18 June 2001 | Jeremy Bristol
Really good--if you're interested in the subject.
The problem with documentaries is that, short of "The Sorrow and the Pity" and "Nanook of the North," most of them are only interesting if you have a fascination with the subject. Me, I'm into dinosaurs, flight, and movies. But I guess most of all I'm interested in animation, so "Frank and Ollie" is right up my alley, even though it could be argued that a movie like this (written, directed, and produced by Frank Thomas' son, Theodore) isn't really important or in any way art.
First of all, this isn't really a Disney picture, despite the fact that Disney released it--there is not the same tone of self-congratulatory propaganda (i.e. Disney is Great/Remember the Magic) that Disney-done documentaries such as the Making of Fantasia featurette from the Fantasia DVD (in which, other than the descriptions of the techniques, the only interesting thing actually said is that Leonard Maltin used to watch the Rite of Spring section in Science class) tend to have. This is evident in the first few minutes of the movie, when various nude drawings the animators drew in college are shown. This is as much a documentary on the two animators (as mundane as some of their details may be) as it is about Disney.
One of the most interesting things revealed by Frank and Ollie is how all the animators used to draw caricatures of each other to get their creative juices flowing (and to blow off steam).
Again, a movie like this is only interesting if you enjoy the subject. I don't like basketball, so I don't care for Hoop Dreams. But if you enjoy animation of any sort, "Frank and Ollie" might just suit you fine, too. 9/10.