(Big name star) as the voice of... Ugh!

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Vermithrax 4

Well-Known Member
Just wondering if anyone else has grown weary of big name stars always being cast as voices in animated features. I mean, didn't there used to be such a thing as voiceover artists, like Mel Blanc, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, Paul Frees and Robie Lester. Yeah, I know big names have been used for years, even as far back as the Rankin-Bass days, but it just seems to me that modern-day productions are desperate to just stick as big a name on the character as they can, even though the actor may have absolutely no talent for voiceover work and whether or not his/her voice even fits the type of character. This is probably going to sound like sacrilege but Tom Hanks' voice in no way fit the character of Woody in "Toy Story". I mean did he sound anything like a cowboy? No. And did Kesley Grammer sound anything like an old prospector? Again, no. This is just a pet peeve of mine and I was just curious if anyone else shared it. :)
 
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Larry Young

Master Member
I thought Tom Hanks' folksy 21st century Jimmy Stweart was perfect for Woody, who isn't supposed to be a cowboy, but Andy's dead father's toy and surrogate. I think Hank and Allen are perfect.

I'll agree with you on Grammer, though.
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
There are so many really good professional voice actors out there but studios think adding a big star will help even when it takes away from the character. You see Disney do this all the time when they bring an anime over, they'd rather get an ill fitting star than an actor who does anime and is used to the style. I remember back in the 90s one anime had Elizabeth Berkley (from Showgirls) and Kiefer Sutherland and neither really fit the characters. The exception was Warner Bros keeping the same actors for a decade starting with Batman the Animated series all the way to Justice league unlimited.
 

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Talisen

Sr Member
Generally, I don't have any problem, given that the voice fits the character. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were perfect. I saw a presentation from Pixar years ago that played a few other choices with a bit of early animation and none worked.

Hell, I'll spend half the film wracking my brain for the name of an actor I'm hearing. We watched Rango last night and even though I knew it was Johnny Depp, I wasn't distracted, he put a lot of character and nuance in his voice that it didn't sound like Depp. The rest of the cast were known actors but fairly average as far as vocalizations went so it wasn't until the credit could I place the voice.

The only time it gets to be an issue is when the actors voice is instantly recognizable (morgan freeman or James Earl Jones for example) unless it's part of the effect. Or I would get annoyed if the entire film is based around the character that's simply a spoof of that actor (sharks tale, Antz), thankfully, Dreamworks learned that it doesn't work.

Miyazaki's films that Disney has recently re-dubbed have been extremely well done. Even Billy Crystal's flame creature from Howl's moving castle works.

If you watch a lot of recent superhero type cartoons, you'll see a lot of character voice actors (the recent Mel blancs of the day I guess) with the occasional Face actor thrown in. Fred Tatasciore or Tara Strong both do a lot of voice work across the board (movies, TV and video games)
 

dblv25

New Member
We lost the best "cross-over" star this year in Mark Hamill. He's one of the best, and his voice as the Joker will be missed
 

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Wes R

Legendary Member
Generally, I don't have any problem, given that the voice fits the character. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were perfect. I saw a presentation from Pixar years ago that played a few other choices with a bit of early animation and none worked.

Hell, I'll spend half the film wracking my brain for the name of an actor I'm hearing. We watched Rango last night and even though I knew it was Johnny Depp, I wasn't distracted, he put a lot of character and nuance in his voice that it didn't sound like Depp. The rest of the cast were known actors but fairly average as far as vocalizations went so it wasn't until the credit could I place the voice.

The only time it gets to be an issue is when the actors voice is instantly recognizable (morgan freeman or James Earl Jones for example) unless it's part of the effect. Or I would get annoyed if the entire film is based around the character that's simply a spoof of that actor (sharks tale, Antz), thankfully, Dreamworks learned that it doesn't work.

Miyazaki's films that Disney has recently re-dubbed have been extremely well done. Even Billy Crystal's flame creature from Howl's moving castle works.

If you watch a lot of recent superhero type cartoons, you'll see a lot of character voice actors (the recent Mel blancs of the day I guess) with the occasional Face actor thrown in. Fred Tatasciore or Tara Strong both do a lot of voice work across the board (movies, TV and video games)
I'm probably the only person who does this but I always try to figure out the voice actors, especially ones who do a wide range like Tara Strong. The one who has been doing a lot of work lately is John DiMaggio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I never knew he did so much other than Bender but even his take on the Joker in Batman: Under the Red Hood was really great and even had a slight hint of mark Hamill to it.
 

Vermithrax 4

Well-Known Member
A lot of great insight here, I appreciate all the responses.

I was never a fan of Hamill's Joker, I always thought he made the character totally silly instead of menacing, more like Ceasar Romero. But then again I didn't necessarily grow up with that series, my true Joker was Nicholson and it was tough getting past that. But all the other voice actors in BATMAN: TAS are outstanding.

It's interesting to compare two similar films, "Babe", that didn't use any notable actors as voices and "Charlotte's Web" that has a major name doing just about every animal voice in the film. "Babe" is clearly the better film, imo. Every voice in "Charlotte's Web" sounds like the actor came into the studio, read their lines as quickly as they could, got paid, then bolted. Julia Roberts was terrible as Charlotte and even Sam Shepard turned in a very lackluster narration. I mean seriously, why cast Robert Redford to play a horse? Reba McIntyre as a cow??? At least the animated "Charlotte" from the 70s has Debbie Reynolds as a very matronly Charlotte.
 

Java

Sr Member
Oh man, Hamill's Joker was a great balance between silly, maniacal and deadly. To me he got the Joker right.

I recently watched "Gnomeo and Juliet" (hey I have kids, back off :p )

I think ALL the voices were famous people and I must say they did a great job. I do agree with the OP though, voice actors of the past seem to be non-existent and the studios go with "big names" to improve the box office.
 

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IndyBlues

Sr Member
Sylvester Stallone as the voice of the lion in The Zookeeper,.....oof!!

It was horrible,... And I'm a fan, lol.
Mike
 

cayman shen

Master Member
There are plenty of amazing voice actors who simply don't have a knack for traditional acting. It's a shame to see them edged out due to star power. Often times those dedicated to voice acting as their sole career are better too...
 

Talisen

Sr Member
I was just reminded that Billy Crystal was originally supposed to play Buzz Lightyear - imagine that!
 

Jeyl

Master Member
This is the absolute worst.

Justing Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney. Who did they voice?

Alvin, Simon and Theodore in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.

It's one thing to have big celebrities who can't really bring modest voice work to a character, but this was just insulting since you can't even recognize their voices when it's sped up like that! You could have Cate Blanchett as the voice of a chipmunk and it would sound the same.
 

Nwerke

Master Member
We lost the best "cross-over" star this year in Mark Hamill. He's one of the best, and his voice as the Joker will be missed
Jesus, Hamill's dead? What happened??! How did I miss this?

Don't do that to me. :lol
 

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