February 05, 2005

Movies: Why I Walked Out of...

...Travelers & Magicians.

The first feature film to be shot in Bhutan, we're told, and the reviews were generally good, so I was looking forward to this.

Then the movie began, and the subtitles were so lightweight that they couldn't be easily read. If the standard subtitling has the feel of something written in magic marker, this was like something written in pencil. The subtitles were yellow, which was good -- yellow is almost always better than white -- but that wasn't enough to overcome the disaster of the font weight.

When subtitling is done well, I can pay attention to what they say without being distracted from the movie by the fact that I'm having to pay attention to what they say. But this time, I was constantly aware of the fact that I was having to work really hard to read the titles, and it kept me from really getting involved with the story. Watching a good movie may be challenging, difficult, thought-provoking; it shouldn't be laborious.

A shame, too; I think I might have enjoyed the movie if I'd been able to pay attention to it instead of to its ancillary deficiencies.

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