Aug 14 2016


Adel Gabot



There is this scene in the movie Me Before You where Emilia Clarke’s character watches her very first subtitled movie with the wheelchair-bound character of  Sam Claflin, and comes out of it enthralled and completely taken by the French movie they just saw.

Some people wouldn’t experience the same fascination.

My brother, for example, has this aversion to watching anything that has subtitles, and he much prefers the material be dubbed instead. That’s why he skips on a lot of non-English movies and anime because of that, effectively shutting himself off from a lot of excellent material. He doesn’t want to have to read the dialogue off the screen and divide his attention between that and the movie’s visuals.

It’s akin to reading a book while watching a movie at the same time. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to make the effort; it does ask a lot of you to multitask like that. I kind of understand his point, but at the same time I don’t share it.

There is something to the argument that taking the time to read the translated dialogue does take the attention away from the visual composition and action that occurs on the screen, and that you would be shortchanging all the effort the filmmakers put in in composing the scene.

But then again, you get a lot of unspoken cues from the original audio, even if you can’t understand it.


MOVIE DIALOGUE: Yung buwaka ng inang hinayupak na yun! Putang ina nya!

DUBBED: That bastard!

You see what I mean?

There’s something in the tone and inflection of the un-understood spoken dialogue that speaks volumes, the degree of happiness or anger or emotion that’s discernible even if you can’t understand the words. That’s something that’s irretrivably lost when translated and dubbed into a language you can understand. Not to mention actually losing something in the translation (which, to be clear, you still lose in the subtitling—but at least you preserve the sentiment in the original audio).

Besides, I think there’s something valuable lost when a movie is dubbed in American English—you lose the authentic flavor and character inherent in the film which makes it different and unique and original. Reading the translation of the script on the screen doesn’t affect that at all, and I think well worth the effort.

I have to make peace with being distracted by reading words on the screen while I’m watching a movie at the same time—it’s simply the price I have to pay because I’m not multilingual. I can live with it. Besides, I think the movie’s the better for it, rather than having the dialogue simply dubbed over by voice actors who inadvertently change the meaning and subtext of entire scenes.

I’m on this topic because I’ve recently been on an anime binge this past week where I’ve watched dozens of episodes of Japanese animation, all subtitled, and I got to thinking about the whole issue. My brother walked in on me watching one, hmmphed derisively and left. Well, to each his own.

Of course, there simply is no substitute for watching a movie in the native language in which it was made in. But until I get around to learning to speak in that language, I’m going to watch it subtitled. You can keep your fancy dubs.

Jul 7 2016

Batman kills

Adel Gabot


I really don’t know how to feel about director Zack Snyder’s revisionism of our classic comic book superheroes.

In Man of Steel he had Henry Cavill break the cardinal rule of being Superman: Do Not Kill Anybody, when he killed General Zod (Michael Shannon) to save a family from being burned to a crisp.

This is not to mention the many hundreds of others in Metropolis he indirectly killed when he went mano-a-mano with Zod in that urban battleground, people inadvertently crushed in the fallen buildings or killed in the streets and in their cars in the aftermath of their clash.

You don’t kill when you’re a superhero. Cardinal Rule No. 1. It’s easy to indiscriminately kill people when you’re that powerful, so the solution is never ever kill them, directly or indirectly. In fact, you take extra special care that you never do. It’s a line all the DC superheroes of my day never crossed.

It’s an old-fashioned Victorian aesthetic, a near-Puritan moral code that the comic books instituted in the old days because it was easy to cross the line when you reach the rarefied air of superhero-dom (to mix a couple of metaphors). Who decides who lives or dies? Superman? Who made him God?

Yet Snyder had Supie break that Cardinal Rule, that strict moral code, in the interest of cinematic license.

Now, again, he has Batman (Ben Affleck) doing the same thing in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now that they’ve released the Ultimate extended version, I got an even closer look at the movie, and I’m kinda appalled.

In fact, someone made a supercut (linked above) on YouTube detailing the Batman’s kill count in that film: 21 people, as far as we know. And that’s just in the days of the Batman-Superman thing. God knows how many he’s killed since he first became the Caped Crusader. And will kill in the future.

Hell, the Batman’s not even supposed to own guns, yet Snyder has him shooting from the hip with assault rifles and assorted weapons, killing the bad guys. It was another cardinal rule in the DC universe—you’re not supposed to own guns when you’re a superhero, and you’re never ever supposed to shoot anybody, even if they’re evil as all get out. Maybe with gas pellets or rubber bullets. Maybe, but only then.

Yet here we are. It’s the new 21st century morality.

Of course, I still enjoyed the movies as separate, independent entities from the comic book world, and I took them at their cinematic value.

But it’s never gonna be the same. Sheesh.

Jun 26 2016

The city with the worst traffic in the world

Adel Gabot



All right, now we’ve gone and done it. We got ourselves declared the city with the worst traffic in the world. See here.

Of course I don’t dispute it. Manila does have the worst traffic in the world, bar none. It comes from too many cars, and too little roads. Secondarily, from lack of discipline. It wouldn’t be so bad if we only followed the rules, but most Filipinos are thick-headed and look out only for themselves.

I don’t feel it much these days, because I sold my car and take public transport. I feel it when I take the cab sometimes, but my commutes are usually short, and for the long ones, like to the Makati Commercial Center or downtown Manila, I usually take the train. The few times I have to travel during rush hour and the trains are packed, I take the air conditioned bus and just sleep through the traffic.

But often, even the short rides are unbearable. Sometimes, the short 2.5 kilometer jeepney rides to Cubao take 30-45 minutes, particularly during rush hour. I could literally just hoof it, and it would take much less time. Believe me, because I’ve actually done it.

When you have to sit out hours-long traffic to traverse what should take you 30 minutes, you know something’s definitely wrong. Even President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte is planning to exercise emergency executive powers to finally solve the problem, I hear. I didn’t vote for you, but good luck, sir.

I’m reminded of one particularly horrible day when I was coming home from work and still drove a car. We were living in a quiet subdivision near Congressional Avenue back then. I was relatively near the house already, but the damn traffic wasn’t moving at all.

I got to maybe just six blocks from the house, and that was around 6PM. By 8:30 I had just moved a few car lengths ahead, and by 9:30 I decided to just leave the car on the curb and just walk home and come back for the car later around midnight.

I came back around 12:30, and the traffic still hadn’t moved much. I couldn’t believe it. I just went home again and slept, and came back at 6AM. Sometime in the early morning the traffic had cleared, and Congressional Avenue was nearly deserted, with just my car up on the sidewalk. I drove it back home and took the friggin day off.

I never did find out what caused that jam, and I never will. But when the world says we have the worst traffic in the world, I believe it.




Feb 1 2016

It’s February?

Adel Gabot


Dang. It’s frigging February!

And here I was still getting used to January. I can’t believe how fast time is flying. It’s as if Christmas was just yesterday. 2016 will be over before we know it. And I’ll be 54 this month!


In other news, Electronic Arts just announced this weekend their game Star Wars: Battlefront just reached 13 million copies sold in the two months it’s been out. Add me to that number.

Yes, I gave in and finally bought me a copy this weekend. Finally. After hemming and hawing and holding off all this time, and after everything I wrote about it being not really worth the money, here I was finally buying a copy.

Hell, it wasn’t as if I wasn’t getting a good deal  for it. Granted, it’s second hand, but that doesn’t really matter in the world of video games; it’s practically new! The guy was selling it for P1200, and I managed to get him to a flat P1k. The cheapest I’ve seen it previously was P1,800. It’s still selling at DataBlitz brand new for P2,500! Who could pass up a deal like that, I ask you?

I came across the game on the net just before leaving for brunch with Burt yesterday, on OLX. The guy had just posted it there just an hour before, and I was lucky to catch him early.  Met up with him in Trinoma after lunch, got it and went hurriedly home to play.

It turns out I got it just in time for the first major update too, and on the heels of the free Battle of Jakku update, so I’m not really missing anything (bitch of a download though). And I kind of like it or now. Turns out the full game is more fun than the beta, particularly the X-Wing dogfights, which was missing in that beta test.

Too bad I got it the same weekend as The Division beta came out, which means I gotta put off fully playing with Battlefront until that’s over. I’m playing The Division as much as I can before it expires. They extended it to tomorrow, which is fantastic. It’s shaping up to be a great game, with amazing graphics and gameplay I can live with. I just might buy this game when it comes out March 8.

Am I back to buying games as they come out? I certainly hope not.

At least I just wrapped up a writing project for January. At least the month wasn’t a total waste.

Dec 25 2015


Adel Gabot