Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 19 2004

I haven’t heard from one of my best friends in hig…

I haven’t heard from one of my best friends in high school, Shawn Lewis, in a while, in fact ever since he got a job working for Dreamworks, but a little googling reveals that he’s been busy, having a hand in Shrek 2 among other things. From this article:


For Shrek 2, character TDs Shawn Lewis and Gilbert Davoud teamed up with FX developer Jonathan Gibbs to create a new approach. Dubbed “Dynamic Crowd Control” (DCC), it enabled crowds to be run in the shot with complete character deformations computed at every frame.


Cool. Or course, I foresaw this back when Shawn had the first Amiga computer out of the factory while I was still playing Space Invaders on my  TI994A. He and I had a lot of fun making a couple of silly movies in high school. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be working together again.

Speaking of Shrek, I was watching the DVD of the first movie with the Chinese audio on, and discovered a few interesting things. First of all, many of the spoken lines don’t match the written Chinese subtitles. There are three kinds of Chinese subtitles, one traditional Mandarin, one simplified Mandarin, and one for Cantonese speakers. But the spoken Mandarin track was different about 20% of the time. I caught several translation mistakes, some obvious and others possibly a sign the translators gave up on communicating all of the nuances of the English. Donkey’s “please” when he’s asking Shrek if he can stay with him is translated as “I’m poor”, for example.

All in all they did a good job, though. Chinese Shrek speaks in a soft-toned Mandarin with a neutral accent, while Donkey has a thick Taiwanese accent, and he dips into pure Taiwanese many times. I have to say I find Chinese Donkey every bit as funny as Eddie Murphy’s Donkey; that guy did a great job. Fiona is played by a whiny-ish woman that sounds just like every other woman on Taiwanese TV, and Lord Farquad is equally unremarkable. One interesting thing is that the fellow doing the voice of Monsieur Hood was doing an exaggerated “foreigner” accent, the kind Taiwanese people like to affect to make fun of foreigners’ bad Chinese.  And the wolf’s “gan ma!” when Shrek discovers him in his bed had me laughing pretty hard, too. It’s almost like watching a different movie, and in this case that’s not a bad thing.

posted by Poagao at 3:05 pm  

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