Monday, 30 April 2018

Black Panther (4½ Stars)

Today I visited the SI Centre in Stuttgart with my son Benjamin. In case you don't know what that is, let me quote the Wikipedia page:

"The SI Centre (Stuttgart International Centre) is an activity centre in Stuttgart-Möhringen and one of the biggest recreation centres in Stuttgart. It is visited by two million people every year.

The SI Centre is made up of two musical theatres, the Stuttgart Casino, eleven restaurants, seven bars and three cafés, a film palace with six theatres, 22 conference rooms for up to 1000 people, two hotels and a health spa"

So much for Wikipedia's neutrality. That sounds like the text copied from a travel brochure.

What we experienced was something different. The SI Centre was like a ghost town. We walked through the building, up and down the stairs, and we saw nobody except for a few cleaners. The theatre box offices were closed. The bars were closed. The cafés were closed. There were shops as well, all closed. I found one shop with a sign that said "Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm. Monday closed". It seems like the whole centre closes on Monday. I don't know why the front door was unlocked. The atmosphere was so eerie that I made a nine-minute video while I was walking around to show how deserted it was.

That was in the early afternoon. The cinema -- I find the expression "film palace" exaggerated -- was showing "Black Panther" in the evening, so we left and returned later after spending time in more interesting places. The SI Centre was slightly more lively. There were a lot of people walking up the stairs to the cinema, most to see "Infinity War". Everything else was still closed. There were no bars or cafés open for the cinema visitors.

Never mind. I already know that I'll never return to the SI Centre. I need over an hour to get there by public transport. It's in the south of Stuttgart, and I live in the north. All I was interested in was the film. It was being shown in German, which wasn't a problem for me. German dubbing is of a uniform high quality, unlike English dubbing which is uniformly amateurish. The voices sounded realistic throughout the film, with the exception of Stan Lee. I know his voice too well, it can't be replaced.

The only thing that amazed me was the translation of the iconic phrase "Wakanda Forever". In German it's "Wakanda über alles". I agree that the literal translation, "Wakanda für immer", sounds less natural, but "Wakanda über alles" sounds too nationalistic. Maybe "Wakanda für immer und ewig" would be better, but that would only work in the subtitles. One of the most important things to consider in dubbing is that the translation has to be the same length as the original. The dialogue can't continue when the lips have stopped moving.

It was noticeable that the cinema visitors in the south of Stuttgart aren't as well educated as those who visit the city centre cinemas. There were about 30 people in the theatre with me -- a remarkable number for a film that's been running for two months -- and they all walked out before the credits ended. All of them. The only ones who remained to the end were Benjamin and me.

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