The Good: Cool idea, Well-directed
The Bad: Very basic idea beaten to death, Not complicated or in-depth
The Basics: I Know That Voice is a basic documentary that is like a facebook of voice actors, but little more than that.
Ever since I got involved with the woman who quickly became my wife, I have watched a lot of animated works. My wife loves Disney movies, Invader Zim and many other animated works that we’ve watched over and over and over again. So, she was very interested in the documentary I Know That Voice when we learned about it. I Know That Voice is an interesting concept for a documentary, but it is not one that lends to a very complicated analysis.
I Know That Voice is a concept that takes half the film before it actually hits. For the first half of the film, I Know That Voice - which is a documentary intended to explore the nature of the voiceover industry – is simply a collection of almost random comments from various performers who have recognizable roles in animated works, where the voice actors are put in front of the camera. The first half of I Know That Voice is made almost entirely unnecessary thanks to the existence and success of the IMDB. The Internet Movie Database features complete biographies of actors past and present and virtually every actor’s page on the site has pictures of the actor, along with their entire resume. So, the first half of I Know That Voice trades on a novelty that no longer exists for the die-hard fans who might love this documentary; they have already looked into their favorite voice actors and seen who the actors are behind the voices of their beloved characters.
All of that changes around the fifty minute mark on I Know That Voice. At that point, director Lawrence Shapiro shifts the movie to what the documentary originally promised; a discussion about the animation/voiceover industry. In the latter half of the movie, I Know That Voice finally starts to discuss the process of getting jobs in the Industry, what the industry is like and how it is changing.
To his credit, Shapiro gets an amazing cast of voiceover actors to discuss the industry in I Know That Voice. Instead of simply seeing the human faces behind the voices that people know and love, the pretty impressive collection of voice actors do open up about their experiences in the industry. The film meanders, though, between the exposing the actors to the audience, then to a general discussion of the process actors have in defining their characters’ voices, to getting the jobs to discussing ComicCon . . . I Know That Voice is less structured or revelatory than it is entertaining.
I Know That Voice is worth a watch for anyone who loves animation, but it’s a tough sell for rewatching or recommending because it is not conceptually complicated or well-structured. At best, it is a mildly-informative vocal facebook for the most important voice actors working in animation today.
For other documentaries, please check out my reviews of:
Done The Impossible: The Fans' Tale Of "Firefly" And "Serenity"
For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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