I love films and tv, but my days of ‘properly watching’ them are far behind me now. Thankfully the use of audio description has increased while my ability to see has decreased.
Netflix made history last year by airing the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil Series with audio descript, followed by Gotham.
AD enables me to understand all the visual elements on the screen by having a voice over describe it, the voice over only speaks when there is a gap or natural break in dialog, they do not talk over the programme.
So, now I have explained the theory of AD, I shall now explain my current conundrum.
Have you ever watched or heard the voice of an actor and instantly thought of an iconic character they have played?
For example, hearing Alan Rickman, I instantly think of The Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
For me, the person who is voicing the audio description can do the exact same thing.
This evening when ‘watching’ the 2010 Tim Burton adaptation of Alice and Wonderland, this very thing occurred.
The voice of James O’Hara, the man from Deluxe (the company that provides sub-titles and audio descript for many forms of entertainment) has a very particular tone, articulated and even sarcastic at times, it is easily recognisable.
However, this time hearing his tones give a completely different and more sinister twist on this already obscure story, as always he is very good in his descriptions, explaining in detail parts of the film that have been deliberately visualised to show the cross over between Wonderland and the ‘real’ world.
James is however, the regular discriber for the Stan Lee, Marvel movies.
Now, do you see my predicament?
He is the voice that explains how Tony Stark builds the first Iron Man suit; to escape from his captors. The voice that describes Thor fighting with the Hulk, in the Avengers and He is the voice that explains how Captian America is transformed from the asthmatic, skinny, failing cadet.
It would be like hearing the cockney Englishman Jason Statham (from films such as; The Bank Job and The Transporter franchise) performing Shakespeare.
I found myself waiting for an agent from S.H.E.I.L.D. to arrive.
Yes I do understand the choice, he is able to explain the fantasy, the surreal and the magical. He was the perfect choice; just as no one else could now ever play Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible other than Tom Cruise.
Oh the things you think of when your imagination fills the blanks between seeing and hearing.
So, to quote The Cheshire Cat;
“I’m not crazy, my reality is just different to yours”