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Walt Before Mickey

Walt Before Mickey

The true story of a boy whose dreams built a kingdomApr. 03, 2015 USA120 Min.PG
Your rating: 0
8.8 1,833 votes

Video trailer


Khoa Lê


David Henrie isRudy Ising
Rudy Ising
Jon Heder isRoy Disney
Roy Disney
Jodie Sweetin isCharlotte Disney
Charlotte Disney


Based on the book “Walt Before Mickey” covers the early years of Walt Disney’s career. The legendary Walt Disney had a tumultuous childhood, yet he was determined to overcome obstacles in his path, before the creation of his first iconic character: Mickey Mouse.

Walt Before Mickey
Original titleWalt Before Mickey
IMDb Rating6.0 3,010 votes
TMDb Rating6.2 49 votes

(35) comments

  • Paul AllaerSeptember 10, 2015Reply

    A Disney-approved look at the early life of Walt Disney

    ”Walt Before Mickey” (2015 release; 110 min.) is a look at Walt
    Disney’s early years, in particular the decade between 1919 and 1929.
    As the movie opens, we see a 7 yr. old Walt in rural Missouri, with a
    stern father. As a 13 yr. old, Walt officially becomes interested in
    animation, and we swiftly move on to 1919, when Walt moves to Kansas
    City and starts his first company ”Laugh-O-Gram”. At this point we are
    15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more would spoil your viewing
    experience, you’ll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

    Couple of comments: first, this is the movie adaptation of the book of
    the same name by Timothy Susanin (and a foreword by Diane Disney
    Miller). I have not read the book and so cannot comment how closely the
    movie sticks to the book (I’m guessing, very closely). I don’t want to
    overstate this, but at the same time don’t want to not mention it,
    namely that this movie comes with the official Disney stamp of
    approval. That could be a good thing, although the downside of this is
    that there isn’t the slightest negative thing about Walt Disney in this
    movie. I mean, to accept this movie as 100% true, Walt Disney had to
    have been a living saint. It even goes so far that at the end of the
    movie, when we are informed what would become of many of the characters
    featured in this,, it states ”Walt never held a grudge against Charles
    Mintz”. (You need to see the movie to fully understand how badly Mintz
    treated Disney…) As to the acting performances, I felt many of them
    were quite ‘wooden’, you can tell they are literally ‘acting’. Thomas
    Ian Nicholas (best known from the American Pie franchise) tries to make
    the most of it, but even he cannot save the movie. Bottom line, I was
    disappointed with the second rate quality and overall feel of the
    movie, like this was a TV Movie of the Week, directed by a first time
    feature-length director (in this case: Khoa Le). Is there a great story
    to be told? Absolutely! But it won’t be found in this movie,

    The movie opened this past weekend and the matinée screening where I
    saw this at was attended very nicely, somewhat to my surprise, since
    this movie has not gotten much of an advertising push or anything.
    Seems that people really do want to find out more about the early life
    of the American icon that is Walt Disney. Surely Walt deserved a better
    movie than this. ”Walt Before Mickey” is strictly for Disney fans, and
    even then, viewer beware!

  • charney-1September 13, 2015Reply

    Disney fans will be happy

    As a Disneyphile of sorts, there was no way I was going to miss
    watching this film on the big screen even though I had to travel two
    hours via the Interstate through Kansas to the Kansas City metro area
    (appropriately enough since that is where Disney started his animation
    company) to get to the nearest theater showing it. The trip was worth
    it for me personally, but the film itself may disappoint others. Its
    quality is uneven; it needs the sort of polish and texture that the
    Disney organization would be able to give it. Don’t expect something
    like ”Savings Mr. Banks,” the Disney film that dealt with Disney’s
    struggles to get ”Mary Poppins” made toward the end of his life. While
    the story of ”Walt Before Mickey” is itself engaging, and the plotting,
    pace and dialogue not all that bad, the editing is uneven, the
    cinematography is uninspired, and the acting is just this side of
    wooden and amateurish. However, Thomas Ian Nicholas saves the day,
    practically carrying the entire film on his performance alone. His
    acting is earnest and sympathetic to the persona of a young and
    struggling Walt Disney; and the character he creates is believable and
    likable. In the final analysis, the film will never win any awards, but
    it has a lot of heart and wins the approval of those, like myself, who
    wish to see Disney (and the Disney legacy) treated in the sort of fair,
    even-handed, and yet respectful manner he deserves.

  • Steve PulaskiDecember 10, 2015Reply

    Misses the magic in favor of all the incredulity

    Walt Disney is one of the biggest enigmas ever bestowed upon cinema.
    Many know his name, but few know his personal story or his personal
    struggle to get to be the renowned, billion dollar entity that he is
    currently seen as today. Because of that, ”Walt Before Mickey” is an
    ideal biopic, telling us the story of Walt Disney well before Mickey
    Mouse was even a thought in his mind. Presumably, it’d be a film that
    would not only demystify a man, but an empire, and give us a more
    intimate glimpse at someone who has been ritualistically accepted the
    unmatched soul of animated creativity.

    ”Woulda, coulda, shoulda,” is the moral of ”Walt Before Mickey,” which,
    other than one strong thematic point it chooses to emphasize quite
    regularly, is an overwrought and cheesy biopic, brimful of
    oversimplifications and embellished emotions. Walt Disney is played by
    Thomas Ian Nicholas of ”American Pie” fame, an actor with a lot of
    attractiveness, but no discernible soul or personality he’s willing to
    etch into the role. The film concerns Walt Disney’s humble beginnings
    as a local farm boy, strictly dictated by his father and misunderstood
    by his whole family. Ever since his youth, he has dreamt of being a
    cartoonist, to the point where he has drawn random, animated animals on
    the walls of his father’s barn in order to fulfill his desires for
    creative expression.

    ”Walt Before Mickey” focuses on Walt’s struggle to prove himself a
    gifted animator in a money driven world, as well as his fight the
    restrictive and debilitating copyright laws that allow studios to own
    the rights of the animators’ work without any question. Such
    fundamental ideas would be instrumental to a great film if Khoa Le’s
    project wasn’t more intent on inciting an emotional response than it
    was one would that would impact its audience on a level they’d remember
    in the long term.

    The problem with ”Walt Before Mickey” is it chooses to embellish its
    subjects in an emotionally manipulative sense, or one that sacrifices
    their humanity in favor of cheap pathos. As a result, the film suffers
    from not only being a believable project, but one that has any other
    intention aside from capitalizing off of the recognizable qualities and
    the enigma behind Walt Disney’s name.

    Le and screenwriters Arther L. Bernstein and Armando Gutierrez do
    capitalize on Walt’s intention to be entirely full of integrity and
    good will, never making him out to be an entirely greedy soul nor one
    concerned with immediate monetary compensation. In fact, it’s quite
    admirable how Bernstein and Gutierrez take Walt’s story and emphasize
    fundamental elements about an artist staying true to himself and the
    repeated failures many will have to go through in order to obtain
    noteworthy, if any, success. Most of this compelling subtext, however,
    is undercut, by the film’s need to emphasize every emotional occurrence
    in the film in a boisterous and overwrought manner that does nothing
    for the film as a whole aside from bring down its thematic credibility.

    ”Walt Before Disney,” through its directorial and narrative woodenness
    that would make contemporary independent Christian cinema seem like
    believable fare in the modern day, makes soap operas pragmatic in the
    kind of drama and incredulous circumstances most of them conjure up.
    It’s a film intent on embellishing every emotional circumstance and not
    thinking twice about constructing a scene that isn’t built off of
    dimestore pathos nor incredulous circumstances. It’s one of the year’s
    most glaring missed opportunities, as it turns a story of incredible
    significance into a cheap and forgettable trite in an independent film
    that bites off far more than it can chew.

  • alouezDecember 21, 2015Reply

    trying to find something good about this movie

    Not to put too fine a point on it- this is one of the worst movies I’ve
    seen in a very long time.

    I wish I could get back the $ I spent to watch this on OnDemand. The
    acting is painful, the pacing is leaden, and the dialogue reminds one
    of that written for the sixth grade Christmas play. I dozed off several
    times and didn’t even miss anything.

    About the only praise I can come up with is that the cast are pretty
    much all really good looking. And the guys who play the supporting team
    of animators in the early incarnation of the Disney studios work very
    hard and almost succeed in making their scenes compelling. But it’s not
    enough to overcome either the uninspired earnestness of the guy playing
    Walt Disney, or the atrocious dialogue. Every scene drags. Every.
    Scene. It very much screamed ‘inexperienced director’.

    There is a good story lurking underneath here. But it’s not told in
    this particular film. It’s especially egregious that they gloss over
    the fundamental dishonesty of a man who lies to and manipulates his
    employees to keep them churning out work, with the goal of achieving
    his own dream. It’s not an admirable thing to steal work from an
    employee- particularly when it’s being made clear that those employees
    are suffering as a result. A skilled filmmaker could have drawn drama
    out of this scenario; a lot could have been made of the irony of a man
    trampling all before him to bring the world… Mickey Mouse.

    Hopefully, this story will someday get the treatment it deserves. It
    does not get it here. Which is unfortunate, because apparently most of
    those involved in this project were also the ones bankrolling it, and
    they all seem like nice people.

  • Joao VictorDecember 23, 2015Reply

    The beginning of everything

    First of all, I need to say this movie is a good history to think about
    when you are asking yourself regarding if you follow your dreams or
    keep doing the same and boring things forever.

    Walt Disney’s life is very hectic and he made a choice: He would follow
    his dream. But the things haven’t come out like he has planned,
    although he continued searching a way to do what he has always wanted
    to do.

    And the movie shows all the steps to achieve the success, since the
    fight with his family, he had to prove that what he was willing to be
    able to support himself and his wife (after) until the opening of his

    It’s strange and hard to believe that a company didn’t want to get the
    stories produced by Walt Disney, but that way you realize that not even
    the most famous artists had an easy life in the beginning.

    To conclude, I just wanna say that I watched this movie because I have
    grown by watching his animations and I am a big fan of Walt Disney’s.

  • planktonrulesApril 16, 2016Reply

    The mostly true story of Walt before he helped create Mickey Mouse.

    While I love the idea about Walt Disney’s life before he and Ub Iwerks
    came up with Mickey Mouse, I am a little apprehensive about wholly
    endorsing this or any other film. After all, the Disney Corporation has
    carefully sanitized Walt and created an idealized image of the man over
    the years. Don’t get me wrong…he was a GREAT man…but Disney has had
    a history of over-idealizing the guy…and, conversely, some jerks have
    tried to make money saying Walt was practically the Antichrist (I’ve
    read two smear books like this)! So exactly how true all the details
    are…well, that’s not an easy thing for me or anyone to say. But it
    was entertaining and at least mostly true (if not completely true). I
    know that Walt’s father was not the nicest man on Earth and Walt did
    have a horrible time financing his initial films…so at least these
    and many other details rang true in the picture.

    The movie is a dramatization of Walt’s struggles mostly from when he
    first went to work as an animator. His earlier life is only alluded to
    very briefly. It’s a shame, as I was interested in his life before he
    became a professional animator. Some of the film was very close to
    Walt’s life (such as his struggles with money and financing as well as
    his staff and Oswald being stolen by Mintz) and some of it just seemed
    patently absurd–such as Walt keeping a pet mouse in his pocket as an
    adult (I sincerely doubt this is true) and Walt not holding a grudge
    against Mintz for stealing and almost destroying him (this could not be
    true). As for the second case, Walt was famous for holding grudges and
    after finally setting a long and costly strike with animators in the
    early 40s, he promptly fired many of these people and vowed to not
    rehire them! The film also idealizes his relationship with Iwerks who
    left Disney for several years in the 1930s to start his own
    studio…and this isn’t mentioned. Still, if you don’t mind being given
    ‘the party line’ the film is enjoyable and MOSTLY truthful…mostly.

  • vvieraApril 19, 2016Reply

    Congrats, you just watched garbage in its purist form.

    Awful doesn’t even begin to describe how bad this movie is from opening
    credits to end credits. 2 hours?! Really? Wow I’m pretty sure this
    movie makes ghost rider 2 look like the GodFather. Who was the casting
    director on this film? Oh wait! It was Stevie wonder that’s who. Who in
    there right mind would go ”hey lets get this 3 washed up clowns in a
    movie together and let’s see how that goes shall we?!” Welp you did it
    and guess what (if I could swear this would be carpet bombed with
    profanities) but I’ve never actually gotten so mad at movie to the
    point where I just watched it just to scream at the screen like a
    deranged lunatic. I’m all just going to save you the trouble and say DO
    NOT EVER WATCH THIS FILM EVER! God have mercy on your soul if you do.

  • scherfcomApril 19, 2016Reply

    It’s an inspiring movie … the days before the Disney glory

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • GirlOfFallApril 22, 2016Reply

    Waited this film – got slapped in the face

    When I first saw the trailer for this film, I was overjoyed. I love
    comics, animation and history, so this seemed like a film I would enjoy
    very much. Today Walt Disney is an icon for animation, his legacy is to
    inspire animators and cartoon lovers (I’m not speaking of today’s
    Disney Corporate, though…).

    First red flag came to me when I saw the movie title in Netflix. But I
    thought oh well, at least I don’t have to pay separately for my movie
    ticket or anything and that’s cool. I’ve found many good & recent
    movies in Netflix, so I didn’t quite expect what I was down for.

    I nearly shot my cola out through my nose when I saw the first credits.
    They looked like someone had JUST found out the ”Scetch” filter in
    Photoshop. I quickly started to feel like I was watching a bad
    biography from the nineties. But again, I assured myself, that many
    great movies have pulled it together with a small budget.

    But I was about to learn a hard lesson here. Acting? Mediocre. Script?
    Horrible. Music? Constant piano playing that makes you want to pull
    your hair out one by one. Story flow? Like many car crashed put
    together. The ending? ”Ohhhh man. Did I just waste two hours on THIS?”
    The only even mildly interesting stuff happens in the first 30 minutes
    of the film and after that it’s just a pain to watch.

    I’m truly sorry for the actors, the director and the screen writer. I
    don’t know who hurt you, but please don’t ever do another movie
    together again.

  • Ray HuApril 23, 2016Reply

    Gave me a headache

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • btsmall74April 25, 2016Reply


    This is my very first IMDb review. I was compelled to write, as this
    film is simply THAT bad.

    This is a cheesy, cheap, made-for-TV style travesty with all the depth
    of a teaspoon. The script is weak, the dialogue stilted and
    cringe-worthy, and the acting is quite simply pitiful. But the worst
    thing about this film is the pathetically awful directing. A glance at
    Khoa Le’s bio tells you everything you need to know. A director with
    absolutely no skill or experience who’s greatest talent seems to be
    talking himself up.

    Walt Disney, the man himself, is a subject that is ripe for the picking
    – compelling, universally appealing, easily marketable. No one but the
    most dyed-in-the-wool deluded Disney fanatic could believe this version
    of his story is all there is to tell. This paltry product barely even
    begins to pick off the obvious scabs of the man’s early life. Any other
    half-witted music video producer masquerading as a feature film
    director could have done so much more with this material and cast.

    The most intriguing and surprising thing about this, is that it got
    past the Disney legal team.

  • BobApril 27, 2016Reply

    high school stage production, filmed by a made-for-TV crew

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • fisheric26May 2, 2016Reply

    Really, Really Bad

    We watched this after returning from a Disney World vacation, still not
    quite ready to put our recent trip in the rear view mirror, and turned
    it off about an hour into the film. It’s a terrible movie. The acting
    is atrocious, so bad that I wondered several times how the director
    approved a scene for the final cut. The thing is that I didn’t think
    the cast was that bad, there are a few decent names in here. Everyone
    was just awful though, clear that they were only in it for a paycheck.

    What’s more is that the story was told in a way that’s so boring and
    bland, nothing is interesting. This is a movie that should have been
    played on Lifetime, and even that may be giving it a little too much

    Don’t believe the 4.5/5 star rating it gets on Netflix like I did –
    this movie stinks.

  • az-alwaysMay 3, 2016Reply

    Love it

    I loved this movie. It is everything I watch movies for. Call me corny,
    but I like to smile. The cast was great. I wasn’t bored. The movie
    wasn’t slow, and I will see it again. I don’t like movies that are full
    of complexities. I get enough of that in real life. I don’t like being
    taken on an emotional roller coaster ride either. This movie I can just
    put on and feel like I am around friends. I watched it on Netflix and
    the people who had viewed it before me gave it an average of three and
    a half stars so I decided to give it a try. I gave it five stars. Funny
    how critics didn’t like this movie but viewers on Netflix did. I wish
    there were more movies like this.

  • wuttakidderMay 5, 2016Reply

    Incredible story, not incredible movie (and incredulous mouse story turns out to be true)

    I have to confess, I’m a sucker for true stories of people overcoming
    great odds to do worthwhile stuff. And when you consider the obstacles
    (Disney’s father was actually a lot stricter and demanding than the
    movie depicted) and the lovable creations he gave the world, done with
    groundbreaking methods and an undying focus on quality, I of course am
    drawn to watch this movie. It was, as some of the other reviewers
    noted, slightly disappointing in some ways…where maybe it missed some
    humanity in favor of melodramatics. I think it was a little too focused
    on the details of the financial challenges of the early years (half as
    much time would have been good). And on the flip-side, there were very
    telling stories from his childhood, published in well-regarded
    biographies, that weren’t even mentioned…things that obviously fueled
    his passion to eventually create the happiest place on earth.

    But on the other hand, the piece that seemed the most incredulous to me
    (the mouse that seemed to be more of a friend than a pet) turns out to
    be real (based on authorized biographies and accounts of the family).
    However, it looks like the scene in the alley with the cop was made up,
    which gets back to the unnecessary dramatics that aren’t nearly as
    compelling as the truth.

    All in all, I agree with the other reviewers that it’s the actual true
    story that is the draw…not so much the handling of it. (Possibly a
    larger budget would have helped.) At any rate, because of the amazing
    heart, vision, tenacity, and legacy of the person, it’s still
    worthwhile (for me) to watch.

  • Nicole CMay 9, 2016Reply

    Good portrayals and visuals, but a bit slow-paced.

    While the film does well in showing us Disney’s hardships and how he
    lived through them, it felt very repetitive, and not all that engaging.
    I watched the movie over three days, but can you tell that I probably
    would not have liked it if I watched it straight. The main issue I have
    with it, is the pace of the movie. It went by too slowly.

    Also, the narrative is predominantly focused on Walt himself, and not
    his company or how he gets set up. The development is on Walt, and
    audiences are meant to focus their attention on him and how he
    interacts with others. We are hardly given enough information about
    others to create a judgement about them. Other characters merely drift
    past our vision. We know vaguely who they are and what they do, but
    like Walt, our attention is not focused on them. As well, we are told
    of the hardships they face, but aren’t shown much suffering.

    The film has the appropriate aged feel to it, which corresponds rightly
    to the era it wishes to portray. However, I also feel that it paints a
    biased and safe depiction of Walt. He was consumed by his work and his
    anger and frustration are sometimes shown , but not enough to really
    grasp how tightly he ran his ship.

    In other aspects, the acting is pretty good. Nicholas plays the part of
    Walt well, and portrays the intensity and drive that Disney must have
    had to succeed at his animations. However, sometimes his character does
    look awkward and stagnant – though this could be the fault of the
    directing. Other supporting actors and actresses did their roles good

    There are some nice visual shots, but overall the cinematography is not
    very spectacular. The tone of the film has a consistent aged look to
    it, but which also adds to the slow pace of the film. As well, most
    shots are stationary (that I can remember) which again contributes to
    the slow pace.

    Overall, it is an inspiring film about hard work, but one that also
    reinforces the idea of the ‘American Dream’. The narrative and acting
    are well done, though the pace is a bit too slow to watch in one
    sitting. Additionally, a little thing I noticed, is that the young
    actors playing the younger versions of Walt (Owen Teague and Demitri
    Vardoulias) look nothing like Nicholas. They quite look like each
    other, but not at all like the grown up Walt.

  • Vishnu vg ([email protected])May 11, 2016Reply

    Good direction and good acting

    I am from Kerala State, India. Today I watched this movie through
    netflix NetFlix. Thanks netflix for bringing such a nice movie. I would
    say its one of the best movies, Good direction and good acting. Very
    touching and true story of Walt Disney. Informative too. The ending
    credits music is just awesome. The film is a bit slow paced, but that
    is its highlight. About the other reviews, to be honest I would say
    that they are just poor critics. They don’t know how to reivew a movie.
    Those fast paced action movie fans, don’t likt this type of drama
    movies. Better they check the genre of the movie before watching. The
    negative reviews, they giving truly fools the ignorant ones and they
    may not even watch the film.

    Hats of the the entire crew. Bring such nice movies like this. Ignore
    the critics. The wikipedia article also is too confusing. Some low
    quality critics criticizing. Now a days critics are just money based.
    If the film team not gives them enough money they criticize. They wont
    bother the film is good or not.

  • Saint XavierMay 13, 2016Reply


    Don’t let the preface of this movie deceive you.

    The director must have smoked some of that extra special, because he’s
    on some next level garbage. No thumbs up; this makes me wish I was a
    leper. Kindergarten school play acting fools. Thomas Nicholas needs to
    stick to that satirical American Pie type ‘ish for real. Walt doing
    triple back flips in his grave, or wait this dude was frozen right? He
    probably got shook and shattered that cryogenic chamber just to show
    the back of his Pedo hand to the directors like ”SURPRISE DIANE”.

    Do your self a favor and spend that hour and forty minutes with Donald
    Trumps wife so she can tell you stories about their sex life, because
    that’s honestly probably less painful to take in. Imagine if Rosie
    O’Donald and Mr. Trump both had a sex reassignment surgery and switched
    parts then made a dominatrix tape that was leaked by Anonymous world
    wide like some U2 iTunes scam… still not as horrible as this movie.
    LOL it would probably be called ”The Rosie O’Donald Trump Chronicles”.

  • gracekirkbyMay 13, 2016Reply

    Hugely Disappointing

    I actually had to stop watching half way through because the film was
    so painful to watch. I think my biggest mistake was watching ”Saving Mr
    Banks” the night before watching this film. Walt Before Micky certainly
    tried to recapture the magic so easily conveyed in Saving Me Banks yet
    failed miserably. Not only were the portrayals of these real people
    wildly inaccurate, the acting was completely wooden. Everything about
    the script, direction and acting screamed inexperience and was
    reminiscent of a school production. I am very disappointed as this
    could have been a charming film in much the same way Saving Mr Banks
    made the history of Disney come alive, alas this time around it failed
    miserably; hopefully one day a remake will do this story justice!

  • ColinMay 19, 2016Reply

    An early portrait of a visionary

    I downloaded this on iTunes and it is one of the best movies I’ve seen
    in months. It really got across what it is like to be a visionary and
    having to deal with constraints of the business world. I believed in
    the characters and cared what happened to them.

    I felt the film got across a lot of Walt’s character, his nature of
    biting off more then he can chew, of risking everything and of bringing
    everyone into danger too.

    If you’ve ever read or seen documentaries about starting a small
    business this film illustrates the trials and troubles excellently.

    As a bonus you see many clips of the earliest animations he put his
    hand to (literally). I can’t wait to watch it again.

  • BixMay 22, 2016Reply

    Clean, clear message, decently made.

    With the Hollywood machine pounding out flesh-eating, filthy, violent,
    promiscuous stories by the hundreds each year, it’s refreshing when
    anyone comes along and is willing to take on a ”politically incorrect”
    story about ordinary human beings. Walt was not a super-hero, and this
    earlier look at his life gives us plenty of thoughtful insight into his
    character (flaws included), and his tough beginnings. If we want, we
    can tear apart the acting, the writing, the filming. But I don’t want
    to do that. Here’s the simple fact. If a movie doesn’t have gore and
    sex a-plenty, then the big studios will NOT even look at it. With the
    exception of course of the ”art” films that toe the Hollywood line of
    bull, and satisfy the Academy’s lust for twisted entertainment.

    Sorry, but I like the story. And as a professional musician, I say
    this. People might like it if they actually shut off their ”fast- paced
    critical mindset” and tried to open their minds up to the fact that not
    everyone has to buy into what’s currently worshiped by the ”sheople” in
    the crowds. That’s how music is. I don’t have to like every sound in
    the performance to love the song. Sometimes the song is enough.

    In this case, I’d recommend this to any family, any adults, anyone
    younger, as a true look at an influential man’s beginnings, and how he
    got his start bringing joy to others.

  • music-mixerMay 30, 2016Reply

    A ”Basic” Enjoyable film

    Stumbled upon this film on Netflix, As a Disney fan I was excited to
    watch it.

    The movie has a ”beginner film maker” feel to it, but that is OK as
    that is essentially what it is.

    The film was simple and easy to watch, sure some of the acting was a
    little weak but I enjoyed it.

    I read all the reviews and people were way to harsh about this film.

    It was warm and sad with the expected happy ending

    Safe for family of all ages, however there is nothing here for kids.

    Watch it for what it is, enjoy it….

  • mrnicklabahnMay 30, 2016Reply

    Would not even recommend this movie to Hitler.

    This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I’ve never written a
    review before, but I felt the need to because it was so horrible. So
    bad, don’t you dare click play on it on Netflix if that’s the same way
    you came upon it as I did.

    The acting. The acting, the acting, the f******* acting is so bad. I
    seriously had to look up if this movie was supposed to be a satire
    because there’s no way the acting could be this bad. I could drive to
    my local elementary school, grab 3 special ed children, hand them a
    book about Walt Disney, and they could put together a better film. I
    swear to god it’s the worst acting I’ve ever seen in a movie.

    Now I did give it 2 stars for a reason. Because it should be labeled as
    a comedy. It’s very DRY humor, very dry. But if you happen to be on
    drugs or high, I could see this movie being entertaining for you. I
    watched it all the way through out of boredom, and because it was kind
    of funny.

  • TheLittleSongbirdJune 5, 2016Reply

    Huge waste of great potential

    Like most of the other commentators, this reviewer is also struggling
    to find much that is good about ‘Walt Before Mickey’.

    There was so much potential here, being based on one of the most
    influential and interesting figures in animation history and in the
    20th century, whose films and short cartoons shaped my childhood and my
    lifelong love for his work and the work after his death too still
    remains. Personally only don’t care for four of the studio’s films
    (none of them from the classic Walt era, the classic era stuff to me
    ranges from very good to masterpiece) and only three or so of the many
    short cartoons (have only seen those from ‘Steamboat Willie’ onward
    though, have been meaning to check out his pre-Mickey Mouse output).

    ‘Walt Before Mickey’ could have been a fascinating biographical drama
    about Disney’s early life, before triumphing with the creation of
    Mickey Mouse. It also could have been an inspirational film about how
    to persevere in a difficult business and not getting knocked down by
    being rejected so many times or having many setbacks. Can relate here,
    it took two years for me to finally get into university/music college
    to study singing, having auditioned to almost all the big music
    colleges in Britain before getting into Birmingham Conservatoire, where
    I’ve spent a happy if sometimes stressful four years and shall be doing
    a postgraduate course after graduating. Back on target, ‘Walt Before
    Mickey’ unfortunately is neither of those things.

    Visually, it has a very low-budget look even for an independent film.
    Some of the scenery is decent, but the film looks dull and drab and
    shot in a low-budget made-for-TV style. There is little interesting or
    memorable about the music, and it is also very over-dramatic and
    intrusive, often in inappropriate places. The script is a mess, with a
    lot of corny dialogue and the ”inspirational” and ”thought-provoking”
    dialogue on the subjects of perseverance and not giving up is
    predictable and delivered in a rather preachy manner. It honestly reads
    of a draft college student paper.

    There was a good story somewhere in ‘Walt Before Mickey’, sadly it
    never emerges. There is a noticeable lack of accuracy, especially the
    romanticised portrayal of Disney himself where that he was a
    chain-smoker, a hard worker and that he was married to Lillian for 41
    years were the only noticeable elements accurate (his treatment of his
    colleagues is pretty glossed over) and that senseless last sentence of
    Charles Mintz’s biography in the closing credits (to me it was clear in
    the film that Disney did have a grudge against him, disliked him
    intensely and didn’t trust him, but maybe that’s just me) amongst other
    things. It’s very leaden in pace, the same issues occur over and over
    with very little elaboration that it becomes repetitive, everything
    feels very stagy, under-rehearsed and never natural, it’s often
    overwrought, contrived and attempts at pathos come over as cheap and
    manipulative. Complete with a completely tacked on and inaccurate
    ending (seeming to imply that ‘Plane Crazy’ was Mickey Mouse’s debut
    cartoon, it was actually ‘Steamboat Willie’).

    Khoa Le’s direction has such an inexperienced feel to it, while the
    characters are not interesting in the slightest and few are engaging.
    The most interesting parts of ‘Walt Before Mickey’ actually were the
    footage of the pre-Mickey Mouse output with Alice and Oswald, which was
    quite interesting, however they were only shown for a very brief
    duration and there wasn’t enough of it. It has made me interested in
    checking out the cartoons from this period though. The acting is poor,
    with the least bad and most sympathetic performance coming from Armando
    Guatierrez as Ub Iwerks. As the great man himself, Thomas Ian Nicholas
    (who struck me as a bit too young for Disney) is quite wooden,
    passionless and too earnest as Disney, his determination coming across
    as more desperate.

    Jon Heder looks lost and somewhat too gormless as Walt’s brother Roy, a
    prime example of one of the many uninspired performances in the cast,
    in an attempt to underplay compared to usual Heder forgets to bring any
    personality to Roy. Kate Katzmann looks luminous, but can do little
    with a flatly written character and stilted dialogue. The rest of the
    cast either don’t try hard enough in their acting (David Henrie is
    pretty dull, and it is saddening to see another animation giant Fritz
    Freleng being played so forgettably, Frank Carici also mumbles his way
    through a very thick accent) or overact (Conor Dubin’s Charles Mintz is
    very cartoonish).

    Overall, a huge waste of great potential. Doesn’t do justice to Walt
    Disney at all, surely his early potential was far more interesting than
    how it was portrayed here. 2/10 Bethany Cox

  • Michael LazoJune 15, 2016Reply

    Great movie ! Fun to watch

    This movie was great! I enjoyed watching it! The cast played well off
    each other and it was nice to see Jodie Sweetin in something again! I
    think it’s a great movie for families to watch together and enjoy! It
    actually does a great job depicting the early life of Walt Disney and
    how he got started! The movie caught my attention from start to end! I
    think Thomas did a great job portraying Walt in the movie, he made me
    actually believe that he was Walt. Overall if you are looking for a
    movie to watch with your kids or if your a huge Disney fan then this is
    a movie you must watch! Also you may recognize a couple of child stars
    all grown up, which is a great thing to see.

  • abpod09June 18, 2016Reply

    Poorly lacking

    Who better than teen movie ”American Pie”’s own Thomas Ian Nicholas to
    play one of the most celebrated, influential, and history-changing
    personalities of all time, the creator of Mickey Mouse himself, Walt

    In a casting choice that I’m sure will baffle most, Nicholas, with his
    boyish good looks (or despite them) is most surely not the right choice
    for the role. But it’s not ”Walt Before Mickey’s” only pitfall, even if
    it’s the worst.

    As a whole, the movie feels flat, uninspired, and at times downright
    depressing, bordering on awful late night soap opera drama from old
    days that have since been forgotten.

    There’s no one of particular note on the cast, the story (as often
    happens with biopics) feels rushed, while at times slumping away, and
    the final product just feels very unfinished. (The sound people in
    particular, it seems, couldn’t have cared less edgewise.)

    Which is actually sad, considering the subject matter at hand: the rise
    of an immensely prominent figure, not just in the United States, but
    across the world. There simply wouldn’t have been a ”Snow White”, a
    ”Cinderella”, and countless other animated works of fiction that
    brought a whole genre to the mainstream and made Disney the household
    powerhouse that it is today, were it not for Walt Disney.

    I checked the IMDb rating before even watching the movie, and was
    rather surprised. ”How can it possibly be so poor, given the subject?”
    And alas, unfortunately it is.

    So other than Tom Hanks’ ”Saving Mr. Banks”, which deals with a more
    advanced stage in Walt Disney’s career, I’m afraid we’ll have to wait
    for a movie that will actually pay a worthy homage to the man himself,
    and will be heralded in movie history as such.

  • ajoyfulJune 23, 2016Reply

    Informative biography

    It was somewhat interesting to learn of the struggles Walt Disney went
    through in his early life.

    It made me want to read more about the story.

    They made some interesting choices with casting.

    It’s always good to learn about how people struggle before they become

    Wholesome story.

    The sets and costumes looked very realistic for the vintage times.

    I learned quite a bit watching the movie.

    It would be nice to see a follow up movie and take up where they left

    I liked watching a good moral story such as this.

  • derek_hirdJune 28, 2016Reply


    I love Disney and joy he has brought to the world and this film fails
    to capture any of the magic in any form.

    Poor casting for Walt and Roy. Ub Iwerks had a nickname of crazy hair
    (in this movie) but his hair was not crazy at all.

    Just awful doesn’t sum it up enough. I have no idea how anyone not
    associated with the film gave this a positive review. Even if you look
    past the bad casting, horrific dialogue and stiff acting and just try
    and focus on the actual story….. Good luck actually following it.

    It’s like they tried to literally include every chapter of the book in
    summary form and ignored flow and story. It’s like 2 hours of shorts
    put together hoping to make a feature length movie. The film is also
    very dark visually, it’s like…. what the hell. The Flashback scene to
    the Elias Disney (Who was a hard-ass) are amateur hour on display. the
    whole things JUST AWFUL – YUCK!!!!!

    Also, the real Walt Disney was 5’10” but somehow the director made
    Thomas Nichols look like midget throughout the entire film and
    especially standing next to the 6’1 Jon Heder. (Is Thomas Nicols that
    short? if so why the hell is he playing Walt Disney?

    I really wanted to like this film….. BUT IT SUCKS!!! HARD!!!

  • kylesakicJuly 1, 2016Reply

    Some thoughts on plot. Non aggressive spoiler alert.

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • lizzymcowanJuly 4, 2016Reply

    Not good… but not crap

    The heart of the story was there, but however, the way the story was
    presented was not. It felt like a cheap Hallmark movie. Even though the
    shots were fine, the direction the actors were forced to take, the
    movie score, and the desperate attempt to make you feel emotion was
    VERY cringe worthy. That’s something the story should do itself.
    Throughout the film, the movie continually tried to squeeze some
    ‘inspirational’ piece of crap, line of dialogue to pull at your
    heartstrings, and it ultimately failed. The movie took me two days to
    watch because I was so bored 75% through the film that I couldn’t
    finish it in one sitting. That is a movie sin that even God can’t
    forgive. If you can’t entertain the viewer, why are you making films?
    The movie was released in 2015 and it just so happened that I came
    across it on Netflix. I wondered why I never heard of it, but now I
    know. I don’t recommend this film on any scale, but because I’m a fan
    of accuracy, I feel it’s the only redeeming quality of this film. 6/10,
    just below average.

  • djbs99July 29, 2016Reply

    Walt Disney’s initial years as a struggler as he slowly evolved his cartoons and desperately sought for finances until the day he discover Mickey Mouse

    I was appalled, cruelly disappointed at how flat this movie was. I’ve
    always been an avid Disney fan. As a kid I used to devour Mickey and
    Donald comics and cartoons on TV. I find his movies magical. How could
    anyone depict the genius that the man was in such a dreary, drab
    fashion? There is absolutely no drama in the script or in the
    direction. The man himself is so terribly ordinary you wonder how such
    a man could have invented a whole new grammar of films, animation.
    Surely some of his craft, the humanness, joy of his movies would get
    reflected in his personality? But what comes across in the movie is a
    pedestrian character whose romance (I just read up after watching the
    movie that Walt and his wife were married for 41 years) is so
    incredibly facile, one dimensional and completely unromantic that I
    kept waiting for that one sublimely soulful moment that would make me
    realise what he saw in her – but we get absolutely no insight into
    their relationship just as there is very little camaraderie between his
    fellow animators though we are supposed to believe they are like a
    family. In short I have yet to see a movie which had such an exciting
    subject and such a dull, uninspired, shoddy treatment.

  • trippcory4242October 23, 2016Reply

    No idea why there are so many negative reviews. I thought it was breathtaking

    I honestly have no idea why everyone seems to find this film boring.
    Yes, the production values are a tad cheap, but there was no need to
    spend a big budget for this type of film in the first place. The acting
    was not atrocious by any means. On the contrary, I thought it was
    simply brilliant. Thomas Ian Nicholas did an amazing job playing a man
    the driven and relentless Walt Disney before he became a historic
    legend,John Herd plays Walt’s concerned but supportive brother Roy
    beautifully, the actors playing Walt’s former animators who abandon him
    out of dissatisfaction with their pay are all nice, the actor who plays
    Mintz was perfect at capturing his manipulative and conniving tactics.
    The story is that of a man who had a dream and had to work hard to step
    up from being a miserable failure to the most successful animator in
    history while faced with financial problems, stubborn animators, and
    even his distributors out to steal his work. I have no idea why people
    find that boring. The movie could have been a little longer allowing
    more details on Walt’s beginnings, but for what it is, it’s really not
    so bad. If you want to learn how Walt Disney studios began, go to

  • AndresDecember 4, 2016Reply

    One of the most inspirational movie ever.

    What a movie, very good actors and a unpredictable story. The movie is
    exciting until the end. Watch the movie if you love inspiring movies.
    You can learn a lot from the movie.Like that you should never give up
    your dreams. And that not everything in the life will go the way you
    want it.People often assume that successful people have become
    successful without problems.But the truth is that everyone has ups and
    downs. This is not a fairy tail it is based on a true story. If it was
    up to me the movie could last longer.I found it really good.The story
    is so good that it feels if you’re there. At sometimes i got the
    feeling that i wanted to help Walt. A really great movie.

  • wtmerrettFebruary 8, 2017Reply

    Seriously Bad

    I really wanted to like this film as it’s subject is a person who has
    given much joy to millions and started from nothing. I made it about 20
    minutes before turning it off. It is at best a 3rd rate school
    production and at worst an embarrassment for all involved. I loved
    Saving Mr Banks and was hopeful that this would add more to the Disney
    story. Sadly it was just a horrible mistake. Very wooden acting from
    actors who should know better and extremely poor direction from a very
    inexperienced director. How the money was raised for make this with the
    directors track record amazes me. But in watching (at least some of)
    it, I can see nothing was spent on sets or locations. The dialogue was
    terrible and very poorly written. I could go on but I have given this
    dog enough of my attention already.

  • husby-91March 26, 2017Reply

    So much potential..

    After watching this movie, I have very mixed feelings. A part of me
    loved the movie for its story and the atmosphere. The other part of me
    is disappointed because I don’t feel like it fulfilled its true
    potential. Many of the characters felt shallow and without depth, and
    the actors were just acting. There wasn’t too much feeling in their
    performances, and the dialogue never felt natural or relaxed.

    But to be honest, I’d easily watch it again. I don’t know why, I just
    didn’t think it was THAT bad. Many people put a lot of hours and hard
    work behind this movie, the least I can do is try to appreciate it for
    what it is and see the positive sides of it.

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