I didn’t realize this at first while I was writing this article but apparently we’re at the 15th anniversary of Digimon! I can’t believe it, that’s about 3/5th of my life! It’s certainly interesting to think about. Digimon was one of those fast fads that only lasted a year or two. Apparently, the creators knew that as well. A little more than a year after it premiered in America, the Digimon movie came out and we went fucking bananas. It was almost the same hype as the Pokemon movie. I really wanted to see it in theaters but my parents didn’t take me much to my chagrin.
When I finally saw it on VHS about a year later, I realized that this was not a very good movie!
The movie wasn’t good because the American producers wanted to tie three independent movies together to make a coherent plot and this failed miiiiserably. Each of the three parts seem so distant from each other that no amount of forced cohesion could make it work. Even the three parts of the movie varied in how good they were. The first two parts were great but the third part was just baaaaaad.
Even so, the second part of the movie (whose original title was “Our War Game”) was definitely the best. Talk to any Digimon fan about this movie and they can agree that the second part was amazing. Hell, if the producers had cut out the third part and just leave the first two parts in, the Digimon movie would have been many times better.
As such, is the Dub as good if not better than the Sub? Well, no, but it is certainly close.
For one thing both the Dub and the Sub had stellar voice acting. By now, the voice actors know their characters so well that emotional and comical moments are top notch. Mona Marshall, who voices English Izzy, is fantastic and really nails her character. Izzy always works best as Tai’s wingman and the chemistry between these two buds has never been this tight.
And I have to give credit to the Dub for really highlighting the heroes’ difficult task of defeating Diaboromon. He’s strong, he’s unforgiving and to top it off, Wargreymon and Metalgarurumon are becoming more and more sluggish thanks to the constant emails.
So where does the Dub go wrong?
Well, besides the forced plot cohesion, many small things add up that would have otherwise been trivial. Kari’s unnecessary narration is like…ugh…just shut uuuuup. We don’t need exposition for every god damn scene that has no dialogue! The forced plot cohesion mentioned earlier is uncomfortably wedged in and really sets the film back. Besides that, the Sub’s comical moments are tighter and feel more natural.
The primary source I would point to is the Dub’s music which is kind of inappropriate. The pop music can distract the viewer’s attention when it should be focused on the plot. The Sub’s soundtrack, on the other hand, includes not just the original theme but symphonic songs as well. In particular, Ravel’s Bolero, one of my favorite classical pieces, is used extremely well in this movie.
Ravel’s Bolero starts slow and builds and builds and builds and builds upon itself! It starts with a slow drumbeat and ends with blaring trumpets and a crashing beat! And this is exactly what Our War Game is about. A threat whose strength increases slowly and slowly until it becomes and almost unstoppable threat. Great use of that song.
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” is another song that is used inexplicably well during the lighter and more comical moments of the film. It really gets you going as you watch these preteens try their damndest to stop Diaboromon even when half of their team is out of commission.
And this brings me to my overall point. The Sub doesn’t take itself too seriously. Like a clown trying to balance on a tight rope, you know you need to be worried but you also know everything’s going to be alright in the end. The Dub on the other hand is too confused on what it wants to be. It wants to be serious but the corny jokes oversaturate the movie and end up confusing it.
As a final note, as much as I criticize the Dub’s soundtrack, there is one part in the Dub where the music worked to its advantage incredibly well.
The birth of Omnimon is done quite differently between the Sub and Dub and whereas normally the Sub would be better, here they’re on near equal footing.
Have a look. Here’s the Dub
Alright, now here’s the Sub
Whereas the Dub’s music is uplifting and suits that of a hero being born, the Sub’s music is intense and seems more like the birth of Jesusmon (which he basically is). Nonetheless, with such different interpretations of Omnimon the end results work out incredibly well and fits nicely for both movies (however, the Dub is once again ruined by pop music so boooooo).
So in the end, the Sub won out. But the comparison is not done yet! There’s a movie out there that is so strikingly similar to Digimon: Our War Game that many articles have been written about it. I aim to throw my hat in as well when next week I compare Our War Game to Summer Wars.