There have been many animated movies over the years, almost too many to count, but not all of them have amazing voiceover performances. Finding the perfect voiceover for movies is difficult, and casting the wrong voice actor in the role can make the difference between a fantastic film and a flop. Having said that, there have also been incredible voiceover performances in animated movies which have brought the characters to life and created a smash success. This article will take a look at some of the best voiceover performances in animated movie history, including legends of the voiceover industry.
Genie (Aladdin) – Robin Williams
It would be almost impossible to have a list of voiceover performances in animated movies without including one of the greatest comedians of all time, Robin Williams. If you were to list some of the most likeable animated movie characters, Genie from Aladdin would definitely be on it. This would not be possible without the amazing performance from Robin Williams. Much like his character, Robin Williams was also set free. He improvised as much as he wanted, which resulted in one of the most interesting characters in any animated film and one of the most hilarious Disney characters of all time.
Elsa (Frozen) – Idina Menzel
If there is one soundtrack song that is remembered in recent history, especially from 2013 to 2014, it’s “let it go” from Frozen. Idina Menzel, who voiced Elsa, made all of this possible. Menzel perfectly captured the personality of Elsa, making her one of the most beloved Disney princesses, which is no easy feat since there is a long list of them. Idina Menzel is no stranger to films, having acted in quite a few, such as enchanted, uncut Gems and Cinderella. She also reprised her role in Frozen 2 and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure and provided the voice for Elsa in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Woody (Toy Story) – Tom Hanks
One of the most loved animated movie characters of all time is Woody from Toy Story, and Tom Hanks provided this fantastic performance. One of the things that makes Tom Hanks’s portrayal of Woody so unique is the fact that he makes the character so emotionally complex, almost to the point of being human. The Toy Story Film series is one of the longest-running 3D animated film franchises, with the first being released in 1995 and the most recent in 2019. Tom Hanks has been providing the voice for Woody this entire time, and watching the character’s evolution has connected with fans worldwide.
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove) – Eartha Kitt
Speaking of iconic portrayals, none is more iconic than the performance of Eartha Kitt when she voiced Yzma in The Emperor’s New Groove. Even though the film only runs for 78 minutes, the performance provided by Eartha Kitt is phenomenal. Kitt not only brings the character to life, but she also creates one of the funniest Disney villains and the most significant source of humour in the film. Eartha Kitt is no stranger to voicing characters in animated movies and provided the voice for Betty and the Meteor in the Pink Chiquitas, Bagheera in The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story, and she reprised her role as Yzma in Kronk’s New Groove in 2005.
Scar (The Lion King) – Jeremy Irons
There is just something about an eccentric villain, and no one pulls this off more than Jeremy Irons when he voiced Scar in The Lion King. Not only was Jeremy Irons able to make Scar seem sinister, but also quite charming, considering how evil and manipulative he is. It is one of the most challenging roles to connect your voice with the multiple layers of a character, such as Scars’ antagonistic yet underdog persona. Since then, Jeremy Irons has even used his fantastic voice in many big-cat documentaries, such as Eye of the Leopard, the Last Lions, the Unlikely Leopard, and Game of Lions.
Ursula (The Little Mermaid) – Pat Carroll
Pat Carroll is not only an incredible voice actor, but she created one of the best villains of all time using only her voice – period. Carroll’s performance as Ursula helped her go down as one of the most iconic villains in Disney history. Since her role in The Little Mermaid, she has returned to many different spinoffs, TV shows and sequels as the character. Pat Carroll also provided the voice for Morgana in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, and beyond Disney in her English dub of Granny in My Neighbor Totoro.
Mufasa (The Lion King) – James Earl Jones
It’s not often you get two of the best vocal performances in history in the same movie, especially when the characters work in direct contrast, and this one goes to James Earl Jones for his excellent performance as Mufasa. Much like Scar is one of the best villains in the Disney universe, Mufasa is one of the most beloved characters on the side of good. This is only made possible by the amazing performance of James Earl Jones and his iconic voice. James Earl Jones also provided a few other voices in animated movies, such as the Emperor of the Night in Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, the narrator in Freddie the Frog, and the voice box at the hardware store in Robots.
Baloo (The Jungle Book) – Phil Harris
Baloo, voiced by Phil Harris, is one of the most beloved Disney characters. Baloo is fascinating and can be best described as extremely laid back, which Phil Harris captures perfectly. The Jungle Book isn’t the only animated film where Phil Harris has provided a voice. Both iconic roles, he also voiced Little John in Robin Hood and Thomas O’Malley in the aristocrats. Another reason the performance by Phil Harris was so spectacular was due to his singing voice in the film, even though Disney is known for casting other alternative voices when it comes to their legendary songs vs dialogue.