“Cars 2” arrives in theaters this weekend, and it’s that rarity: a Pixar film that’s a little disappointing. (Still good — I can’t imagine a Pixar film that isn’t — but not as enjoyable as the rest of them.) Among its pleasures, though, are some delightful voice performances by Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer, and it got me thinking about other great Pixar voice performances. A few of my favorites:
— Ellen DeGeneres in “Finding Nemo.” I remember there was Oscar buzz for this performance, and for good reason — DeGeneres was sweet, funny (her comic timing was, as befits a former standup, perfect), and unexpectedly moving as the friendly Dory, whose motto was “Just keep swimming . . . swimming . . . swimming.”
— Billy Crystal in “Monsters Inc.” There’s a reason Pixar keeps hiring comedians. Crystal’s Mike Wazowski — a one-eyed green monsters — was a fast-talking riot. (Remember the musical number “Put That Thing Back Where It Came From?”)
— Peter O’Toole in “Ratatouille.” As the tall, forbidding food critic Anton Ego, O’Toole brought gravitas and dignity to the role, in which he delivers a wonderful monologue late in the movie. (“Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere,” I think is one of its great lines.)
— John Ratzenberger, in everything. Just because.
— Bob Peterson, the Pixar animator who voiced Dug the dog in “Up.” “SQUIRREL!”
And who are your favorites?