Seven Indonesian celebrities have lent their voices to the Indonesian-dubbed version of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” set to broadcast on HBO Asia on Aug. 8.
Following the adventures of animals — a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and their misfit friends — “Madagascar 3” is the first time HBO Asia has cast Indonesian celebrities to dub a Hollywood movie.
The third installment from Dreamworks Animation and Paramount Pictures was originally voiced by Hollywood stars like Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer.
Presenter Indra Bekti will lend his voice to Alex the Lion, while radio host Kemal Mochtar and Pandji Pragiwaksono have signed up for Marty the Zebra and Melman the Giraffe, respectively. Singers Ariyo Wahab, Regina Ivanova and Fitri Tropica play Vitaly the Tiger, Gloria the Hippo and villain Captain Dubois, and actor Robby Purba plays Julien the Lemur.
At the launch of the Indonesian version of “Madagascar 3” in Jakarta on Thursday, head of marketing for HBO Asia, Jacelyn Kek, said dubbing was also done in Malaysian by casting Singapore and Brunei celebrities. The decision to use local celebrities was made because the film will be shown during Idul Fitri.
“We involved Indonesian celebrities to give more flavor to the film,” Jacelyn said. “We had a voice director to make sure they portrayed each character well.”
Indra, Ariyo and Regina said the cultural context within the animation was the most challenging to translate, since “Madagascar 3” was written for American audiences and everything fits perfectly in English.
Ariyo said that even short sentences prove to be a challenge, for instance, when Vitaly cornered the animal gang and whispered, “Which one of you is the leader?”
“It’s a very simple line but when translated to Indonesian, it just sounds weird and unnatural,” he said. “So in the dubbed version, I adjusted my tone to suit Indonesian manners.”
Vitaly growls when he speaks, so Ariyo had to speak in low decibels, but being a singer, he said it was not a big problem.
“It’s just a bit like acting, because the intonation can only work when we can feel the conflicts,” Ariyo explained. “We have to be theatrical, so we can produce a better voice.
“It’s addictive, I really want to do it again. I would love to do it for a locally animated film, so it would be more natural to work on the puns.”
Jacelyn said local affiliate IndoVision did a great job of casting Indonesian celebrities to fit the personality of the characters. But Jacelyn said some of the English puns did get lost in translation.
“We chose to give the actors some creative license, for example, Chris Rock did the voice of Marty in the English-language version, and the character reflects some of Chris Rock’s mannerisms, putting pressure on our talent’s portrayal of Marty,” she said. “So we just said perform the character to Indonesian viewers.”
“We would really like to do this every year,” Jacelyn added.