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I am Groot...So What

Written by  Published August 14, 2013 02:30
Vin Diesel has confirmed that he will be playing the character 'Groot'  in the forthcoming cosmic superhero movie Guardians of the Galaxy. In late June, Diesel announced that he was having a meeting with Marvel Studios, yet he declined to comment on which role he was in contention  for. Speculation suggested that Diesel was set to play the character  Vision or as Black Bolt in long a rumored film adaptation of The  Inhumans. Diesel unofficially announced his role as Groot on Twitter when he  mysteriously published a picture of the character.

 

This was shortly  followed by him speaking to the LA Times:

"As an actor, not everything has to be the most obvious choice.

And  sometimes, the best thing you can do — as far as guardians-of-the-galaxy-grootSteven Spielberg and  his advice — is to defy expectations. So if everybody thinks you’re  going to go for this one thing and you flip it entirely and go for the  strangest Marvel character, it’s interesting. And when something is  interesting, it’s inspiring."

"That’s the thing — I’m so busy. The audience wanted Vin and Marvel,  Vin and Marvel. But I’m too busy to do a six-month role. So what Marvel  came up with was really interesting. … I am watching a social wave  influence and in some ways guide their thinking."

Similar to The Hulk, Groot is known for having a limited vocabulary and  in the comic-books has only ever stated:

"I am Groot."

tumblr_maf9e21o6v1qzizmho1_500It's unknown if Groot's speaking role will be expanded upon, yet it  would be safe to presume that by the limited involvement of Diesel in  the project, the character will not be re-imagined as a talkative  woodland sidekick.

I'm in danger of repeating what I wrote about The Lone Ranger and the  dangerous path that Hollywood is treading. I cannot fathom why Marvel  Studios have taken the decision to sign Vin Diesel for such a limited  role. As he's merely voicing the character in a small capacity and is in  no way involved in the motion capture of the character, why is a studio  that is intent on reducing costs hiring such a high profile actor? I can't imagine that by having Vin Diesel's name attached to the film,  this will somehow transform the project into a box-office juggernaught.

This resonates with the ridiculous inclusion of voice talent in recent  animated films. They hire as many celebrities as possible, cram them  into a film as the voices of minor characters and are surprised when the  film tanks at the box-office.

Furthermore, the cost of the animation  borders on equaling that of a small nation. An absurd amount of money to  feed the bottomless void of talentless talent.

Traditional film trailers for animated features have focused on  outlining the narrative and highlighting the key aspects of1qt1T the  characters.

However, in recent years trailers for animations have  instead focused on the voice actors involved in the film by revolving  around a very long and very boring list of actors, musicians and minor  celebrities.It's a direction that, from a logical standpoint, makes little to no  sense. Children do not care if Queen Latifa is voicing a parrot or if  Lady Gaga is playing a chirpy chipmonk. All children care about is if  the film is good fun, an opinion also shared by parents. Since the dawn of cinema, parents around the globe have been pushed,  prodded and kicked to go and see the dreaded children's movie.  With  their beloved snottlings, parents have witnessed princes and princesses,  talking animals and banal musical segments. Indeed, the first film that my Great Grandfather saw was 101 Dalmations. Disgusted by animated dogs  and an energetic audience of smelly children, he dragged my poor,  enraptured father out of the screening so that he could spend the rest of the afternoon with a bottle of whiskey. With the arrival of Pixar, the landscape of animated children's films  completely changed for the better.

It saw a revival of fantastic  storytelling, quality voice actors and above all, a highly enjoyable  plot. This marked a new era, as the parent became the one who pushed,  prodded and kicked to go to see the film.

13-15In recent years, there has been a slump in quality and a rise in  quantity of CG animations.

We are once again teetering on the edge of an  abismal void of lack luster storytelling, fart jokes and animated  merchandise. While Vin Diesel is not on a par with Snooky voicing a  sunbathing chimp, it further enhances the principle that the actor has  not been chosen to bring to life the animated character. Diesel will in  no way be involved in the character's physical presence on screen as he  will not be a part of the character's motion capture. Instead, Diesel is simply muttering: "I am Groot".

As outlined in my previous article, Hollywood is heading in a direction  that is seeing the costs spiral out of control. Spearheaded by Robert  Downey Jr, Marvel Studios was recently criticised for it's firm grasp on  costs and was featured in a well publised conflict with the cast of The  Avengers.

It has been estimated that should the wage demands of the cast  be met, The Avengers Age of Ultron will have to gross over $1 billion to  break even.

In the wake of the success of Fast 5 and Fast 6, I can't help thinking  that to purchase an association with the Vin Diesel tumblr_mjcu1gRq2Z1r89a2ho1_1280brand will have come  at an inflated cost.

For a studio who is keen on keeping costs to a  minimum and who has a focus on delivering a quality product, I do not  understand why they have not hired a band of unknown actors who have an  onscreen chemistry and are an embodiment of the fictitious creatures. Much like Star Wars or how so many other projects of this nature have  been cast, groups of actors were brought together and screen tested as a  group. Successful applicants were hired as a unit as opposed to  individuals thrown together. This resulted in a magical onscreen bond  that is impossible to replicate through sheer luck. Guardians of the Galaxy requires traditional method actors in certain  roles, who as a group, would run bare arse naked through woodlands to  prepare for their roles.

By prancing around as trees or raccoons, it  will bring a flare of authenticity to the roles, as the actors will  become their roles, opposed to actors playing their roles.

This is a major factor as to why certain roles fail to engage audiences. In the first three Indiana Jones films, Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy_InfiniteComic_Groot_Preview1In the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford is merely playing Indiana Jones.

This is a vital difference between success and failure and while the performance of Groot may not be hindered by Diesel's involvement, it may signal the direction that Rocket Raccoon is headed.

Much like the characters King Kong or Gollum in The Lord of the Rings,  as an audience we cared little for who was providing the voice of the character or who was involved in the motion capture process.

All we were/are interested in is if the character is engaging and entertaining.

 

I firmly believe that this should extend to Groot and Rocket Raccoon, yet I hope I am wrong and that luck will play it's part in the casting of the characters.

Last modified on Sunday, 12 April 2015 13:20
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