Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lorax: En búsqueda de la Trúfula Perdida

During my long Easter weekend, the host family and I had the chance to go to see The Lorax, or as it is known here, Lorax: En búsqueda de la Trúfula Perdida. If you aren't sure what this is, it's an animated movie about the Dr. Seuss book (which is a story about wastefulness and nature and caring about the environment, in an easy-to-swallow, chewable kids vitamin format).

 Much like my time going to the Spanish soccer game, this was my first time ever going to a Spanish movie theater. Why hasn't it happened before this weekend? For two reasons: One, I don't go to movies very much in the US either (the most recent movie I saw in theaters, prior to this, was Tron: 3D in January 2011, and before that...I can't even remember). Two, I really dislike Spanish dubbing (no subtitles here!) because the voices are annoying and it's hard to follow an actor when their lips mouth English and a dub speaks Spanish. Movie trailers are hard to follow because I don't know if I am listening to a voice dub of an onscreen actor or a trailer narration. But in Spain, it's a huge industry for dubbing, so every show/movie imported here is dubbed. Period.

"Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, Betty White: all voices you WON'T hear in this movie!"

So here are some observations I made during my very first Spanish movie theater experience...

 1. The theatre was huge; it felt like I was in an airport. You could even buy tickets at the window or at a machine, like when you check in for a flight. The analogies are endless with the airport situation. More on that later... This is an actual photo from the website of the Kinepolis theater in Valencia.

 2. There were opening previews for movies like Ice Age: 4 (yes, really), Despicable Me: 2, and commercials for Kinepolis itself. Kinepolis is the name of the theater/entertainment complex that contains the theater. This complex includes bowling, various restaurants, a huge play area (with giant buttons that play cartoon SFX), arcade, etc. Now let me tell you about the announcement itself: It was not appropriate for children. The beginning was like "Kinepolis is not only great for a Sunday morning..." followed by shots of happy parents and kids playing at the arcade, seeing movies, eating lunch, bowling, etc, "but it's great for a Sunday afternoon." followed by a shot of the two exhausted children sleeping on a couch, while sounds of mattress springs and the parents' screams of ecstasy play in the background. Yes, this ad infers "take your kids to Kinepolis in the AM, wear them out, then while they take their afternoon nap, you parents can get busy in the bedroom without interruption." Interesting for a theater whose audience was about 90% children under the age of ten. Then again, on mid-day TV, Coming to America was on, and the bathing scene at the beginning featured topless servant women giving Eddie Murphy a bath. Not topless women with blurs. Just topless women. Being naked.

 3. I was confused at times, having this be my second language and all. That's a given. However, being Dr. Seuss, there were a lot of made-up words. For me, they just sound like Spanish. I asked Cristina what a "trufula" was, and she didn´t know and said she thought it was probably made up. Then I realized it is the equivalent of asking her what a "thneed," a "Once-ler" or a "lorax" was. They are not real things, in case you couldn't figure it out. I also had no idea, the entire duration of the movie, what "A no ser" meant, etched on what looked like a gravestone.


 4. The arm rests at this theater were DOUBLE WIDTH! Two arms fit on one armrest. The US needs to get on that, asap.

 5. We had assigned seats. Maybe it was because we bought the tickets early, to ensure seats. But the theatre was like, less than 10% full for our movie, which I thought made it funnier that the host family was checking each ticket "are you seat 16 or 18? 18? Okay, I go here and Lucia goes in 17." I was thinking to myself "you do realize we have THE ENTIRE ROW to ourselves, right? And the row in front of us? And the row in front of that? And the next row? There are about 6 empty rows between us and the other fifteen people in this theatre." I wonder if they were like "THAT´S NOT YOUR ASSIGNED SEAT!" when I got up and moved a few rows down because Lucia was literally jumping in her seat halfway through the movie (Lucia gonna be Lucia) and therefore being quite distracting.

 6.My host family was also very against the idea of bringing snacks with you. "THEY DON´T ALLOW OUTSIDE SNACKS." Really? No one ever checked. It´s not like we were at an airport. Or maybe they thought we were because of the design. But having Pichón be a Lays Chip distributor, we happened to have a giant box of chips, cheese doodles and what-have-you in the kitchen that day that made me wanna stash some for the movie. "NO OUTSIDE SNACKS!" my host family said. I thought "Wow, for a country of people who park wherever they please (yellow striped areas, medians, the entire lane closest to the parallel parking that is a DRIVING lane), smoke weed in public (my dad and I smelled the wofting odor of marijuana in some plaza in Barcelona), and burn giant foam and wood sculptures ten feet away from inhabited buildings, they sure are afraid of what might happen if you bring outside snacks to a movie theatre. The movie theatres seem to have induced more fear over outside snacks than the law enforcement over enforcing actual laws. For all I know, bringing in outside snacks could induce the worst punishment of all. Now I am thinking what that could possibly be, but really, I think a parking ticket would make me more fearful.

 7. No Taylor Swift. No Zac Efron. No Taylor Swift and Zac Efron song over closing credits. I just found out there was no Zac Efron and Taylor Swift duet. But how am I supposed to know when it is all DUBBED!? If I haven't mentioned it before, Spain has a huge business for dubbing, and there are actors hired to be voices of specific English-speaking actors. There is a "George Clooney voice" and "Julia Roberts voice" and "Hugh Jackman voice." There is a person for that voice, so when you hear it in a commercial, you can be like "Hey that's (fake) George Clooney talking to me!"


No Danny Devito as The Lorax. OH WAIT, yes he was. Yes, that's right, Danny Devito voiced himself in Spanish. And apparently also Latin-American Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian. My host mom said she recognized the voice as being foreign, but she said it was hard to figure out where he was from. I heard the Danny Devito trivia fact after seeing the movie, so I didn´t fully enjoy his accent during the movie. Oh well. The producers of the film were glad he wanted to do the foreign voices because other actors can´t portray the role like the chosen actor does. TELL ME ABOUT IT. All of the breathy, ditzy-sounding voices used for every female American actress on TV here is quite grating. It´s like the Spanish equivalent of Marilyn Monroe is voicing every character from House's Olivia Wilde to Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester to Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel. Although, I was really happy about the voice they used for Taylor Swift´s movie character. For once it didn't sound like a sex-kitten voice. Or the voice of an adult imitating a child´s voice (which happens in basically any adult-oriented show that features children. So, any show except ones that would normally air in the US on Cartoon Network, Disney Channel or Nickelodeon). It was just a run-of-the-mill, normal girl's voice.

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