In real life, even in the best of circumstances we often have to repeat ourselves to be understood by the people we're talking to.
In fiction, when conversations are taking place, they will sometimes benefit from a strange, localized phenomenon of crystal clear acoustics. It doesn't matter if they consist of several paragraphs of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
, the words will be heard without any trouble by both target and audience, even in the midst of a crowded nightclub dance floor being buzzed by a 747. A particularly handy feature for The Quiet One
, but also for action heroes making sure the villain hears their cool Pre-Mortem One-Liner
despite them both dangling from a speeding helicopter.
Sometimes you might have to go so far as to TALK! LOUDLY!
, but don't worry — unless it's a Plot Point
that you shouldn't hear each other
, then damn the acoustics, full speed ahead!
Related to Easily Overheard Conversation
, Seven Minute Lull
, Stage Whisper
and (distantly) Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic
, as well as Talking Is a Free Action
for a different sort of an unusually nonproblematic conversation.
Contrast Fake Static
, Plot-Based Voice Cancellation
and Sound Effect Bleep
for when the writers are inserting rather than ignoring audio obstacles.
Part of the Artistic License
Anime & Manga
- Bubblegum Crisis - The Tokyo: 2040 series has a great example in the episode "Minute by Minute". Priss and Leon have a quiet conversation together... while speeding down a highway on motorcycles. No evidence of radios here, and in fact it's even crazier because Leon is wearing an open face helmet while Priss's helmet is totally enclosed, which would muffle her voice even if they were at a dead stop.
- Both played straight and averted in Porco Rosso. Sometimes, people communicate plane-to-plane via morse code, as they did in real life. Other times, they simply shout, which in real life would have been impossible.
- In the Warhammer 40,000 comic book Blood And Thunder, the newly-proclaimed Ork Warboss Skyva gives a speech from the top of a Gargant (a war machine standing over a hundred meters tall) to the thousands of orks at its base.
- In Death Of The Family the Joker has crudely reattached his face and can still talk, but he shouldn't be able to control his lip movements and speak without mispronouncing certain words. (Think Nicolas Cage in Face/Off.)
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen actually shows the confrontation between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, something the original story by Arthur Conan Doyle that it's taken from, "The Final Problem", never bothered with (Watson just finds a letter and signs of a struggle and assumes what happened). Doyle thus sidestepped any problems of two men engaging in dialogue right next to a plunging, roaring waterfall, while Moore forges right through with sesquipedalian flair, as seen here.
- The Night of the Owls arc in DC's New 52 culminated in Batman #11, an excerpt of which serves as the trope image for this page. That panel isn't a fluke: all throughout a fight involving screaming jet engines, explosions, and men getting punched through brick walls, Lincoln March keeps up a steady stream of convoluted conversation regarding his back story.
- Averted in the Freefall Romance scene from Chapter 39 of Kyon Big Damn Hero. As it happens to skydivers and parachutists, it's normally impossible to speak to another person in such conditions. Yuki bypassed this by touching his skinsuit and transmitting her voice through bone conduction.
- Airplane! has a scene where a couple continue to have a conversation as one is standing in the doorway of a plane in the midst of takeoff and the other is running along on the ground beside it, in parody of the Train-Station Goodbye.
- In the movie Aliens, Bishop ends up in a very windy environment as he's calling down the reserve dropship. Even so, you'd think hollering into his headset to communicate with the people on the other end would be counterproductive, but they don't even flinch, and understand him just fine.
- Freejack has a scene where the hero is overheard talking by a camera crew from across the floor of a nightclub pounding with music.
- Full Metal Jacket The scene in the helicopter where the gunner is getting interviewed while firing his gun. I know aircraft have headsets and microphones, but i can't really think of many examples where they USE them as intended, instead they act as though they're protective in nature (IE gun range earmuffs) rather than communication devices - instead electing to raise their voice or shout over the DIN.
- Halloween: Resurrection: Sara is in a college classroom in the beginning. When the professor asks a question, and she answers, her voice is barely higher than a whisper, yet the professor hears her clearly and responds.
- The first Mission: Impossible movie features a climax where hero and villain are indeed hanging off a speeding helicopter. Following just behind a TGV Bullet Train travelling hundreds of kilometers per hour. In a tunnel. Given this it's probably just as well Ethan Hunt uses visual aids while shouting "Red Light! Green Light!", so that Phelps can properly recognize things are about to get a little 'splody.
- Averted for hilarity's sake in The Naked Gun, where a hitman tries to deliver a "message" to Drebin from the Big Bad by cursing and opening fire on him. Drebin's response:
- Revenge of the Red Baron has a doozy of an example of this trope. Two WWI pilots in open cockpit planes, dogfighting each other, are able to trade threats and insults through the communicative power of shouting their lines.
- Snake Eyes features Nicolas Cage's character Rick Santoro somehow not only hearing his cellphone ring while sitting in the front row of a crowded sports arena during a boxing match, but having a conversation on it with no problem.
- Averted in The Thing (2011). During the helicopter ride at the beginning, Carter, one of the pilots, waves at passenger Kate to put on the headset next to her so that they can talk clearly.
- At the end of the film version of 300, the narrator is talking to an army of over ten thousand men. Somehow, the guys way in the back who are probably half a mile away, hear him perfectly fine.
- Humorously averted in Kung Fu Panda 2. After Lord Shen has shot Po with a cannon, he sails his ships to open sea in order to conquer all of China. Then he sees Po atop a roof far away. Po stands heroically and then starts giving an inspiring speech... except no one can hear him. After a few confused "What?"'s, Shen gives up trying to understand Po and just orders his troops to fire.
- The Two Towers. When Saruman is addressing his army of ten thousand Uruk-hai, his voice appears to be magnified by magical means. However in the extended version of Return of the King Saruman speaks to the protagonists from the top of Orthanc and no similar effect is used (online cartoon spoof site Sev Trek suggested that he was using his pointy wizard's hat as a megaphone).
- This Is the End: Even a roaring party is not loud enough to prevent gentle knocking being heard at the front door.
- In Point Break, Bohdi and Johnny Utah have a conversation in freefall.
- The climax of Horton Hears a Who! has the entire worldwide (speckwide?) population of Whos making as much noise as they can in a last ditch attempt to be heard by animals other than Horton. It doesn't work, until the addition of the shout of one small child makes all the difference.
- Redshirts: During a battle, Chief Engineer West replies to comments by Abernathy and Q'eeng just after entering the bridge, meaning he was somehow able to hear them through a door, with red alert sirens blaring.
- The first Twilight book features Edward and Bella holding a conversation while he runs at superhuman speed and she clings to his back. In some cases, the dialogue even states that they are whispering, despite the fact that the wind whipping past their heads should make even yelling next to inaudible, at least for an ordinary human like Bella.
- House MD - The episode with the rocker with epilepsy triggered by chaotic music. House brings in a marshal stack and plays REALLY LOUD MUSIC... and then asks "so what were your inspirations for this" over the cacophony.
- How I Met Your Mother - Averted in the fifth episode of the first season. The gang goes out to a nightclub, and while on the dance floor no one can hear each other, except when there's momentary lulls in the music.
- Both played straight and averted in Perry Mason, depending on the episode. Some witnesses would whisper or sob during their big moments and be heard perfectly; other times the judge would instruct them to speak up.
- The Mythbusters examined the plausibility of the Point Break example above by having another skydiver tell Grant a "pull my finger" joke in freefall. The joke was completely inaudible.
- Adventure Time both averts and plays this straight in the episode "Belly of the Beast". Finn and Jake are first ignored and then misunderstood as they try to talk to some bears in the middle of a noisy rave party, but then in the same space they have a quiet conversation with another bear with no problems.
- In Bee Movie, there are numerous cases when you have to wonder how is it possible that everyone can hear a tiny bee crystal clear, no matter the distance. It gets especially stupid during Barry's speeches in the court during a trial, where he doesn't use a microphone or anything like that, and yet everyone can perfectly hear him.
- Used hugely in SWAT Kats. Sometimes they would avert it, by having aircraft-to-aircraft conversations take place via radio or video comms channels, but oftentimes people would just say things, and the SWAT Kats would be able to somehow hear them inside their active supersonic jet. Really, the noise from the Turbokat was just severely played down or outright eliminated in a lot of circumstances, otherwise talking and sound effects would just be blared out by engine noise.