah Michelle Geller and Bill Pullman.
So what was the funny thing that happened? It's coming up, I promise.
I was watching the 'making of' featurette (A Powerful Rage) and they spent a lot of time talking about how tricky the language problem was. They were shooting in Tokyo with a Japanese director and crew, so everybody needed translators. Also, when they made notes and changes to the script, these had to be translated back and forth between English and Japanese. So you see, language translation was a big deal with this movie, you could say one of the BIGGEST deals.
Which gets us at last to this funny thing that happened. In this making of thingo, the director Takashi Shimizu and the Japanese guy who plays the detective, were talking away in Japanese, but there were no subtitles, and there was no person doing a voiceover translation of what they were saying. So unless you knew Japanese, you couldn't understand what they were saying. This was pretty frustrating because I wanted to know what they were saying, but it was amazing because it was such a big deal with this movie, the language translation. They really made a big deal about it, and it must have been quite tricky, but how tricky would it have been to subtitle these short little speeches by the director and the actor?
Anyway, in the commentary they were also saying that a Director's Cut would be coming out sometime because the censors made them cut out a bunch of stuff so they could get a PG13 rating, so hopefully they will sort it out for that.
If anybody reading this has The Grudge on DVD, could you tell me if yours is the same?

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