Friday, March 11, 2016

Walt Before Mickey Review

You may have heard some buzz about a film called Walt Before Mickey back in August of 2015. Walt Before Mickey is a motion picture based on the book of the same title by Timothy Susanin with foreword by Diane Disney Miller. It is directed by Khoa Lee and stars Armando Gutierrez as Ub Iwerks, Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as Roy Disney, Jodie Sweetin (Full House) as Charlotte Disney, and Thomas Ian Nicholas (Rookie of the Year) as Walt Disney.

Not only was I excited about the movie I was super excited to have the opportunity to attend the premiere at the AMC Downtown Disney (Now Disney Springs). We knew that it was going to be a great experience when before we even entered the building we ran into an actor from the movie and his family. His daughter was so proud to say that her daddy was in the movie. I wondered who else we may see that morning. My son and I took our seat in the theater and before we knew it the Director Khoa Lee, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and a few other actors were in front of us talking about how excited they were for us to see the movie and that they would be outside after it was complete to sign autographs and get some pictures.

For a Disney nut like myself I was so excited to see a movie that followed parts of Walt Disney’s life that rarely are discussed. Typically it is brushed upon that Walt Disney had a rough time starting out and that he faced diversity but an in depth look at that time in his life was something that I felt was missing. This motion picture does exactly that, it tells the story of Walt Disney up to the creation of the iconic Mickey Mouse. This, sometimes very depressing, look at Walt’s struggles doesn’t sugar coat anything when telling the story. It is difficult to watch at times because of the adverse situations that Walt Disney faced, but important life lessons can be learned with each.

My son and I were both captivated by the movie, and that is saying a lot when one of us was a 12 year-old boy with a very small attention span. After watching all of the credits we made our way out to the lobby where we were not only greeted by the Director and Thomas Ian Nicholas but also Armando Gutierrez (Ub Iwerks), and other actors from the movie. It seemed every time we turned around there was someone in front of us that we had just seen on the big screen. It was a very neat experience that I will not soon forget.

Since this is a review and I have shared my bias I will caution someone who is thinking about watching this film that there are few feel good moments for someone who cannot connect the success that is to come with what they are seeing on the screen. My wife said that it may have been one of the most depressing 110 minutes that she has seen in a long time. That being said, I think it is important for any huge Disney fan to see what kind of determination it took to bring everything we love today into being. I believe that it could be very important for anyone who has struggled in life to realize that things can turn up if you dig deep and keep on keeping on.  While it is largely a story of failure, it is also a story of success.  It is a story that needed to be told and I am glad that these filmmakers decided to share the story with us. 

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