Thursday, 8 July 2010

Encore’s Greatest Voices: #40-#31

So many of you made guesses as to who you expect to see in the countdown to my favourite voice performances when I listed the first batch of ten. I will say, a number of you were on point, but I'm not giving away any. Here are the next ten voice performers that stick in my memory. Even though I love making lists I do find it difficult ranking them though, really sometimes I think voice acting is more difficult. You really have to sell it, or else you're forgettable.
#40: Barbara Luddy in Sleeping Beauty
as Merryweather
I'd like to turn her into a fat ol' hop toad.
She will always be the best of the godmothers, and though they do come in three she stands out from the rest. Her voice is the only one I remember without rewatching, and she’s just so fun and funny with those line readings. It's nice performances like these that make me a little sad, voice actors don't have faces so unless they're NAMES we forget them.
#39: Phil Harris in The Jungle Book
as Baloo
You better believe it.
The Jungle Book doesn’t exactly thrill me (I have a soft spot for the live action version, oddly) but who can resist the jovial singing bear? Mowgli is an unassuming (dare I say, boring) hero but his sidekicks are amusing.
#38: Catherine O’Hara in Where the Wild Things Are
as Judith
Happiness isn't always the best way to be happy.
She singlehandedly makes the movie hers and she becomes the wild thing that’s not only wildest but most interesting. I did not love the film, but it was beautifully rendered and the wild things were a deligh - Catherine more than any.
#37: Jodi Benson in The Little Mermaid
as Ariel
I love you, Daddy.
She’s easy to forget…the supporting players are quite fun, but Benson is doing a good job here. The naïveté, the subtle bits of innocence and bravery; she’s doing her very best to make this animated caricature into a full blooded character and she succeeds…on so many counts.
#36: Janet Gabor in The Aristocrats
as Duchess
Oh, c'est très jolie, monsieur. Very poetic. But it is not quite Shakespeare.
This is a forgotten Disney gem which I grew up with, so I have soft spot for it. Harris puts up a good showing as the tomcat in the show, but it’s Gabor’s sultry Queenie who leaves the mark. It’s a slight film, and the anamorphic characters don’t have anything new to tell us but Gabor is like Grace Kelly, as a cat.
#35: Helena Bonham Carter in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit
as Lady Campanula Tottington
Please, Wallace, call me 'Totty'.
The more I think of it, the more I wonder why I don’t like this film. Perhaps, claymation just doesn’t do it for me. Still, the voicework is on par and among her many assets I’ve always love HBC’s voice the most, so expressive.
#34: Glenn Close in Hoodwinked
as Granny
Bring it honey!
You probably didn’t see this one coming. I can’t blame you. I liked Hoodwinked; a well intentioned and oddly smart animated flick that was poorly received. Glenn doesn’t get enough credit for her voice, but when you can’t see her you realise just how much she uses. This take on the “new” grandmother is inspired and hilarious and extraordinarily nuanced.
#33: Angela Lansbury in Beauty & the Beast
as Mrs. Potts
Well, that didn't go very well at all, did it?
Few voices are as diffidently calming and yet surprisingly funny as Lansbury here. :umiere and Cogsworth are the utensils most remembered (no, they are not on the list) but it’s Angela’s voice that shines through – heartfelt, sincere and yet irresolute when necessary.
#32: Linda Larkin in Aladdin
as Jasmine
I am not a prize to be won!
My, oh my. Can anyone resist Jasmine? I have a thing for Disney’s sultry voiced characters (you shall see later) and Jasmine is an excellent characterisation by [ ]. Sure, the film is not centred on her – but she’ll make you forget with every voice inflection and every subtle line reading (remember Evil Jasmine?)

#31: James Earle Jones in The Lion King
as Mufasa
Simba, I'm very disappointed in you!
Oh man, this man has a VOICE!!! Who doesn’t shudder when they hear him? Jones is an icon – plain and simple, and his work as Mufasa is just superb. With just a voice he embodies all we could hope for in the steadfast and devoted father.
Aha, and there goes round two. How are you liking the choices so far?


Anonymous said...

I personally prefer Gandolfini's Carol, but O'Hara is splendid as well. If only the film had held up for the brilliance.

DEZMOND said...

like the choices a lot so far :)

Jude said...

Is James Earl Jones maybe getting two mentions on this list, for Mufasa and Darth Vader? Or is it that each actor gets one shot, despite a possible abundance of stellar voicework?

Joanna said...

This is brilliant so far.

Simon said...

I thought John Goodman voiced Baloo?

Good choice with Catherine O'Hara. She kind of made the movie for me.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

james gandoflini was golden too, but it's catherine who does it most for me.

dezmond than you, kind sir.

jude an actor in this ten will reappear further down below. sadly, it is not james earl jones (sorry).

joanna thank YOU very much.

simon nope, harris as far as imdb goes.

Luke said...

Oh Baloo! I'm sort of giggling with glee. And I'd like to jump to the defense of Where the Wild Things Are - I thought it was brilliant, and Catherine O'Hara is a perfect representative of the unique voice acting at play.