Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebrity Necessity?

I can understand the appeal for celebrities to become involved with animated projects. Most of them want to be a part of something their children can watch. It’s also an easy gig. With just a few recording sessions involved, they get an easy paycheck. And I can understand why studios jump at the chance to include as many big names as possible. After all, they have to sell their film somehow. But with all that said, there are certain instances when I have to ask, “Why bother?”

I recently scrolled the credits for the new Alvin and the Chipmunks film (don’t ask me why) and I saw that actors such as Justin Long, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate lent their voices to some of the titular furry critters. Now, what’s the point of having these celebrities provide their voices when post-production work simply alters them to fit the super-high squeakiness of the chipmunks? Furthermore, the advertisements for the film make no mention of the celebrity names. Another culprit of needless voice usage is Dreamworks studios, and more specifically in Kung Fu Panda. Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, and Seth Rogen each voice characters in that film and they can’t have more than 25 lines between them. At times this practice borders on distraction since your hearing such recognizable voices coming from secondary characters. There’s just no point of having these people if you’re not going to use them. Situations like these just make no sense to me.

Surely some professional voice actors could fill these roles with ease. With animated films mostly catering to children, name recognition plays little importance anyway. By avoiding the big names, studios wouldn’t need to bloat their budgets on these films either. But I suppose the “bigger is better” mentality wins out in the end.

What are your thoughts on celebrity voice-work?

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