FAVORITE CELEBRITY ANIMATED PERFORMANCES
If there’s one thing Hollywood is good at, it’s leaving the general population dazed and confused with their decision making. One area that has always left me completely bewildered is the casting of major stars as the voices of Animated characters. Dreamworks is NOTORIOUS for this! Look at the voice cast for a film like Antz or Shark Tale and you’ll see what I mean. The amount of A-List celebrities lending their names to these films would drive a live-action film’s budget over 100 million just to pay the cast. And the problem is, this doesn’t always make for the best voice performance.
Pixar has worked with A-Listers over the years but has proven that they are always looking for the best voice and not necessarily the biggest name (Albert Brooks in Nemo, Craig T. Nelson in The Incredibles). That’s to be commended. I always figured why not save on budget and look for a great voice in the world of up-and-comers or has-beens… Judd Nelson for Scar in The Lion King anyone… maybe not. But you get my point.
Still, every now and then, an actor comes on board that not only suits a character but, one could argue, was born to voice the role. This is no small task, which makes for a short list. However, a list is what we must make so I present you with this weeks: FAVORITE CELEBRITY ANIMATED PERFORMANCES.
These are my favorite 5, in order. I’d love to expand this list to 10 based on your opinions. So, leave your favorites below and I’ll see that this list is updated and expanded by the end of the week. Here we go…
JOHN LEGUIZAMO as SID THE SLOTH.
“You know? This whole ice age thing is getting old. You know what I could go for? A global warming.”
Ice Age isn’t one of the greatest animated films ever made. Though, it certainly is the best thing to come out of Fox’s animated studio. And while Sid, too, may not be one of the greatest animated characters ever created, John Leguizamo (who’s been doing voices since his days as a stand-up comedian) takes the opportunity to shine in this fun little film. Sure, it’s not hard to stand out when your surrounded by a hum-drum Wooly Mammoth voiced by a ho-hum Ray Romano and a Sabretooth we’ve seen before voiced by Dennis Leary doing his best Scar impersonation (2 Scar referances in one post… YEAH!!!). Still, give props where they’re due… Leguizamo makes this film fun.
EDDIE MURPHY as DONKEY.
“You might have seen a housefly, maybe even a superfly, but I bet you ain’t never seen a donkey fly. Ha, ha.”
What? No Mike Myers. Sorry, I can’t give it up to Myers for doing the same voice he did in So, I Married an Axe Murderer, Austin Powers and half of the sketches he wrote on SNL… regardless of how well I felt it fit perfectly for the role. What I can do is commend Eddie Murphy, who I had grown quite weary of at the time, for ressurecting his career with a spot on comedic performance in the Shrek films. And to do it amongst another A-List laiden Dreamworks cast deserves extra KUDOS!!!
NATHAN LANE as TIMON.
“Luau. If you’re hungry for a hunk of fat and juicy meat. Eat my buddy Pumbaa here, ’cause he’s a tasty treat.”
Okay, so James Earl Jones is perfect and prolific as Mufassa and I love casting Benson as Rafiki. but everyone knows that Timon and Pumbaa are what makes this Disney classic so enjoyable to watch. And while Ernie Sabella deserves a shot out for playing the inept straight pig in this comic duo, Nathan Lane steals the show with his portrayal of Timon. The fact that he can sing didn’t hurt but his comic timing is what makes us love this character. Don’t believe me? Go rewatch the scene where Timon dons a hula skirt and offers his buddy Pumbaa to the Hyenas Luau style… CLASSIC!!!
CHARLES FLEISCHER as ROGER RABBIT.
I know Fleischer isn’t exactly an A-Lister but he’s been a working character actor for decades… so, deal with it! Most of the time, I believe characters are conceived and actors shoved, like a large foot in a small shoe, into their voice roles. In Fleischer’s case, he IS Roger Rabbit. He’s probably the closest thing to a human sound machine since Jonesy in the Police Academy films. Here, he uses his entire arsenal to make this cult favorite the beloved piece of cinema it is. Let’s face it, if say Bruce Willis or someone had been chosen to phone this performance in, it wouldn’t be what it is. Also, Honorable Mention to the voice of Jessica Rabbit for making that damn cartoon that much sexier… AAA-OOOGAH!!!
ROBIN WILLIAMS as GENIE.
“Jafar, Jafar, he’s our man. If he can’t do it, GREAT!”
Best of the best and it makes a lot of sense. After all, Robin Williams is a living, breathing cartoon. Genie was actually taylored to Williams’ performance in the sound booth… something old Disney animators often did which is a sadly forgotten process. Here, Williams shines because he gets to do what he does best and that’s be himself. Only he gets to be himself in a world where he can do and be anything he wants… can you imagine if he wielded that power in the real world… Oi Vey!!!
That’s it, Smurfs and Smurfettes. Feel free to comment below and add your favorites. I’ll tally them up later this week.
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Check back next Saturday as that is when new posts go up. Have a great week and remember to tip your waitress!!!