I both love and hate watching movies. Interesting characters, thrilling plots and fine acting are all well and good, but whoever’s in charge of the sound ruins it for me. Those fucking sound guys.
Movies have been around for ages, so why hasn’t this aspect been perfected for home viewing? What I’m saying is, why is every sound effect and blast of music so damn loud and the dialogue mumbled? To get important character development and integral plot points I have to turn my TV up to about a million at which point the sound track kicks in and one of the guys who lives up stairs falls through the ceiling. Admittedly, they’re really fat and loud and are as heavy footed as a T-Rex wearing platform boots made of lead, so they’re always falling through the ceiling, but that’s not the point.
Why are the words of various protagonists delivered in barely audible whispers, but the creaking of a door loud enough to make my ears bleed? There doesn’t seem to be a setting to balance this, and by setting I mean a number, I’m not fucking about with overly complex sound systems, I just want to watch movie late at night without convincing the town that WWIII has finally kicked off, but still be able to hear what’s going on. I mean, I know realistically that a gunshot will be significantly louder than someone muttering exposition to someone else and many gunshots will create a bigger racket, but I’m watching Robert Downy Jr. flying around in a metal suit powered by some sort of reactor in his chest and punching a metal armed mopey kid who has been brain washed by Nazis, so realism has pretty much gone out the window.
It’s fine when you’re in a cinema with lots of other people who have paid to see a film so some noise is expected, but what about us people who can’t sleep at night and have angry neighbours?
This is not a flaw evident in action flicks either. I was watching The Truman Show last night at roughly 11:43 PM. Whilst this is unquestionably one of the best films ever made and I’ll fight anyone that says otherwise, it suffers the same flaw. Unable to hear the dialogue, I turned it up until I could just about hear the dialogue, at which point young Truman and his fake dad were caught in a storm, possibly the loudest storm ever. It was a manufactured storm yes, but the point still stands. With each flash of lighting and subsequent bark of thunder I felt the floor shake and my innards vibrate with such intensity my kidneys exploded.
So, I hastily turned it down. Then once the storm was over, I couldn’t hear what the fuck anyone was saying, so I turned it up again. At which point the soundtrack made itself known and the army turned up looking for Godzilla.
I know the composer of the soundtrack and the sound effects guys don’t actually get to appear in the films, so need to make their mark some how, but come on guys, you’re in the credits, is that not enough? We know you’re there and you do a good job, just… shhh.
Why? Why is this so? Why can’t we get sub-settings on films like you get on video games, where you can turn the dialogue up, whilst turning the rest of the shit way down where it belongs? I get that it all adds to the adrenaline pounding experience, but I’m very unlikely to miss important pieces of information if I miss one gunshot. Stop it movies! We get it, you like loud noises, but I tend to watch my films late at night where no one likes loud noises, so I want you to change everything just for me.
Good, now that’s out of my system I should probably go look for a job.