Screen » Film Reviews

Vidiot

Need voice recognition software? No, you don't. Just call me.

by

4 comments

I'm a voice recognizer. While watching TV, I quiz others in the room to see if their ears are as attuned to celebrity voices as mine are.

"Whose voice is that?" I'll ask during a State Farm insurance commercial. Sometimes they'll know; most of the time, though, it's, "I don't know. Whose?"

"That's Dr. McDreamy. Patrick Dempsey."

I'm sure during these moments I come off as a condescending jerk but I have a talent and I not only want to show it off, but I also want my gift to be appreciated. But it never is.

During last year's election, when listening to John McCain speeches, I kept thinking, "Gosh, I know that voice from somewhere else, but whose is it?" And after much deliberation, I realized that Sen. McCain was a dead ringer for actor Bruce Dern (who I best remember from The 'Burbs). I ran some tests, comparing CNN video shorts to clips of Dern's movie quotes and sure enough, the men are voice clones. And I was entirely pleased with myself.

(Decide for yourself how good I am by listening to clips of John McCain here and Bruce Dern here.)

Without using the Internet to double check my findings, I've identified Kevin Spacey on Honda commercials; Morgan Freeman and Billy Crudup hawking Visas and Mastercards, respectively; Julia Roberts talking over America Online ads; Jeff Bridges selling Duracell batteries; David Duchovny pitching Pedigree dog food; George Clooney talking up Budweiser; Gene Hackman as the voice of the Home Depot; and many more.

You might wonder why it is I've chosen to share my secret talent with you today, other than the opportunity to brag on myself in a slightly larger environment than my circle of friends provides. The issue of identifying voices is fresh in my mind because I recently purchased a new game for my Sony Playstation Portable hand held video game: Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, released in June of this year. (You aren't surprised that the Vidiot would play games based on movie characters, are you?)

Segments between levels feature our hero, Dr. Jones, reading from a sort of adventure diary. And while I thought it seemed unfeasible for the actor who played Jones in four films, Harrison Ford, to have taken the time to record his voice for a video game, there were moments when I swore the tones emanating from my game's speaker belonged to Ford.

But alas, I was fooled—the voice recognizer, duped by a celebrity-sounding voice.

I have to hand it to the game's producers for tracking down John Armstrong, the man who voices Indy. According to Imdb.com, he's actually done a lot of video game voice work, including impersonating another Ford character, Han Solo, in a Star Wars game.

And hey, if Armstrong was hired to specifically sound like another actor, I can't feel too bad for being fooled this once. But just the same, I won't be opposed to you passing on my super insightful Dern-McCain connection to your friends until the pain of this minor mistake wears off.

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment
 

Add a comment

Note: Comments are limited to 200 words.