Thursday, May 26, 2016

Movie Review: Walt Before Mickey

Walt Before Mickey

Recommended For: Ages 10 to Adult
Rating: PG for period smoking throughout, mild thematic elements, and language
(From the Amazon description of the book)
For ten years before the creation of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney struggled with, failed at, and eventually mastered the art and business of animation. Most biographies of his career begin in 1928, when Steamboat Willie was released. That first Disney Studio cartoon with synchronized sound made its main character―Mickey Mouse―an icon for generations.

But Steamboat Willie was neither Disney’s first cartoon nor Mickey Mouse’s first appearance. Prior to this groundbreaking achievement, Walt Disney worked in a variety of venues and studios, refining what would become known as the Disney style. In Walt before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years, 1919–1928, Timothy Susanin creates a portrait of the artist from age seventeen to the cusp of his international renown.

After serving in the Red Cross in France after World War I, Walt Disney worked for advertising and commercial art in Kansas City. Walt used these experiences to create four studios―Kaycee Studios, Laugh-O-gram Films, Disney Brothers Studio, and Walt Disney Studio. Using company documents, private correspondence between Walt and his brother Roy, contemporary newspaper accounts, and new interviews with Disney’s associates, Susanin traces Disney’s path. The author shows Disney to be a complicated, resourceful man, especially during his early career. Walt before Mickey, a critical biography of a man at a crucial juncture, provides the “missing decade” that started Walt Disney’s career and gave him the skills to become a name known worldwide.

As life-long Disney lovers, of course our family jumped at the chance of watching this when it was on Netflix. While it wasn't made very well, it accurately portrayed the struggles Walt Disney went through to get to writing Mickey and was a very enjoyable movie.

Technical: 3/5
The actors...couldn't act. At least most of them couldn't. the most blatant bad actor was Roy Disney.  Thankfully, the others weren't half as bad as Roy and I got used to them. Roy, however...ouch.The dialogue also could have been better written, and the beginning was slow, and there was a little too much showing rather than telling. But other than that, it seemed well made.

Setting: 5/5
From what I know, it seemed very accurate to the times. The settings are well fleshed out and vibrant, but not more prominent than the characters and plot.

Plot: 4/5
It was mainly from Walt's years trying to jumpstart a studio right to his first Mickey cartoon. The plot was well-spaced and well thought out, although again, told a little too much rather than shown. All in all, a good plot that could have been better executed.

Character Development: 4.5/5
Since I never knew any of the people in this movie, I can't know for sure if the movie makers got their characters right, but I think they were well-done, all except Walt himself. He didn't have quite the fun and imagination shining through him that I've seen in the videos of the older Walt. Maybe that was just the actor not quite being able to pull Walt off completely. I don't know. I just wasn't completely satisfied with the seriousness of Walt.

This was a good movie despite technical problems that I would recommend for any Disney lover.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think! We love to hear what others think of these books and movies. We just ask that you would please keep your comments clean. We are a kid-friendly site.