|Ellen DeGeneres as Dory|
Here's a sampling of animated films currently in production in Europe: a Poland/Spain/Belgium/Germany co-production set in 1975 about a Polish journalist in Angola writing about the civil war. A fantasy film from Belgium and France about a tween girl who makes a deal with the devil to become a witch. A modern-day fairy tale from France and Canada about a third-world homeless boy out to stop the growth of a dictatorship in his homeland through his dreams. From the UK and Canada, an adaptation of the American cult comic book The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. From Germany and the UK, a comedic interpretation of the biblical tale of Adam and Eve (with nudity). Do I even need to bother going into Japanese animation?
I hope you see my point.
|Mike Myers as Shrek|
Are all celebrity voices, however, equally distinctive? When Jen and I went to Videology's movie trivia night months ago, one of the categories in the multi-stage contest was identifying celebrity voices. The hosts would play an audio clip from a commercial narrated by a (presumably) known Hollywood star, and the contestants had to name the speaker.
Of all the stages of the trivia contest that night - I think there were six in all - this was the one with the fewest points earned. Every team in the audience struggled to name the voices, and the impression I had was, most of the contestants were above-average in terms of film and TV knowledge. Jen and me are certainly no slouches, either, but we and our teammates faltered too.
|Mark Hamill as the Joker|
The novelty has long since worn off on me. I saw Kubo despite the celebrity voices, not because of them (though they were good). I had heard it was a well-done movie overall, and it was. This fall's wave of animated films may or may not be any good (though I doubt it), and in the end, you can't blame Hollywood for giving the celebrity VO cast the hard sell. Still, it shouldn't be the overriding reason anyone sees an animated film. A good one should have more going for it than that.