Nope, I do not mean Mickey, Donald and Goofy interpreting a literature classic in a featured film; I said muketeers, not mousketeers.
Personally, concerning Disney animation, I believe that the principal legends would be Glenn Keane and obviously Ub Iwerks, who have given life to, evidently Mickey Mouse, character that got it all started, and well The Little Mermaid’s Ariel, Tangled’s Rapunzel, Tarzan, Pocahontas and others. Talking about legends, right? Still there are other three that are truly renown Disney magicians. We shall call them, Disney’s three musketeers.
Mark Henn, Andreas Deja and Ruben Aquino are these three Disney gladiators of the Disney Renaissance! You might not recognize them by name, but you sure are very familiar (
and crazily in love) with their work.
Mark Henn was most known for animating the princesses during the Disney Renaissance, such as Jasmine and Mulan, working as well in Ariel and Belle from the Florida Studios. He animated Olivia (Basil the Great Mouse Detective), Young Simba (The Lion King) and Jenny (Oliver and Company). Certainly a princess/woman lover! His most recent creation? Princess Tiana (The Princess and the Frog). He is known for giving Jasmine the looks of his younger sister in the search of an exotic, middle-eastern look for her. So in theory, Jasmine exists! Lucky children who have a Disney princess for a mom (
although I wouldn’t trade mine). After watching Cinderella when a child, he knew what he was meant to do. Talking about Disney struck!
If Mark Henn was the princess animator, this guy is the villain guru! He credits his inspiration for being an animator to him watching The Jungle Book as a kid. Andreas Deja was the supervising animator for Jafar (Aladdin), Scar (The Lion King) and Gaston (Beauty and the Beast). He is a polish animator who was a lifelong fan of Disney’s animated films. The first film in which he worked was The Black Cauldron, supervising the design of Gurgi, sharing a cubicle with Tim Burton. He of course gets credit for more than just villains; King Triton (The Little Mermaid), Mama Odie (The Princess and the Frog), Queen Narissa (Enchanted), Lilo (Lilo and Stitch), Hercules (Hercules), Queen Mousetoria (Basil the Great Mouse Detective) and Roger Rabbit (Who framed Roger Rabbit?). Although we will remember him most, for giving life to villains that not only make our blood boil in anger, but have a charming quality that will give them a special place in our hearts.
Now, what is Ruben Aquino you may ask? The side-kick filipino animator? He is certainly not, he is not known for any particular type of character as these other two are, but he was the third peer; the one who brought all their work together. These three were together in the animation of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mulan, Princess and the Frog and Oliver and Company. He brought to life Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Francis (Oliver and Company), Maurice (Beauty and the Beast), Adult Simba (The Lion King), Fa Li and Shang (Mulan), Pleakley and David (Lilo and Stitch), Eudora and James (Princess and the Frog) and Chief Powhatan (Pocahontas). Talking about leaving your mark in history right?
As you can see, these were always together in every single featured film, and if not all three of them, the talent of at least two of them were always together. Disney studios didn’t dare separate these animation heroes! They were never alone while working on a film: true team work. And for this, we shall grant them the title of Disney’s Three Musketeers.