Life Animated is a documentary that I first heard about on WHYY when they interviewed Ron Suskind who wrote the story about his son Owen. At the age of two, Owen started to lose his motor skills along with his perfectly structured speech patterns. By three, his words had turned to gibberish and Owen was diagnosed with autism. If you have a child with autism, you’re going to want to see this unique documentary. Since I have a grandson with high functioning autism, I was very interested in seeing Life Animated and learned a lot from Owen’s journey. I learned how he finally developed a way to communicate through the world of Disney, using animated Disney movies. Owen, like my grandson, would watch a movie over and over and over again. I never knew why, I just came to accept that was part of his personality. In Owen’s case, he memorized every Disney, animated movie ever made and used the dialogue as a form of communication.
Eventually, he was able to speak again and express himself to others. He started a club via the internet with other autistic children. Today, Owen is around 25 years old and has his own apartment, a job and independence. He will probably always need help but he’s come a long way. I think this is a very significant film for anyone who knows or has an autistic child. Life Animated is on DVD and is a worthy candidate for Oscar!
[Life Animated is nominated for Best Documentary Feature]
Disney really knows how to make movies. Maleficent was magnificent. They are the pioneers in special effects. Disney has reinvented the fairy tale known as Snow White. Maleficent (played by Angelina Jolie) was once a gracious fairy who was betrayed by some one she befriended as a child. This event changed her life and the way she perceives her world. Because her heart was good in the first place, she had a problem when she started to fall in love with the very person she cursed. The special effects are so good in this movie, I found it difficult to believe it wasn’t real. We will have a hard time breaking the reality to our young children who will grow up in a world of special effects that seem so real to them. Maleficent is a fantastic story that sends a good message. See this one in 3D and on the big screen. It’s worth you time and money. I loved it!
[MALEFICENT is nominated for Costume Design]
Saving Mr. Banks was brilliantly done. It’s my understanding that Pamela L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins and played by Emma Thompson, would not allow her beloved Mary Poppins to be remade so the Disney studios decided to make Saving Mr. Banks, a story about how the original creation of the film came about. Mrs. Travers, as she liked to be called, was quite eccentric and held her character, Mary Poppins, near and dear to her heart. The story was based on her family and was mostly dedicated to her father who died at the young age of 43 from influenza. Her father was also a heavy drinker who was demoted from a Bank Manager to a Bank Clerk. Their relationship was very close and his dead was devastating. Saving Mr. Banks nicely parallels P. L. Travers’ later life and her childhood. Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, incorporated a little of his father’s history in the Mr. Banks character by adding a mustache that Mrs. Travers didn’t want. Disney spent 20 years trying to get the rights from P. L. Travers to film Mary Poppins before she finally gave in. Pamela Travers was born in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. According to her grandchildren, Travers died at the age of 96 loving no one and with no one loving her. While I enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks, it can be enjoyed just as much on Blu-Ray as on the big screen.
[SAVING MR. BANKS is nominated for Achievement in Music (Original Score)]