What the Manolo Is…

Manolo says, it is Tuesday, time to see what the Manolo is…



Listening to…

Just before the Christmas, the Manolo had the pleasure of accompanying some young friends to the new Disney Rapunzel movie, Tangled. He is happy to report that he found both the outing and the movie to be delightful.

Two things about this movie were exceptionally gratifying to the Manolo. The first is that the screenplay was unburdened by the endlessly annoying and out-of-the-place pop cultural references and adult-oriented jokes so common in most children’s movies today. In the other words, there was none of the tiresome Shrek Dreck, those catty references to assorted pop divas and their many problems.

The second gratifying thing, was that the actors in Tangled were chosen for the expressive quality of their voices, not for their fame and/or stunning good looks. Yes, the Mandy Moore and the Zachary Levi, the leads, are moderately well known, but they are not the big, big stars, and this is the good thing.

The recent trend in the animated movies has been to use the muy famosos to provide the voices for the cartoon characters, thus reducing the sort of work that has customarily gone to the character actors.

This is bad. Not only because the Manolo counts among his Hollywood friends many, many character actors, but also because such actors are usually superior in talent to their more beautiful, and more famous co-workers.

Consider, now, two movies:

The first, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, staring the vocal talents of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Joseph Fiennes.

To quote the tag line of the movie: “Who’s bad? Sinbad.”

You will note that neither Brad Pitt nor Catherine Zeta-Jones has the particularly expressive voice, but that they both look very good with the headphones on in the recording studio, something the people who cut this trailer made the point of showing you.

And, now, the trailer for Tangled:

Much better yes?

Perhaps the success of the Tangled will encourage other cartoon movie makers to return to the tradition of using truly talented voice actors instead of the big stars, although, the Manolo will not hold his breath for such the thing to come to pass.