Disney Geek wrote:
About the celebrity voices in animated films: didn't Disney start that trend themselves? Billy Joel and Bette Midler (Oliver & Company), Robin Williams (Aladdin), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (The Lion King), Mel Gibson (Pocahontas), Demi Moore (Hunchback of Notre Dame), Eddie Murphy (Mulan) and even -of all people!- Miley Cyrus in Bolt, to shove her and her show even further down our throats.
Even back in Walt's days, they hired celebrities who were really big in their days, like Peggy Lee for Lady and the Tramp and Louis Prima and George Sanders in The Jungle Book.
It can definitely be said that Disney use celebrity voices (Pixar do as well), but I do think that Dreamworks have increased the demand for big name voices by being showier about who they use. Think of the names on the posters (Disney has only done that with Bolt
, IIRC) and the images of the stars posing with the characters they voice.
In addition, the casting was made because they thought those actors best portrayed the character they envisioned in the case. This is definitely the case with the older Disney films where the actors were hired because they had experience doing radio and stage plays. They were "big" but they first thought of talent before the star power the actor/actress would bring to the film.
Disney Geek said it best in that DreamWorks (and many other movie studios) tend to hire really big actors and then sell them to the audience as being the big drive behind the films. In other words... SEE WILL SMITH DO THE VOICE OF A FISH OR ANGELINA JOLIE BE A SEXY TIGRESS!
For example, Pixar's Ratatouille has a solid cast of actors that ranged from contemporary comedians to well establish film veterans, and yet Pixar didn't make a big deal out of it during its release. Sure there were standard promo videos and such but it certainly wasn't the same as, say, Shark tale.
Look at the posted for Ratatouille...
Now look at Shark tale's poster...
Notice how the names of the stars are in the poster whereas Ratatouille's poster doesn't reflect the fact that they have several Oscar winners in its cast along with modern day comedians?