The A.V. Club Takes The Ice Age Voice Cast to Task
Via: NY Daily News
The A.V. Club, as the serious, cultural arm of The Onion is sometimes quite trite in their reviews of films. The latest Ice Age film is no exception, but what is noteworthy is the grilling the voice cast receives. Naturally they are all celebrities with no real voice-acting experience:
On paper, Continental Drift boasts a jaw-dropping voice cast, including but not limited to Jennifer Lopez, Patrick Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Aziz Ansari, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Alan Tudyk. But in practice, the overstuffed ensemble leaves the cast no room to distinguish themselves, and directors Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier don’t seem interested in coaxing performances that might render their money stars less identifiable. With the help of some low-end boosting, Dinklage musters a decent amount of kid-appropriate menace—although he never does explain his gift for finding chunks of ice shaped like pirate ships—but Romano and Leary mainly sound bored, droning through their lines as if they’re simultaneously texting the contractors building the additions on their houses funded by their fat sequel paychecks.
Ouch! There is no punches being pulled there. Now we all know that celebrities being hired simply for being them is always a bad idea for a film (DreamWorks’ upcoming Smeckday features the voice talents of all people, Rihanna) but I can’t help but wonder whether we are in a bit of a bubble with this one.
As more and more large studio films use celebrity voice acting, there is bound to come a point where there will simply not be enough celebrities to go around. Second-rate talent will likely come in, and for most of the public, only the very best animation can make up for a poor voice.
Will we hit a point where star names can’t sell an animated property? Yes, we will. How far away that is though, will depend on how long the quality holds up in films like Ice Age. Professional voice actors live and die by their vocal performances so while they may not have the name power that celebrities have, they are more than capable of matching them in abilities.
And as a bonus, here’s the best line from the article, right at the very end:
But the only person who earned their keep on Ice Age: Continental Drift is the MPAA flunky who shoehorned in the line, “Silly rabbit—piracy doesn’t pay!”