Summary: Behind every great mouse there is a man. Armed with an ever growing imagination and eternal optimism, Walt begins to develop skills as an animator early in life. He overcomes a variety of hardships to become one of the biggest icons in the world: Walt Disney.
As with any movie viewing, I try to go in with a critical mind. I like to list out the pros and cons of whatever I’m watching and give it a fair review. With As Dreamers Do, I found that there was nothing negative for me to say. It is everything I could hope for in a film and reminded me why I love indie films so much. There’s a quiet, artistic grace flowing through the entire movie and it kept me invested from start to end.
My first compliment is regarding the setting. I think something that is lost in a lot of bigger productions is the wonderful tone filming on location can set. The entire beginning of the film was shot on location, and the team did a great job scouting. When I could drift away from the acting and storyline for a minute, I found myself entranced by the scenery.
Even though it was filmed in the modern age, Logan Sekulow (Director) managed to bring a little bit of the early 20th century to the bring screen. I felt like I had been transported back to a different time, and I think it had a lot to do with the beautiful locations.
My second compliment has to do with the choice of acting. First, I’ll focus on the supporting cast and then I’ll jump to the star of the show. When I go into movies, a lot of the time I think I expect to be under-stimulated by the supporting cast. In major productions these days, except oftentimes for super hero movies, there doesn’t tend to be a lot of focus on the supporting characters. It is all about the big name, not so much about the people surrounding the big name.
In As Dreamers Do it is practically the opposite. Each and every one of the supporting cast members played an important part and I found myself yearning for even more of their stories. The writers did an amazing job demonstrating just how much Walt Disney was shaped by the people he met along the way during his journey.
The children at the beginning of the movie were especially impressive. For a small indie production, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of acting from the top to the bottom.
Now, onto the star of the show. Honestly, Olan Rogers (Walt Disney) is the only reason I ever found As Dreamers Do. I’ll always remember cramming for finals the first semester of my junior year of college, which happened to be the first semester at my new university. I was procrastinating , surfing YouTube and stumbled across an amazingly funny story teller.
I’m pretty sure I annoyed the heck out of my roommate that evening as I got lost in all of Olan Rogers’ YouTube videos and it helped relieve some of the stress I felt going into final’s week. From then on out it was love, in the sense that I appreciated the work he did and the spirit he put into it. That adoration led me to As Dreamers Do.
He brought an intensely rich depth to the character of Walt Disney. I posted on Twitter partway into the movie that I hadn’t been expecting to cry. Honestly? I don’t usually cry at movies, but there was something so completely and utterly moving in Olan’s portrayal of Walt and all of the trials and troubles he endured that left me in tears.
I’m so impressed by the work he did and, even if you have no other reason to watch this movie, watch it for him. To be honest, I was worried going in that I would have difficulty seeing Olan Rogers as Walt. My worries were quieted in his first scene when almost everything that was YouTube star Olan fell away and left the audience facing a young Walt Disney, ready to take on the world.
The audience also gets to see a nice dose of Olan’s heart in this film, and that alone is worth it.
My third and final compliment has to do with the editing. I’ve seen quite a few documentaries in my day, some big productions and others small, but this is one of the best cut movie-documentaries I’ve sat through. Sometimes, documentaries can become rather tedious because oftentimes there are so many things the writers and director want to include in the stories. It leads to a very informative, but not entertaining film. I may come out of it having learned something about a subject, but odds are my mind drifted ten or twenty times throughout the two and a half hour piece of cinema.
As Dreamers Do is not like that at all. It is the perfect balance of movie and documentary. Also, unlike some I’ve seen in the past, it does an amazing job at switching between the two. There is a narrator who sets up the scenes, but almost seamlessly it transitions into the actors telling the story through their performance.
Then, smoothly and almost without notice, the narrator will take back the screen and help guide the audience a little further into the story. The continuous give and take between the narrator and the performance really sets this documentary apart. If there was even a moment where I thought a scene was going on too long, it almost immediately transitioned to the narrator moving the story forward.
This film has an amazing flow, and manages to hit just about everything I as an audience member would hope for without droning on. In a way it hit the highlights, but did it without cheapening the story or rushing through it. The audience gets a general, well acted overview of Walt’s early years leading up to his move to California without sitting in front of a screen for two hours or being left with a lot of questions due to a lack of content.
Like I said, this film was just about perfect in every way. I’m not sure how I could criticize it except to say that I wish all film held itself to this standard. Above all else, this movie was fun. Even with the drama that accompanied Walt Disney’s life, there’s still a lighthearted sense of wonder that is embedded into almost everything based on this great man’s legacy.
For all of the hard scenes, there were light hearted, comedic scenes to combat the lingering sadness. Yet nothing ever became a joke just for the sake of being a joke, which is something I always appreciate.
Well written, shot, acted, and edited, As Dreamers Do is definitely going to be in my movie rotation for a long time to come. It is the perfect mix of dramatic and heartwarming and will no doubt leave any audience feeling fonder of Walt Disney. I would recommend it to Disney fans and those who aren’t, because even if you’re not interested in the world of Disney this movie is worth watching.
I was lucky enough to snag a digital version and a DVD through an early bird pre-sale, since the movie is not yet available for purchase. However, do not despair! The various release dates are coming very soon. August 18th you’ll be able to access it on THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE. The film will roll out onto iTunes and Amazon Instant Video on September 1st, and then finally the DVD release will happen on September 13th.
For the latest information on the film, be sure to follow As Dreamers Do on TWITTER, like them on FACEBOOK (after all, fifty-four thousand people already have), and keep an eye on their official website. Also, stay tuned for an exclusive Nerdophiles interview with director Logan Sekulow that should hit in the next week or so.