Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rocky vs Sound - round one *ding*

So, I was watching ‘Rocky’ for a script analysis class I’m also taking this semester. I was watching it on my laptop with headphones but I didn’t realize I had my headphones on backwards. I didn’t notice during the first fight scene and through the dialogue but shortly after in the sequence where he was walking home, it was extremely disturbing watching the images and hearing the pan action happening in the wrong ear. (I think it was the sound of a train going by that made me yank my headphones off.)

A little later in the film, there’s a scene where Rocky is talking to his boss and driver. Rocky was standing outside the car leaning in through the open window and having a conversation with them but as they switched back from a wider shot to a shot a little closer in, I noticed that the sound quality, the ambiance noise, didn’t quite match between the two shots. As they switched back and forth it became more noticeable to me how different the quality was. Now, I was suppose to be watching this as a script analysis and perhaps I wouldn't have noticed it as much if I wasn’t wearing headphones, but it dawned on me how flaws in sound really can stick out like a sore thumb and detract from the ‘reality’ of film. I guess it’s like they say, good sound goes unnoticed but bad sound, whether it’s in the edit or in errors in playback, is unforgivable.

I have to mention the ultimate nondiegetic moment of Rocky running up the stairs at the end of his successful training montage. As the ‘Theme from Rocky’ plays through and all of a sudden the choir of voices starts singing “getting strong now, won’t be long now - gonna fly now, flying high now” – for a moment it felt like it was a musical – and as bizarre as it is, I couldn’t help but embrace it, after all it was Rocky – and how can you turn your back to the distinct seventies sound of blaring horns, soaring strings, vintage electro sounds and disco drums. Yo, Adrian.

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