The talent of a voice actor and their suitability to the role they’ve been cast in can make or break an animated movie. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, for example, has been marred in controversy ever since it was announced that Chris Pratt would be voicing the iconic plumber.
While it’s yet to be seen if Pratt will win his doubters over, there are a number of voice actors who seem as if they were born to play certain roles. After all, who else could bring such charm, heart and sass to everybody’s favorite one-eyeballed little green dude from Monsters, Inc?
Bowser – Jack Black
It may be premature to include Jack Black’s performance as Bowser on this list given that all we’ve seen of him in the role is two trailers thus far, but that’s really all we need to know that Black is the only person who could bring such menace to the beloved villain.
More will be revealed when The Super Mario Bros. Movie actually arrives in March, but we have a feeling that Bowser might just go on to be the most memorable villain of 2023. It’s probably safe to assume that we’ll be seeing an awful lot more of Mario’s arch-nemesis in the years to come.
Puss in Boots – Antonio Banderas
Puss in Boots recently made a triumphant return to the big screen in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, a film that has surprised audiences and critics alike by being exceptionally good. The long-awaited sequel sees Antonio Banderas return to a role that he first made his own almost two decades ago in Shrek 2.
Though love for the Shrek franchise wavered after a number of sub-par sequels, Puss’ latest adventure seems to have reignited the love for the fairy tale world, and we fully expect to see the fierce feline return to the big screen sooner rather than later.
Woody – Tom Hanks
The Toy Story franchise would never have become as successful as it is without the memorable performances of its two main characters. Tom Hanks‘ performance as Woody, in particular, is flawless, with the exceptional actor managing to ensure the character is always charming, even when he’s making poor decisions or fretting about who Andy loves the most.
Hanks’ frantic energy and heartfelt sentiment helped to make Toy Story an animated classic, and the film helped make the genre what it is today: something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Gru – Steve Carell
It doesn’t matter how old the villainous leader of the minions is supposed to be; Steve Carell can effortlessly find the voice to bring the entertaining troublemaker to life. Gru is not defined by his evil misdoings, however, but by the kindness, he eventually shows to his three adopted daughters, something Carell is more than adept at.
Balancing such wacky acts of villainy with the film’s sweeter moments would be a difficult balancing act for most voice actors, but Carell manages both with ease. Long live the Despicable Me franchise.
Buzz Lightyear – Tim Allen
There are a number of reasons why the Toy Story spinoff Lightyear failed to light up the box office, but we think many audience members were likely confused and a little deterred by the decision to recast Tim Allen, who has become synonymous with the role over the last two decades.
Chris Evans was fine in the role, but he didn’t quite manage to capture the determination and level-headedness that made the character so popular in the first place. Let this be a warning to movie studios everywhere. When it comes to the characters we grew up with, don’t you dare recast them.
Donkey – Eddie Murphy
If you were to ask ten people for their favorite thing about the Shrek franchise, we’re confident that at least nine of them would say Donkey. The hilariously annoying character managed to tickle just about everybody’s funny bone, no matter their age and a huge part of that is down to Eddie Murphy’s energetic and lovable performance.
A fifth film in the Shrek franchise has long since been rumored, and much like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, we’re desperate to see another Shrek film if only to send the franchise out on the high note that the voice actors’ performances actually deserved.
Rocket Raccoon – Bradley Cooper
There are many reasons why the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has been such a roaring success for the MCU, with the exceptional writing and direction of James Gunn a massive contributing factor. The performances of the cast, however, have helped make these characters so iconic, and arguably no character has become more iconic than the foul-mouthed, short-tempered Rocket Racoon.
Bradley Cooper perfectly captures the spirit and torment of the super-intelligent character. It’s this performance, combined with Gunn’s complete understanding of the character, that has audiences so worried about Rocket’s fate in the hotly-anticipatedGuardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
Miles Morales – Shameik Moore
Miles Morales is a character fans have been desperate to see brought to life on the big screen ever since he was first introduced in the comics. This makes it all the more satisfying that, when the character eventually arrived on the big screen, Shameik Moore’s honest, vulnerable, and hopeful performance embodied the character so perfectly.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best-animated films of the decade, if not of all time, and Moore’s performance was a huge part of introducing Miles to audiences across the globe. Moore is sure to give another flawless performance when Miles returns in the upcomingSpider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Shrek – Mike Myers
As far as animated characters are concerned (or just movie characters in general, for that matter), there are few more iconic than Mike Myers’ Shrek. The ogre is known to audience members of all ages, whether they grew up with him or took their children to see the films, or have just become familiar with the many, many Shrek memes that exist now. Either way, it seems that literally, everybody loves the grumpy, green ogre.
Myers’ managed to ensure that no matter how short-tempered or irate Shrek becomes, the character never becomes unlikeable. He makes mistakes like all of us, but his heart is always in the right place, and Myers’ well-timed sincerity and wholesomeness ensure audiences learn the same lessons that Shrek does.
Mike Wazowski – Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal is one of a handful of actors with a truly unmistakable voice, and, luckily for audiences; his charm is also unmistakable throughout his performance as Mike Wazowski in both Monsters, Inc and the criminally underrated prequel Monsters University.
The irony of seeing a smooth-talking monster never wears off, and the way Mike cares for his friend Sully ensures their friendship is one of the most wholesome aspects of any Pixar film. Crystal’s comedic timing is perfect throughout, with the actor finding some subtle way of enhancing just about every joke he tells, ensuring Monsters, Inc remains one of the funniest Pixar films ever made.