Voice actors are being disrespected in Hollywood right now. They are one of the major backbones of any animated television show or any project that uses them. Without them, the show does not go on, unless you are Genndy Tartakovsky. Big-budget animated movies just use celebrities as voice actors to help market the film. The problem with this is that it blocks actual voice actors from getting good roles.
The latest in a long example of this is the choice of Chris Pratt as Mario. Now if Pratt could actually do a good Mario this would be fine. However, Pratt just sounds like himself during the entire trailer of the new Mario movie. He just doesn’t bring enough “Marioness” to the role. There was an obvious choice as to who should get the role for a big-screen “Mario” movie.
It Should Have Been Charles Martinet
It should have been Charles Martinet who has been doing the character for several decades at this point. But no one knows who Martinet is, so they chose Pratt over him. It’s not like Martinet wouldn’t have been able to edit his voice to deliver a smoother performance if people thought it was too much “Marioness.”
However, this is the overall point. Pratt can’t do anything other than himself. People like Phil Lamarr, have been doing this their entire careers. They deserve more respect for assisting in the creation of people’s entire childhoods. The fact that people hear different men when they read Batman comics tells you everything you need to know.
Celebrities Aren’t a Good Replacement for Industry Professionals
Movies like Sing and the Secret Life of Pets use celebrities as voice actors because the films themselves have no merit. At least a good voice actor could do a great performance. At the end of the day, there are way too many movies with Kevin hart sounding like himself and not enough of LaMarr being an excellent voice actor.
Imagine a world where movies weren’t played by a group of 20 individuals. A world where dynamic performances from talented voice actors like Kevin Conroy or James Earl Jones were the norm. Where if a person wanted to see a new movie they weren’t afraid to walk into a check-collecting session between The Rock and Kevin Hart.
At the end of the day, just because they were in a few Marvel movies doesn’t mean they can give a dynamic performance behind a microphone. The rare exception to the rule is when a big celebrity actor does an amazing job at a specific role or also has voice acting chops as well.
Voice Actors Experience Other Problems as Well
The voice acting industry has a few other problems, including racism, sexism, a lack of worker protections occasionally, and other issues. The biggest controversy within the voice acting industry was people making a big deal out of the fact that a lot of white people were voice acting for a lot of characters that were people of color. This is a fair critique specifically because it harms voice actors of color that are trying to get more roles.
Just because a lot of these movies are kid’s films doesn’t mean the point is diminished by any margins. The standards for film and television don’t need to drop when the media is centered on children. Animation is a medium and not a genre. So when people are talking about how it doesn’t really matter that kid’s movies aren’t really all that good they should be criticized on that point.
Voice Actors Deserve More Respect
Voice actors deserve more respect. They helped create so many childhoods and they continue to do so. The industry could do better with how it treats its marginalized voice actors. Most of all, the trend of big movie stars also starring in big animated films just to give a lackluster performance needs to end. Subpar and inadequate voice acting performances in major animated films are unacceptable.
Written by Kenneth Mazerat
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License