One of the most exciting things about the second Hobbit film ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug‘ is Smaug himself – for two reasons. Firstly, the special effects which bring Smaug to life are breathtaking. He roars to life and commands your attention with every move, subtle and enormous. Secondly, there is Benedict Cumberbatch. Though his voice is clearly distorted, Cumberbatch lends his incomparable growl and delightfully devilish tones to the dragon, making the dialogue between Smaug and Bilbo that much more enjoyable to watch.
Cumberbatch is not the only actor whose voice is as recognisable as their face. Many actors, who have already proven their acting skills on the camera, have proven that their voice can act all on its own by putting in incredible performances without even showing their face on screen!
The charm and charisma found in Paul Bettany’s dulcet tones added such warmth and humour to scenes in the Iron Man films, where Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr.) chats with his computer Jarvis (Bettany), that it’s hard to imagine they don’t spend every waking minute verbally sparring.
Liam Neeson brought his commanding voice to the highly revered lion, Aslan, in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. He has also provided the voice for Bad Cop / Good Cop in 2014’s ‘The Lego Movie’ along with arguably the greatest voice in cinema history, Mr Morgan Freeman.
Cumberbatch’s fellow Hobbit star, Ian McKellen, undoubtedly has one of the greatest voices (and faces) in cinema and has also leant his voice to a few films along the way. A personal favourite is the narration he does over ‘Stardust’ which was the cherry on the top of a fantastic film. I can still hear the inflection with which he says ‘completely’ at the end of the film. A different voice would no doubt have lessened the effect his narration had on viewers – it certainly would have on me! McKellen’s great friend (just look at their Twitter photos!) Patrick Stewart has also leant his vocal talents to more than just ‘Family Guy’. He narrated Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted’ and has also voiced numerous characters for many animated feature films.
Though their voices are all majestic, one of the most recognisable, entertaining, cookiest, endearing and adorable voices in cinema has to fall to the wonderful Ellen DeGeneres in ‘Finding Nemo’. Her hilarious vocal talents made Dory so popular they even decided to make a sequel about her! Though whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen…
Which is your favourite vocal performance in film?
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out in cinemas now