MotoGP Unlimited criticised for restrictive audio options

MotoGP’s Amazon series launch has been, ironically, rather restrictive.

MotoGP Unlimited criticised for restrictive audio options

WHEN Formula One launched their Drive to Survive series on Netflix, it was a hit. The show was designed to bring more people, especially from America, to the sport, by highlighting the dramatic moments that happen through an F1 season as well as the characters involved in the sport both on and off the track. 

The show was a success because the narrative elements and dramatic storytelling were allowed to take centre-stage. From the manipulation of footage and audio - not dissimilar to what we see in dramatic movies and TV shows - to the heightening of rivalries that, when watching races live, almost don’t exist, the show was captivating and entertaining.

It also achieved its goal, which was highlighted by the monumental attendance at last year’s US Grand Prix, when over 300,000 people turned up to watch 20 F1 cars bounce their way across the Circuit of the Americas’ ripply track surface. 

MotoGP Unlimited was designed to do the same thing, just on a different platform: Amazon. Growing in America seems an important thing for any sport at the minute, and the success of Drive to Survive meant the commissioning of a documentary for MotoGP was an obvious choice for series owners Dorna. 

It also seemed to be a success, with press reviews last month being mostly positive and the promise of insights to MotoGP’s 2021 season fans otherwise would not have seen. 

However, at least for the English-language audience, the show has- at least for the moment - been largely ruined by the fact that it is impossible to turn off the audio description. 

This might have been brought upon us by the complaints from some across the internet that the non-English-language parts of the show were subtitled. Regardless, the choice to release the series without the option to turn off the audio description seems a major oversight.

Since the regular sound is audible underneath the audio description, the show is hard to listen to and difficult to watch. On a personal note, I turned off after two minutes, deciding in its current state that MotoGP Unlimited is unwatchable.

The voice actors detract from the personalities of the riders - which surely is half the point of the show, and something they in fact want to highlight - and make the show generally hard to follow. 

Should the audio description be there? Yes, of course. Not everyone is able to read subtitles. However, should the audio description be able to be switched off? Yes, since some people prefer to read subtitles than have the audio dubbed over. And, judging by the (admittedly generally unauthoritative and unreliable) overwhelmingly negative Twitter reaction, that is most people. 

It is a bizarre editorial decision to remove the option to have English subtitles with no audio dubbing, and it is certainly one that needs to be reversed.