of Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters - From Mickey
Mouse to Hercules
by Joe Tracy
Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters - Mickey Mouse
Author: John Grant
Foreword: by Dave Smith & Roy E. Disney
dFX Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Info from Amazon.com
Section 1: The Shorts
Section 2: The Television Series
Section 3: The Features
of Walt Disney's Animated Characters is a huge oversized book
that is split into three sections that track the history Disney
animated films, shorts, characters, and TV projects in great detail.
The book is a massive reference compilation that is well researched
and very insightful. Because of its "Encyclopedia" approach,
the book is split into sections versus chapters: The Shorts, The
Television Series, and The Features. The Features is the bulk
of the book.
Here is how
the information in the Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated
A list of characters and credits.
2) A detailed description of the movie with production
information and film facts.
3) A detailed description of the story with plenty of
4) A detailed description (and picture) of every main
generally 6 - 10 pages dedicated to each movie (and remember,
these are huge oversized pages). It's very thorough to say the
book title says it is an "Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated
it sometimes reads more like a "Review of Walt Disney's Animated
Characters." In general, an encyclopedia is a book that is
filled with references and facts versus opinions. The Encyclopedia
of Walt Disney's Animated Characters, however, contains many opinions.
Here are a few quotes:
Lion King, however, seems very much more to have been made
up by the team as it went along..." - page 388.
is certainly one of the most emotional moving Disney animated
features since Bambi, and possibly of all time." -
to The Black Cauldron] There is also the fact that several
times in the opening few minutes, for the first time from Disney
since the 'shimmering' Prince at the end of Snow White,
there is some downright sloppy animation." - page 312.
The Black Cauldron comment, the author states, "Obviously
such things are a matter of opinion
" Yes, it is, which
is why I believe it shouldn't be in an important reference guide.
the sentences aren't very easy to read or understand. Take for
example this excerpt from page 321 - the first sentence that describes
Dr. Dawson from The Great Mouse Detective:
is himself, rather than a mouse version of any human actor, Dr.
David Q. Dawson, late of Her Majesty's 66th Regiment in Afghanistan,
is modeled to a great extent on that doyen of screen Watsons,
Some of the
writing is not only a bit confusing, but also seems to go on forever.
Take, for example, this one sentence on page 346 that is suppose
to describe Sebastian from The Little Mermaid:
the exception of Ariel - and possibly not even with that exception
- the star of the whole show is Sebastian, or (to be fittingly
pedantic) Horatio Felonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian, the
little crab who is Triton's Court Composer and then Ariel's reluctantly
conscripted Jiminy Cricket."
a bit to say in one sentence. But wait; you haven't read the sentence
that immediately follows that one! Here it is:
animation of Sebastian is a delight, and that surrounding him
during the performance of his two brilliant songs - the calypso/reggae
'Under the Sea' and the smoothly crooned 'Kiss the Girl' - is
devastatingly good, but the foundation of the character and the
reason for its overwhelming success in the film is undoubtedly
the outstanding vocal performance turned in by the actor Samuel
not this way through the whole book and there's some well researched
information to be found here, including information on what studios
animated particular projects. For example, say you wanted information
on Disney's A Goofy Movie. The following two sentences
(out of several paragraphs) in the section on A Goofy Movie
contian some valuable insight to what studios worked on the project:
design, art direction, and storyboarding were done at Burbank,
but most of the animation was done at Disney's new French studio.
On initial release the movie had only limited success; in the
United States it was very swiftly issued on video, although viewers
in the United Kingdom had to wait nearly two years for the video."
like this (and that's just a minor example) for each movie that
gives the reader a real bang for his buck as The Encyclopedia
of Walt Disney's Animated Characters becomes a valuable reference
list of pros, cons, and annoyances for The Encyclopedia of Walt
Disney's Animated Characters - From Mickey Mouse to Hercules.
- Largest collection of information that you can find on Disney
- Huge book (over 450 oversized pages).
- Artist/Cast/Crew credits listed.
- Lots of pictures including all main characters in past animated
- Some sentences are too long and hard to understand.
- There are too many of the author's opinions spread throughout
- Pixar's Toy Story is covered in the book. This should
be classified as a "Pixar" movie in the same way that
Chicken Run is classified as an Aardman movie.
- The book is "From Mickey Mouse to Hercules"
but the coverage of Hercules is poor and the following
excuse is given: "At the time of this writing the Disney
team was still hard at work on their newest animated feature,
Hercules, scheduled for release on June 27, 1997."
cons and annoyances, the simple fact is that there is no larger
reference tool on Disney animated movies, characters, shorts and
TV shows that is available today. John Grant has done an amazing
job at a near impossible task. It's no wonder that Roy E. Disney
writes in the Foreword, "This marvelous book brings back
to me a whole flood of memories, as I'm sure it will to many people."
book's writing is sometimes confusing or opinionated, the shear
size of the book and insightful information earns it a 7 out of
You can order
the Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Characters by clicking
Note: This book only has limited availability.
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