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Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

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View Poll Results: Celebrity Voicing : does it really add anything?
Yes
12
22.22%
No
42
77.78%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Old 10-16-09, 02:39 PM
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Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

EDIT: I meant to have the thread title changed upon reading my post. I think a more appropriate one is what the poll is: are celebrity voices really necessary these days?


I remember when I was a kid and an animated or muppet based movie was released, there never was an attempt to call attention to the voices. Most of this was due to the fact that they were typically done by TV/professional cartoon actors and all that really mattered was the story. It was always fun to stay after the credits and see who voiced whom when I got older, but it was never an influence on the movie. I saw the characters, not the individual typically associated with them in a live-action picture.

While Disney somewhat started it with Aladdin and Robin Williams, it seems that in recent years (kind of starting with Shrek) animated films are starting to rely on celebrity voices moreso in their movies, and sometimes the voice can be distracting from the movie as you cannot shake the typical visage of the actor. While I have yet to see the movie, whenever I see a spot for Where the Wild Things Are and the character of Carol is speaking, I can't help but picture Tony Soprano and half expect and F-bomb to follow. I actually think this is a shame as there are most likely a lot of good voice actors who could have done this just as well as the A-list celebrities, but for some reason they decided to get a star. It seems like Dreamworks Animation does this the most, as I recently watched Kung-Fu Panda and was really only aware of Jack Black being the voice. When I watched the credits I was surprised to see a who's who of A-listers for the most part. The same with Monseters vs. Aliens. Did they really need Reese Witherspoon and Seth Rogen to get people into the theater? Not really, but their voices are so distinct I couldn't help but see the characters as the actors as opposed to the actual characters.

Last edited by Dr. DVD; 10-16-09 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 10-16-09, 02:43 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

As a rule, I much prefer actual voice actors over real-life actors. I don't find it distracting so much as I do boring, because they are just doing themselves, more or less. I didn't find it distracting in Where The Wild Things Are, but then again, the actors they chose weren't really huge names. The one that worries me the most coming up is Fantastic Mr. Fox; all of the voices in that one I hear and immediately think of the actors. The movie itself looks good, but the voice acting seems like it will b ea problem. Pixar though, seems to have done an alright job with it and they use a lot of actors to voice their characters. But again, they aren't consistently using the biggest names around, so maybe that's part of it.
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Old 10-16-09, 03:28 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

It doesn't bother me or really affect my opinion of the animated character or movie at all. The only time that it really stood out for me was Will Smith in Shark Tale.

In the case of Kung Fu Panda, Jack Black was absolutely perfect so it fit.
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Old 10-16-09, 03:33 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

You should report your own post so that the thread title can be changed. Otherwise your poll results will come out weird.
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Old 10-16-09, 03:46 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I voted wrongly. I don't think it adds anything.

In some cases like Aladdin, it worked becaues Williams brings all these different voices in.

Other times when people bring in DeNiro and Scorsese, or Christian Bale, it seems like they're not really getting them for what they can bring to the animated character but more so that adults will go to see it. Like ANGELINA JOLIE as a FISH in the new WILL SMITH animated movie.

I guess Toy Story was another example for the big studios to use more well known actors. But I think with Pixar is a little better about it, making sure the voice actors atleast bring something more to the table than just their name and even then it's more on the performance. Craig T Nelson isn't a popular actor these days but he was the star of The Incredibles and his voice was perfect for the character.

I don't mind big names when the performance trancends the name like Jeremy Irons in The Lion King.
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Old 10-16-09, 03:51 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

When script changes are made to accommodate the celebrity cast ("Git ER done!!!!!!!!!!"), it becomes a problem.
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Old 10-16-09, 04:01 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Generally no but everything I've seen Seth Rogen do is ALWAYS distracting.
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Old 10-16-09, 04:06 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
When script changes are made to accommodate the celebrity cast ("Git ER done!!!!!!!!!!"), it becomes a problem.
Not always.

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Old 10-16-09, 04:10 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I think Aladdin is less timeless than other Disney movies from the same period because of all the pop-culture references. It was funny at the time, but nowadays Arsenio Hall is hardly relevant.
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Old 10-16-09, 04:12 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I'll agree that it's dated the film a bit but cut the genie out of Aladdin and you've got a pretty weak movie. That character alone elevates the film several levels.
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Old 10-16-09, 04:32 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I prefer actual voice actors as well. It's sometimes nice to hear an old-school celeb voicing a character, but I don't need A-listers to be doing the job. I highly doubt anyone goes to see an animated movie because an actor they like is providing their voice.
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Old 10-16-09, 04:44 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I thought the worse voice casting was Dreamwork's Sinbad CGI animated film - Brad Pitt's voice was sooooo bland.

The Washington Post's review of 'Where the Wild Things Are' thought the voicing of James Gandolfini for the role of Carol was very out of place.
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Old 10-16-09, 04:45 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
When script changes are made to accommodate the celebrity cast ("Git ER done!!!!!!!!!!"), it becomes a problem.
one of the many reasons I couldn't stand Pixar's Cars
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Old 10-16-09, 04:52 PM
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re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I find the Wilhelm-scream more distracting.
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Old 10-16-09, 05:06 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I think Aladdin is less timeless than other Disney movies from the same period because of all the pop-culture references. It was funny at the time, but nowadays Arsenio Hall is hardly relevant.
Doesn't the Genie do quite a bit of impersonations when they first find him in the cave? I could swear he does a Groucho one.
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Old 10-16-09, 05:12 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

I've been very vocal about this for years: Celebrity voices do far more harm than good when selling the world of the movie. Only Pixar has been able to consistently use known celebrities without it completely taking me out of the movie. There have been one or two movies where I felt the actor was doing a genuine character, and thus was actually acting and could justify their role, but 99% of celebrity voice acting is just the celebrity reading the script. Fantastic Mr. Fox looks incredibly guilty of this. I actually would have preferred it had Wes Anderson shot it live action with everyone in animal suits.

I've had the pleasure of spending some time with actual voice actors for shows like Futurama, and the talent they have is astonishing. To think that they are losing work to celebrities, many of whom are famous for how they look, not how they sound, is truly depressing.
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Old 10-16-09, 05:25 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

The problem isn't Hollywood. It's you. If you can't xesp%rate James G's Tony Soprano character from his voice work in WtWTA then who's fault is that?

Last edited by Giantrobo; 10-17-09 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 10-16-09, 06:00 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Giantrobo View Post
The problem isn't Hollywood. It's you. If you can't desperate James G's Tony Soprano character from his voice work in WtWTA then who's fault is that?
If I can't desperate??


I'm not saying I detest JG in the role, I'm just saying when I hear his voice in the previews I think of Tony Soprano and it could prove distracting. I hope I'm wrong, but sometimes when an actor is so identified with a role that it makes it close to impossible to "desperate".
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Old 10-16-09, 06:02 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Giantrobo View Post
The problem isn't Hollywood. It's you. If you can't desperate James G's Tony Soprano character from his voice work in WtWTA then who's fault is that?
Lonely tonight? Thoughts spilling out randomly into posts?
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Old 10-16-09, 06:04 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Yes I've noticed this disturbing new trend in puppet movies.
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Old 10-16-09, 07:29 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post

I've had the pleasure of spending some time with actual voice actors for shows like Futurama, and the talent they have is astonishing. To think that they are losing work to celebrities, many of whom are famous for how they look, not how they sound, is truly depressing.

This is very true.

I work in Radio and I've said this before that for MANY years Actors looked down on Voice work jobs in animation, commercials, radio**, and other areas the way many Film actors look down on TV work and how some Stage actors look down on Film.

That has most certainly changed. I have VO Friends who told me about how they would go to auditions and how they're competing with well known actors and that was 5 years ago. Actors have realized that VO work in some ways is an easy buck. You come in for a couple hours if that, then BAM ...FAT CHECK.

lest we forget that in the beginning, many Entertainment Legends started in Radio...

Last edited by Giantrobo; 10-16-09 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 10-16-09, 07:31 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
If I can't desperate??


I'm not saying I detest JG in the role, I'm just saying when I hear his voice in the previews I think of Tony Soprano and it could prove distracting. I hope I'm wrong, but sometimes when an actor is so identified with a role that it makes it close to impossible to "desperate".
It's a fuckin ' typo. I was typing in a mad rage!!!

I get what you're saying, but I think that's where you put in the effort to not think about those other roles and let the actor's work that you're currently viewing stand on its own.

Originally Posted by KillerCannibal View Post
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Old 10-16-09, 07:39 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Yes, it does add something.

About 5 million to the film's budget.
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Old 10-16-09, 09:36 PM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
I'm not saying I detest JG in the role, I'm just saying when I hear his voice in the previews I think of Tony Soprano and it could prove distracting. I hope I'm wrong, but sometimes when an actor is so identified with a role that it makes it close to impossible to "desperate".
For me though, I didn't associate the voice at all. Of course, I wasn't a regular Sopranos watcher. I think a lot of the celebrity voices can work or not work depending on how exposure someone has had to the actor. With the Cars example, except for the single catch phrase, I had no problem with Mater. I never watched Larry the Cable because I saw his act once and didn't like so never paid attention. So, when he voiced the character, I had no problem separating it.
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Old 10-17-09, 12:01 AM
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Re: Celebrity Voices in animated/puppet movies: Does it really add anything?

Once celebrity voice that I will give a lot of credit to is Nic Cage in G-Force. I spotted all the other voice actors within a few lines. I had no clue the Mole was Nic Cage until the credits.

A great example though of a celebrity voice being useless is Hugo Weaving in the Transformers films. His voice is run through so much post production, there's no reason they couldn't have just stuck with Frank Welker, who was apparently good enough for the games though.
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