No Spoilers Here
Rio is worth seeing twice if you wanted to do the same kind of experiment. There were two big differences between the separate viewings. First I saw it in 3D then in Portuguese 2D. Rio, a movie about a rare macaw that has to leave Minnesota and return to Rio de Janeiro Brazil. It’s an American movie that takes place mostly in Brazil and I actually got to see it in Brazil which made me curious how they would handle the dub for Portuguese. The director is a native Brazilian so I figure that had to help. First off the movie is good, funny, and great advertising for Brazil. I’d say if you liked Ice Age at all it’s better than that and worth seeing just because computer animation has come so far. It opened in Brazil a week earlier than the States which is weird.
2D or not 2D
That takes me to my first difference, 3D. Subtitles throw 3D off a bit even if you are not reading them and what’s the point of the visuals if you are reading the whole time? I hated Avatar but loved MegaMind in 3D. The first thing I noticed when watching in 2D was everything looked so clear and detailed. Animation has come so far you almost think it’s 3D it looks so good. Which makes me wonder, is the resolution split in two to make both sides of a 3D image? Does that make sense? Someone look into that. You would think flying would be cooler in 3D but no flying looks good in high detail and very clear. I don’t like the glasses but I do like throwing popcorn in my wife’s face and saying “3D! isn’t so cool?” which never gets old. I’m going to skip 3D now unless someone really gives me a good reason. Certainly lame at home if you have to use glasses.
The Language Barrier?
Dubbed movies, especially animated ones, have come such a long way. I’m sure it’s an almost as large casting and directing procedure on dubs at this point. Tangled was probably the best dub I’ve ever seen. You figure Disney would get that exactly right. Even the songs are completely dubbed now and translated the way it makes just as much sense as the original not a literal translation. Rio was the same. Here’s a good example. The characters come from English speaking USA to Portuguese speaking Brazil. There’s a scene where when Blu, the macaw that’s the main character, arrives and is trying to say hello to new birds from Rio but stumbles over the language barrier. Then the new birds figure it out and start speaking English to Blu. Although in the dubbed version they are already speaking Portuguese in the US so when he gets to Brazil he acts like he’s trying to speak with a Carioca (people from Rio de Janeiro) accient. Which totally works because it’s very diffirent and funny sounding. Many little inside jokes like that. I’d like to be on a team that had to figure that kind of thing out. Oh some movies, Pixar at least, take it another step further and translate written words and signs in the movie. Rio wasn’t like that.
Some of the voice actors in the English version I liked better and some in the Portuguese version I liked better but they were both pretty similar. Not like when you watch Simpsons here and you think, “well that’s just stupid. I can’t watch this cheap knock off of the Simpsons.” Although not hearing Tracy Jordan’s voice of the bulldog was a huge let down and one of the best parts of the English version. Nigel and the tucan Rafael character were better in the Portuguese version. Actually the Rafael, voiced by George Lopez, was just pissing me off with his thick mexican accient. He says “vamanos” in the movie and it comes out like “bamanos” and all his lines are like that. Why would they cast him? The Tulio actor was from Brazil and I wondered if he did the dub also.
I don’t think you could say Rio is representative of all Brazil but wow does this movie get so many things right here. Obsession with soccer, beaches, Carnaval, samba, the slums, and even churrascarias are touched on. The people…the animations and details on the people are so good. They don’t just look Brazilian but Cariocas even. You don’t see faces accented or charicatured like this in your normal animated flick. The shots of Rio itself are all of the older parts of the city. It shows all the tourist sites including Lapa and that little tram across the aquaduct. Oh the monkeys on Sugar Loaf play a big part as well they should. Man those things are funny. I just really liked how they naturally included so many things.
I personally loved Rovio’s tie in from their game to the movie. I just thought I’d throw that in cause it’s just good cross promotions. I wonder who approached whom to make it happen. Looking forward to the next level of Angry Birds Rio being unlocked now since May is almost here.
So it was a cool experiment. I’m not sure how soon I’ll do it again but this seemed like a fun one.