Walt & El Grupo
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Theodore Thomas, son of the late Walt Disney Studios animator Frank Thomas (1912-2004) and director of the acclaimed 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie, helms this second foray into Disney history, Walt & El Grupo (2007). The subject this time lies somewhat outside the boundaries of Disney animation and rests on an unusual footnote: in 1941, Walt Disney personally led a "goodwill tour" and research expedition of South America, with a team of animators in tow whom he collectively christened "El Grupo." The voyage transcended passing personal interest on the part of the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The production values are first rate. But you will wait in vain to hear a good reason for this movie's existence."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Thomas] may need more distance from the subject -- Walt & El Grupo could shed about 20 minutes -- but there's no questioning his sincerity or his instinct for revealing anecdotes."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"...a niche effort that has little to offer all but the most ardent of animation junkies."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"This is the 'untold story.' And apparently there's not much more to tell."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"You get a taste of what the Disney group went through and saw, and you see how that work translated into rough sketches and designs."
‑ Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"At a time when Hollywood doesn't remember last year, is obsessed with the bottom line and is run by men who often have no sense of history, Walt & El Grupo evokes a better time."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"This may be the first documentary that contains not a single American, living or dead, who is anything but merry of disposition. That cheer carries over to the on-the-spot gusto of el grupo's sketchbooks -- a more accurate tribute than the final cartoons."
‑ Anthony Lane, New Yorker
"An intimate, albeit uneventful, story filled with flashy graphics but not a lot of substance."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
"Above all else the film is a treasure trove of fantastic archival material, much of it never before shown."
‑ Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star
"A lively, well-edited documentary brimming with insight, warmth and humor while captivating audiences both young and old."
‑ Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
"While skimming over the troubled waters of impending war and ongoing labor unrest, it's both a vicarious vacation and a crash course in animation."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A relentlessly upbeat vanity project destined for the Disney family archive."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"... less probing documentary than colorful press release for the paternal Disney..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, MSN.com
"A bland tourist souvenir, the equivalent of an authorized biography rather than an independent one."
‑ Frank Swietek, One Guy's Opinion
"Provides a framing device for the Disney creative process as well as the issue of the place of art in geo-politics."
‑ Cathleen Roundtree, Boxoffice Magazine
More reviews for Walt & El Grupo on Rotten Tomatoes