The prevalence of voice overs

A few days ago me and my dad started watching a movie called “Norikos Dinner Table.” We decided to quit halfway through to finish another time. One reason was because it was getting late, but another reason is because the movie already burned us out

And that is solely due to the excessive amount of voice over in the movie. Seriously, it was like every 3 seconds we were bombarded with voice overs, and this went on for the first half of the movie.  And this was made worse by the fact that some of it wasn’t even necessary for following the story. And this has brought me to write about the pervasiveness of voice overs, and why they need to stop.

Film is a visual medium. A little voiceover if absolutely necessary is fine, but the bulk of the story should be given to the audience visually. I will admit that documentary have more license to use voiceover, but for a narrative focused movie the story should primarily be told through visuals(and dialogue i suppose). Another movie that suffered through a bit too much voice over was Kick-ass(and that two glaring plotholes, but that’s another post).

In the comic book i’m sure it worked fine, but on screen it was didn’t really work so well. So to any current or future filmmakers, calm down on the voiceovers.

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5 Responses to The prevalence of voice overs

  1. Bontempsbeau says:

    Hey, Julian! It’s Primitive Boomstick from IMDB. Followed you here from the thread! Got you bookmarked, so I’ll drop by.

    Now, please reciprocate; I’m trying to bring some funk to the board. Can you help?

  2. rtm says:

    I see your point, Julian, yeah that can be distracting, especially if it’s unnecessary, which sounds like it was for that movie. If it’s done right, it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I LOVE Cate Blanchett’s narration in the Lord of the Rings movies, and to me, her voice helps me understand the story better and is also nice to hear. But when I saw Clash of the Titans, I was annoyed by Gemma Arterton’s narration, so I guess it really depends.
    I actually didn’t notice the VO too much whilst watching Kick-Ass, believe it or not. But I see your point about the plot holes. I responded to your comment on my post yesterday.

    • Well i wasn’t bothered much by the narration in Clash of the Titans, but then again i didn’t exactly have high expectations for that. And on first viewing the narration in Kick-Ass wasn’t that noticeable to me, but the extreme voiceover in Norikos Dinner Table really turned me off voiceovers, and i think at least some of the voiceover in Kick-Ass could have been cut. I actually think it might have been another reason why Kick-Ass didn’t do so well at the box office. But i will agree like all cinematic techniques voiceover can be done right.

  3. Dan says:

    I tend to agree with you. I think you should ‘show’ not ‘tell’ in a movie like literature and voice-over becomes a lazy way of getting across story information. In a similar way I don’t like flashbacks – I prefer to see the story told in its present form that be constantly reminded the present is stood still while we get lots of exposition in flashback.

    However, there are films that have used voice-over and flashback perfectly well (Quentin Tarantino does it with skill and inventiveness). But they are few and far between.

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