Monday, April 29, 2013

Will Animation Kill the Movie Star?

Will Animation Kill the Movie Star?
The rise of the movie star has been one of the most major stories in film in the 20th century. But according to some, the rise of new techniques like increasingly realistic animation could threaten the movie star dynamic in film, but of course this is quite controversial.

Movie Stars Sell Movies

It's pretty hard to overstate just how important movie stars were to selling movies in the past few decades. In many cases, people are drawn to movies in the first place based on which actors are attached to the project. Fans of stars like Jim Carey, Morgan Freeman, Julia Roberts and so on will see any movie they are in. And even beyond the hardcore fans, it's the name recognition that's often what decides people on whether to see the movie or not.

Arguments that Animation is Replacing Actors

The arguments in favor of this idea say that what matters with actors is seeing them onscreen. This is because this is the main way in which they are recognized. People might not always even know the name of stars, but they will sure recognize them from previous movies that they enjoyed. As a result, if a movie is all animated, then no movie stars are shown. If these types of movies become more and more prevalent, then eventually the power of the movie star will fade since their face recognition will fade. People will recognize the animated characters and not associate movie stars with them.

Avatar: One of the movies that used motion / performance capture technology
If 2013 is any indication, the number of animated films seems to be on the rise and even more popular than ever. They include the following list.
  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ironman Rise of Technovore
  • Batman the Dark Knight Returns Part 2
  • The Adventures of the Red Airplane
  • Many others

Arguments That Animated Films Still Use Movie Stars

On the other hand, it's also possible to say that the reason why animated films become popular in the first place is by being associated with movie star actors who lend their voices to the characters. So the idea is, that even if animated films become increasingly popular, they will still need famous actors to do all of the important acting parts with their voices. After all, this is what lends true characterization to the characters.

So Who's Right?

Obviously there's plenty of evidence in either direction. Certainly, it's hard to deny that movie stars get less on screen time during animated sequences. But by the same token, it's also hard to say that movies like Rango,” would be as popular without star power like Johnny Depp. After all, a movie about a tiny talking lizard would be pretty hard to pull off straight by Johnny Depp just wearing some kind of strange costume.

One in-between position is that the role of the star will shift to more vocal rolls as computers do more of the heavy lifting in feature films. One way or another, animated films tend to be quite popular and well received critically, so they are probably here to stay. As a result, one thing that is absolutely true is that actors will have to continue to adapt their skills to changing technology in order to ensure that they stay relevant to the modern film industry.

Writer Biography

This is a guest post by Lindsey Mcmahon. Her interests are entertainment, television, parenting and health but she is constantly extending her field of view to incorporate interesting news suggested to her by her readers. She currently works for