10 Unforgettable Voices In A.I. Movie History

5. Paul Bettany as Jarvis – Iron Man

Who in their right mind would want a sarcastic master computer? What if he wanted to look at porn, can you imagine the shit he’d get? Yes – that’s the first place my mind went with it, but seriously – that has to be a nightmare! And you couldn’t just shut him off! He’s too charismatic! That’s the other thing – I don’t want my computer to be cooler than me. The only reason it works in Iron Man is because Stark happens to be way way awesome, otherwise that thing would be talking circles around him.

Hey, fun fact: The voice of Jarvis is the albino Monk from The Da Vinci Code. How you like that slice of truth? Did you just get mind blown or what? And he did them back-to-back! One year he’s self-flagellating bare-assed and chalk white and two years later he’s helping Tony Stark kill Jeff Bridges. This is why we have the internet.

4. Ben Burtt as WALL-E

Ben Burtt is the shit. I wrote about him over at Cracked some time back, so I’ve got to know him through quite a bit of research. He isn’t just the voice of Wall-E, but of R2-D2 as well. In fact, Darth Vader’s breathing is HIM. He also came up with the lightsaber and blaster sounds. He’s also the guy who made the Wilhelm scream popular. My point is that we owe a lot to Ben Burtt.

Hey, why are we making garbage compactors cute? That seems counterintuitive. Also, it’s the future guys, couldn’t you have given the thing a CD player? Why is it even playing stuff to begin with? It’s like putting a TV on a broom.

3. Majel Barrett as Computer – Star Trek

Barrett had played multiple roles in both the various Star Trek series and movies, most notably as the ship’s computer as well as Troi’s cougar psychic mother in TNG. Also, she married Gene Roddenberry, so that probably had something to do with it. Their marriage was done in the traditional Shinto style of Japan, because Wikipedia. Anyway, she’s the one – and while as a computer she didn’t really stand out, she sure kicked the shit out of her role in TNG.

I should take a moment here to point out that the Enterprise’s computer happens to be one of the worst sci-fi computers ever. What I mean is that, aside from like, anyone being able to hack the damn thing and take over, it’s also completely blind. Whenever something goes down on the Enterprise, they always have to put together an investigation about it to find out what happened. Or if they are chasing someone they are shit out of luck the moment they get rid of their little communicator.

My point is – where the hell are the cameras? Did they use them all up installing them on the outside of the ship? Seriously – the ship can visually zoom down to any planet, but the moment they need to see inside the Enterprise it’s always, “Computer, locate Lt. Commander La Forge”, followed by a verbal description of where he is. The hell? It’s a freaking starship filled with strangers and it has worse security than a mall.

2. Anthony Daniels as C-3PO – Star Wars

Neurosis is like… the worst feature to install on a droid. Just throwing that out. I know it’s been said before but… holy hell. What does this thing do? Is it just accidentally set to ‘fumble mode’ or something? It can barely walk! Who brings something like that into life? That’s just mean. Like genetically engineering a dog to fear his own bark.

Since Burtt (R2-D2) already made the list earlier, I thought it would be nice to devote number two all to Daniels. Not only was this little golden bot his only large role, but apparently the studios also didn’t even want to put him on the front lines when it came to promotional work. According to a very old interview with Daniels, the producers felt that revealing C-3PO to be actually a man in a suit would ruin the effect of the film – because clearly the audience wouldn’t catch on to that, right? It’s just like how they didn’t want people to know that Wookies don’t exist and Chewie was really just a giant panda slathered in a mixture of brown pigment dye and Chinese growth hormones.

1. Douglas Rain as HAL – 2001: A Space Odyssey

This wasn’t really a thing that anyone didn’t expect the moment the clicked on this silly little list. HAL is the OG of A.I. voices. He’s both passive and scary, laid back but secretly murderous. Naturally, they got a Canadian for the role.

Interestingly enough, Rain wasn’t the first choice. Actor Martin Balsam, who you’d probably know best as the detective in Psycho, had already recorded the role of HAL but was then replaced. Kubrick thought that he sounded “too colloquially American” and opted to go with a more “bland mid-Atlantic accent”. That must have made ol’ Doug feel great about it.

Anyway, HAL rocks. If you need any more proof, here’s a SCTV sketch featuring Douglas Rain reprising HAL across from Rick Moranis as Merv Griffin and John Candy as Orson Welles. You’re welcome.

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David is a video editor, writer, and movie fanatic. After graduating from Full Sail University he now spends his days in Western Massachusetts working as a freelance article and sketch writer, as well as a comedy workshop moderator for Cracked.com. (Click Here to View David's work on Cracked.com) He enjoys over-analyzing movies, punk rock, and referring to himself in the third person.

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