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Movieline’s 10 Best Celeb Voiceovers in Animated Films

I saw this linked from IMDB today, and had to see who they had picked.  I don’t disagree with most of the choices, though my memories of things like Lady and the Tramp are kind of vague.  That is, until, I read some of the comments and started thinking about the names mentioned there.  There are a lot of choices here, some you may not have even realized, and definitely some that could make a case to be on the list.  In no particular order:

  • I prefer Eddie Murphy as Mu Shu in Mulan
  • Ellen DeGeneres as Dory in Finding Nemo.  Obviously a comedian is going to be able to handle the humorous aspects, but I was impressed more with her voice acting during the scene after she is apart from Marlin and before bumping into Nemo.
  • Peter O’Toole in Ratatouille.  Just close your eyes and listen.  The shift from vicious, jaded food critic to friend at the end is subtle, and O’Toole pulls it off oh so well.
  • Steve Carell in Despicable Me.  One of the few either on my list or Movieline’s that actually did a ‘voice’, affecting a sort of Eastern European-ish accent that just works for Gru.  Very expressive, making great use of Carell’s comic timing, and showing good heart as well.

There are other movies and famous voice acting roles that could fit on here, such as Mandy Moore and Donna Murphy (who may not be famous enough for the list) from Tangled, Ed Asner or Christopher Plummer in Up, and Tina Fey in Ponyo and Megamind.  Actually, speaking of Megamind, I’d like to give a special shoutout to Will Ferrell, he did a fantastic job, and I normally dislike him.  Easy to forget it is him.

So who else deserves a look at the list?  Any you vehemently disagree with?  Let me know!

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Movies With Repeated Theater Viewings

The title says it all – I thought I’d start a discussion about what movies you just HAD to see more than once in the theaters.  Where possible, I will be putting how many times I saw it and any other details I think of.

  • Despicable Me – (2) – Once was at the drive-in for a triple feature.
  • The Incredible Hulk – (2) – Another involving the drive-in
  • Iron Man 2 – (2) – Just love Iron Man.
  • Iron Man– (3) – Once at the el-cheapo theater for a couple of bucks.
  • Ponyo – (2) – Such beautiful animation, just had to check it out on the big screen again at a matinee.
  • The Lord of the Rings – (3, 2, 2) – That’s for each movie, of course.
  • Transformers – (2) – Screw you, I enjoyed it for what it was, definitely a big screen movie.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull  – (2) – Another feature at the drive-in.

If I remember more, I’ll add them in later, but that’s a start.  Really, I like to see the blockbuster/action type movies on the big screen more than once if I can, since some of that doesn’t translate well to the small screen.  What do YOU have?

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Movie Review – Ponyo

First, a story. I had been exposed to Anime only sparingly as a kid, mostly Voltron, Tranzor-Z (Boob missiles!) and later, Ronin Warriors. I enjoyed them, but nothing really made me go out and seek more. Oh, and I caught the super-hyped showing of Akira on the Sci-Fi channel, which didn’t help. My Miyazaki fandom would’ve been even more stunted were it not for a guy I worked with back in the late 90s. I came across him in the break room, clutching his credit card hopefully as he spoke broken Japanese into the phone. Come to find out he was ordering something called Mononoke-hime. He gushed about it enough that when, a few years later, there was finally a dub of Princess Mononoke download the movie the tron: legacy

on the shelf at Blockbuster, I checked it out. I’ve followed his movies closely since then, usually with my wife who likes the cuter ones like Spirited Away or Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Thomas and I didn’t intend on going to see Ponyo yesterday, though. Up had a 12:00pm showing on Wednesday, and I kind of assumed there would be one on Thursday (my day off this week) also. Oops. The other kid movies starting around that time were G-Force (no way man) and Ponyo. Thomas consented to the switch, so we grabbed our snacks and settled in (spoilers possible from here on out).

The first thing you notice is the beautiful hand-drawn animation. You don’t get much of this anymore, it’s all CGI or at the very least computer enhanced. According to the trivia at IMDB, the opening scene (12 seconds of schooling fish and other undersea creatures) took 1613 conceptual sketches to come up with. The story begins with a magical goldfish, who is the ‘daughter’ of the Goddess of the Seas (voiced by Cate Blanchett and a powerful wizard, Fujimoto (Liam Neeson, despite the character appearing to be a 60 year old drag queen). The little fish sees a bit of the human world on a trip with her father, and sneaks away but gets trapped in a glass that had been tossed in the ocean. A young boy, Sosuke (voiced by the ‘bonus Jonas’, Frankie) rescues the fish and names her Ponyo. Sosuke swears to protect Ponyo and the two bond quickly, in the way only young kids can. The rest of the movie focuses and a world out of balance, and Sosuke trying to save Ponyo and help her become human forever.

Ponyo is very sweet and funny, and I can admit I teared up just a bit…but I didn’t feel like I was being emotionally manipulated. Part of it might’ve been the huge smile that pretty much stayed on Thomas’s face the whole time, though. He sang the (extremely catchy) credits song the rest of the day, and tried to explain the movie to anyone else he spoke to the rest of the day. If you have young children and want another movie option, see Ponyo while it is still in theaters (it’s in limited release, really just to qualify for the Oscars I’m sure) as it’s a worthy alternative to all the 3D, CGI filled movies kids are bombarded with.