Monday, April 23, 2007

Uncle Wally

I was in Boston this week and picked up a copy of Mike Barrier's new book "The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney" at the Barnes & Noble in the Prudential Center. I had to pay the full price (I'd say cover, but it's nowhere listed) but it was worth it.

I actually enjoyed this book more than "Hollywood Cartoons". No offense meant to Barrier, but I always find his criticism on the cartoons to be overbearing and missing the mark frequently. I was told by others that this is what dominates this book, much like "Hollywood", but it didn't at all.

I found most of the early and later portions of the book to be boring, but that's because it covered Walt's childhood and his escape from animation, parts of his life I'm not exactly interested in. Reading about Disney's relationships (many of them failed) with his best artists was fascinating.

This is an unbiased view of Walt's life, which does nothing to candyass events in his favor. I was disappointed, though, that the 1941 strike was not covered more thoroughly.

When it comes to pure facts, Barrier can't be beat, and this is the best biography of Disney to date. I sincerely hope a biography of Chuck Jones is coming from Barrier in the future, as I feel that he is probably the most significant figure in the history of animation after Walt.

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