Disney magic cradled our childhood and still remains quite present in this day and age, through memorable songs and iconic quotes from our favourite Disney characters. There are dozens of Disney movies created for the enjoyment of young and old alike, and which hold numerous hidden messages. Due to the high popularity of those movies, most – if not all, have been dubbed in several different languages across the world by many voice over actors. Today’s blog will focus on the famous English voice over actors that dubbed 5 of the most well-known Disney characters. I thought it would also be nice to include some symbolisms hidden behind these Disney movies.
1. Mickey MouseOh, boy!
One of Walt Disney’s first creations – Mickey Mouse is one of the only Disney characters which, throughout time, has been dubbed in English by four different voice-over artists. Unsurprisingly, Walt Disney was the first person to lend his voice to our famous mouse around the year 1929. It is said that Walt Disney was no longer able to dubb Mickey’s high voice due to his habit of smoking which resulted in the deterioration of his voice. Then, in 1946, Jimmy Macdonald took over, followed by Wayne Allwine in the 1980s until 2009. Finally, Bret Iwan became the official voice for Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse can be defined as being the mascot of Disney Company. Like the other Disney movies mentioned below, Mickey is also full of meanings. Happiness, fun and optimism are common themes represented in the movies. Mickey demonstrates that despite the situation one’s in, the good guy always wins! All the voice over actors previously mentioned did an amazing job in transmitting Mickey’s positive, fun and loving energy in the movies, throughout the years.
2. The Lion King – ZazuOh, no. Not the birdie-boiler!
“I am not really single, I am dating my self , I take my self out to eat, I buy myself clothes, I love me, I’m awesome ”
Does this quote ring a bell? Well, it comes from a very popular persona – Mr. Bean! Performed by Rowan, a well-known British comedian and actor.
Zazu is a red-billed hornbill presented as being King Mufasa’s majordomo; he displays the following values: loyality, honor and dignity. And despite his small size, he responsible for maintaing the order within the kingdom. He holds quite an important role within the story. Rowan Atkins, who is used to the comical world, had to endorse a more serious role by having to make his voice sound a little more authoritative. In addition he had to mirror Zazu’s fun and caring persona.
In terms of the symbolisms behind the movie, The Lion King demonstrates the idea that one’s past does not define their future.
3. Mulan – MushuChicken Boy? Say That To My Face, You Limp Noodle!
You probably already heard of Eddie Murphy before as he is well-known for his acting and comedian skills; but did you know that he is the English voice over actor of Mushu from Mulan? You might have also recognised his voice in Shrek as he also dubbed Donkey throughout the series. Some of his most notable works include Dolemite is My Name (2019), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), as well as 48Hrs. (1982).
Mushu is a red dragon, who is Mulan’s guardian and protector. Eddie’s ability to bring Mushu’s personality and comical side forward through the use of various voice tones. It makes the character lovable to the audience despite his selfishness and impulsivity.
The Disney movie Mulan holds many symbolisms within its story. However, there are 3 notable themes that pop out from it. It highlights the importance of family, and that determination and perseverance is key to success! And most importantly, through her cross-dressing as a man, Mulan defies gender expectations. She brings up the idea that one must embrace one’s own identity even if it means defying society.
4. Brother Bear – KenaiAre you sure your mom didn’t ditch you, Ko-duh?
I am pretty sure that if I say Joker to you, the name Joaquin Phoenix will probably cross your mind. Well, in addition to being an amazing actor who won the Academy Award for best actor for his representation of the Joker, Joaquin was also the English Voice-over actor of Kenai in Brother Bear. Throughout the movie, you can see the evolution of the main character, Kenai. Thanks to Joaquin, you can spot this character development through his voice. From the immature Kenai at the beginning of the movie, to a more grown up, and eloquent man.
Phil Collins’s legendary voice is also an major element of the movie. As all 7 songs of the movie were written by him – 5 being sang by him.
“Brother Bear” is said to take its inspiration from the Inuit culture, where themes associated with the Inuit’s common practices and mythology are touched upon in the movie. Furthermore, it highlights the importance and value of brotherhood, portraying rather realistic sibling relationships (i.e.: teasing, fighting, love etc.). It also demonstrate the importance of empathy towards all species.
5. Ratatouille – Alfredo Linguini
I have a secret. It’s sort of disturbing. I have a ra… I have a raaaaa…
I might be cheating a little on this one since Ratatouille isn’t an actual Disney movie but a Pixar film. However, I think that Lou Romano is an interesting voice over actor as he lent his voice to 3 well-known characters – Bernie Kropp in The Incredibles, Snot Rod in Cars, and most importantly, Alfredo Linguini in Ratatouille. He is an animation production design artist (he worked on Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles), and as previoulsy mentioned he is also a popular voice actor.
The hidden message behind Ratattouille is that one should not be defined by the prejudices they face (i.e.: being a woman, being from different ethnicity etc.). And that they should still fight for their dreams and rights!
FUN FACT! Did you know that Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of our Disney princess Moana, is the youngest VO actor to voice a Disney princess? (she started recording for the movie at 14).
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