Walt Disney gets a biopic about his early career.
Directed by Khoa Le
Starring Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jon Heder, and Jodie Sweetin
Initial Review by Chris Cook
It sounds like I’m straight up going to trash this movie, but I’m not. I did find the biographical information about Walt Disney’s early struggles—from his creation of Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City to his journey to California to create the Disney Brothers Studios—quite interesting. I never knew much about the history of early animation, and the competition to have one’s short films shown in movie theaters. The whole ownership and distribution arrangements between companies also amused me. I also liked how we had a “behind the scenes” perspective of his early Alice Comedies—short cartoons that blended both live action and animation. I don’t remember ever seeing any of them before. I also have to praise that they had “what happened to such-and-such character” segments before the ending credits, with photographs of the real individuals. As for films based on real people, I always enjoy when they do that. While I liked the historical portion of the film, I almost wished this had been a straight-up documentary on the life of Walt Disney.
I already mentioned how bad the script was. Some of the actors did okay—some weren’t very good at all—considering what they had to work with. I don’t know if it was the editing, the flow, or what, but I found the movie overall to be very boring. It was like, “Oh, look. Another scene.” Next scene. Next scene. The dialogue was stale and repetitive; how many encouragement speeches were there? And when he was riding the train and saw the shooting star flying over the Mickey Mouse shaped cloud. Really? One of the best parts of the film, in my opinion, was when Walt was practically homeless and paling around with a mouse in his pocket, and his devastation when the mouse runs away.
Walt Before Mickey wasn’t a good movie, but I won’t go as far as to say it was a “worst movie of the year” kind of film. It was Meh. If not for the noticeable title, if you were to ask me what it was about a few years down the road, I probably wouldn’t remember. One thing I do know is that it was no Saving Mr. Banks. Think I’m giving this one a C-