Since its inception, direct competition with Disney films with its first releases such as Antz, The Prince of Egypt and The road to El Doradoto his work in creating some of the world’s most successful film franchises, including Shrek, How to train your dragon, boss baby, Trolls, Madagascar and kung fu panda, DreamWorks Animation managed to leave an indelible mark on the animation world by continuing to release successful films.
Carving out its own niche early on, which involved cutting-edge animation and family films that appealed to adults and children alike, DreamWorks is one of the most highly regarded animation studios in the world. Arguably one of the studio’s most successful aspects is the nearly flawless ability to cast the perfect actors to bring its characters to life. From a vast alphabet of actors made up of Hollywood personalities ranging from Will Smith and Brad Pitt to Patrick Stewart and Ralph Fiennes, we picked nine of DreamWorks Animation Movies’ best voice performances and ranked them.
9 Wanda Sykes – Stella (Over the Hedge)
Certainly not the most memorable DreamWorks film, but a commercial and critical success nonetheless, 2006 Over the limit had an all-star voice cast featuring Bruce Willis, Steve Carell, and William Shatner, among others. It was Wanda Sykes, however, and her portrayal of Stella, the hot-tempered, sassy skunk that really stood out. Without straying too far from her comfort zone, as Sykes can certainly be the queen of ass when she wants to too, it was a great casting that suited her perfectly and resulted in some of the funniest moments in the film.
8 Mel Gibson – Rocky Rhodes (Chicken Run)
DreamWorks has partnered with the creators of Wallace and Gromit to create this stop-motion animation masterpiece based on the iconic 1963 film The great Escape… except with chickens. Mel Gibson perfectly voices Rocky, a super cool American circus rooster who crashes into the chicken coop and agrees to help the imprisoned chickens escape. Universally acclaimed, Chicken coopDreamwork’s meticulous attention to detail, clever humor, and engaging plot make it not only one of Dreamwork’s best titles, but one of the best animated films of all time. Fans will also be pleased to learn that after what seemed like a lifetime, apparently a Netflix sequel is in preparation, titled Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.
seven Anna Kendrick – Poppy (Trolls)
In the 70s, 80s and 90s, it seemed like every kid had a wacky haired troll dollbut for many young children, their first introduction to the world of Trolls reportedly via the 2016 DreamWorks animated musical. Featuring an eclectic mix of singers and actors including Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani and John Cleese, it was Anna Kendrick in the lead role of Princess Poppy who really stole the show. The role gave her the perfect opportunity to showcase both her singing and acting abilities, and perfectly matched the film’s upbeat and fun vibe.
6 Antonio Banderas – Puss in Boots (Shrek Franchise)
Shrek was something of a cultural phenomenon and a sequel was inevitable, but to keep things fresh, DreamWorks decided to add a few new characters, the most notable being Puss in Boots. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Puss quickly became a fan favorite. He was inspired by the main character of the fairy tale Puss in Bootsbut clearly based on Banderas’ own portrayal of Zorro’s The Mask of Zorro, published six years earlier. The character’s success led to a spin-off film, naturally titled Puss in Boots, which focuses on Puss and his swashbuckling adventures in the land of Far, Far Away. The film further developed Banderas’ character and gave us a very enjoyable action adventure, comedic film.
5 Chris Rock—Marty (Madagascar Franchise)
The Madagascar movies have no shortage of talented voice actors to choose from when compiling a list of this nature, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac, and Alec Baldwin. . All deserve honorable mentions, but this is Chris Rock and his high-energy, laugh-out-loud hyper-zebra Marty that really stole the show and provided many of the franchise’s highlights.
4 Emma Stone – Eep Crood (The Croods)
Emma StoneThe instantly recognizable raspy voice lent itself perfectly to temperamental teenage daughter Eep Crood in the 2013 prehistoric comedy The Croods. Interestingly, Stone has since revealed that despite the difference in character traits, she was slightly inspired by Monica from Friends, being quoted as saying “Because I’ve realized that sometimes my cadence kinda goes into, ‘I know!’ Like that kind of sound,” referencing Monica’s catchphrase.
3 Mike Myers – Shrek (Shrek franchise)
Shrek is one of the best known and most iconic animated characters of all time, known for his tall green appearance and distinctive Scottish accent provided by Mike Myers, but the Shrek we all know and love could have looked a whole lot different if the DreamWorks studio had made it. At the studio’s request, Myers had delivered the lines in his natural Canadian accent, but felt something was missing. Myers, who is of Scottish descent, suggested a Scottish accent, saying, “It’s a working-class accent.” The actor noted that as someone who grew up working class, he felt that Shrek, an ogre, was more of a working class being. Apparently, it was producer Steven Spielberg who gave Myers the green light to re-record with the accent, and the rest, as they say, is history.
2 Jack Black – Po (Kung Fu Panda franchise)
Another franchise filled with fantastic voice performances including Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and the inimitable Jack Black in the lead role of Po. It’s Jack Black’s nuanced blend of high-energy comedy and endearing naivety that brings Po to life so beautifully in kung fu pandaand made him such a lovable character who has been so monumental in the franchise’s continued success.
1 Eddie Murphy – Donkey (Shrek franchise)
Eddie Murphy has one of the most recognizable voices in the industry, full of character and energy, with perfect comedic timing. With his high-speed, high-energy delivery, it would seem the role of the affable but clueless and boring talking donkey in Shrek is a role that Murphy was born for. After a series of box office flops and critical failures in the 90s, Donkey brought Murphy back into the limelight, and with the countless quoted lines, hilarious improvisations and unforgettable ‘pop sounds’, Donkey and Murphy’s performance is considered by many to be the highlight of the entire franchise.