I despise movies that have dubbed language soundtracks.

I know, I know. Some of you out there will say, “I want to watch a movie, not read it.” To you I say, “your loss.” There are tons of great foreign films out there that you folks will never see all because you don’t want to do a little reading. And I’ll never understand how anyone can stand to watch an actor’s mouth moving when there isn’t any dialogue. But that’s fine. Whatever. It’s no skin off my nose.

Dubbed films are easy enough to avoid at home. You don’t HAVE to watch Univision. You can skip the Saturday afternoon dubbed tv broadcast of Life is Beautiful and just rent the DVD. And DVDs of course come with the original foreign language. But here in Japan, guess what? Everyone speaks Japanese. And do you know what that means for any American films shown on TV? That’s right. They get dubbed in – Japanese.

What surprised me, however, was that language dubbing actually can be an improvement to some of the more, shall we say, “awful” movies. For instance, I came across The Fantastic Four this evening. While I had zero interest in seeing this movie, I left it on for a bit simply because it starred people I recognize. Much to my horror, the movie was not bad in Japanese. It gave that sort of Godzilla or Mothra feel to it. Remember those? Those movies were terrible, but they were fun to watch just for the cheese factor. Suddenly, the FF storyline no longer mattered – I couldn’t understand it anyway. The lame special effects seemed to look better somehow. And Jessica Alba’s horrid acting no longer seemed to stand out so much. I was amazed!

So I’ve changed my opinion of all language dubbing. Sometimes it’s ok. But only while I’m in Japan. After that, it’s back to skipping those certain movies altogether.

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