Today: February 24, 2024

Janet’s Animation Corner: Listen Up

Home debuted last week and for a while I had been intrigued by the squishy looking purple alien Oh and his bright-eyed, luscious haired accomplice, Tip. So much so that I had been prepared to shell out the standard thirty pounds plus for two tickets and the necessary supplies such as nachos, pic n mix and popcorn for the kid. That was until I cast a glance at the voice line-up for the film. Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez and so on. The sheer, absolute horror! Bleeding ears …the works.

Now I have nothing against Rihanna or the rest and I adore Jim Parsons with immense stalker-type affection but how on Earth am I supposed to get lost in the wonder of another world with the phrase Bazinga running through my head? The same thing happened when I cottoned on to Queen B (Beyonce’s) unique voice in the film Epic and there it was, the lyrics Love on Top cutting through the cinematic action.

Is it just me? Am I the only one who has to make a conscious effort to stay locked into the magical world of animation once I hear a celebrity voice? The same thing happened when I made the (probably obvious) discovery that Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera is the voice of Berk’s dragon riding, axe wielding Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon. Since then I can’t help but repeatedly conjure up her face throughout the movie.

When did this happen? When did celebrities claim ownership of the voices of the animation world? And what happened to all the traditional voice actors? The ones trained to manipulate their vocal cords so that their voices sound so convincingly unlike their own you have no choice but to wholeheartedly believe in this new being flashing across the screen? I’m talking about the likes of Elizabeth Daily (Tommy Pickles from the Rugrats), Bart Simpsons’ Nancy Cartwright and legendary Mel Blanc who brought to life some of our favourite characters. From Daffy Duck and Tweety bird in Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Barney Rubble and Dino in the Flintstones, he shaped them all.

Did I think Ferrera does a great job in Dragons? Of course. Did I enjoy Robin Williams’ distinctive tone as the Genie in Aladdin? Absolutely. But there’s something even more enthralling about being able to separate the person from the character.

Whereas these celebrity actors/singers offer us one voice, one range there are voice actors out there who hold multiple characters in their cords. Who know how to bend and shape their voice to fit the traits and personalities of the characters created. The ones that sound individually unique. It’s an art, a skill that is being wasted, slowly replaced by the one-dimension offerings of the ever changing A-list group.

It’s time animation stopped resting on gimmicky Hollywood stars to draw in audiences and began putting their trust back in trained voice actors.  A whole host of amazing talents could be out there and we’re missing them because we’re being suckered into the comical enchantments of actors like Eddie Murphy (Mulan’s Mushu). Enough. There’s a time and a place for the razzle dazzle of the celebrity voices in animation and it should be occasional. Let’s leave the hard work of voice acting to the multi-voiced experts of the field. After all you wouldn’t trust your GP to perform open-heart surgery just because they’re medically trained would you? Of course not, you’d leave it to the professionals

Previous Story

The Day We Sang

Next Story

Fear Clinic

Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Billions Complete Series Unboxing

As Paul Giamatti remains a frontrunner in the race for this year’s Academy Award for Best Actor with his beautifully layered performance in The Holdovers, there’s no better time to catch up

Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy Unboxing

The heat is on. Eddie Murphy’s beloved street-smart Detroit cop Axel Foley is coming back to our screens in the highly-anticipated fourth entry in the Beverly Hills Cop series this summer, so

Footloose Steelbook Unboxing

One of the quintessential films of the 1980s, the endearingly cheesy Footloose has a ridiculous premise – a town that bans dancing – but it’s hard not to get swept up in

Slaughter in San Francisco

A gloriously trashy slice of kung fu film-making, Slaughter in San Francisco, AKA Yellow-Faced Tiger, was producer Raymond Chow’s attempt to capitalise on Hong Kong cinema’s sudden explosion of popularity in the West. Released in 1974,
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Netflix 2022 Movie Preview

This month Netflix offered up a preview of the year’s

Timberlake Talks Tuneful Trolls

DreamWorks’ Trolls is a hair-raising comedy filled with unbelievable adventure