We’ve all heard of Disney and have our own opinions on its films, history and practises, but regardless of what we think of their output there’s little denying the quality work that goes into their films. The Archive Series of books is made to highlight this fact, and present a visual overview of its entire catalogue. It’s no small task.
‘Story’ is the first of the series and focuses on the storyboard process of depicting plotline ideas before starting work on the animation process. Aside from a brief introduction by John Lasseter the book is presented entirely without commentary, allowing you to browse through at your own pace. Works are presented chronologically starting out with Steamboat Willy in 1928, and picks its way through the Disney catalogue before ending with 2002’s Lilo and Stitch.
It would be impossible to have all titles represented and so is an incomplete survey. There is, quite rightly in my opinion, an emphasis on early shorts. About a quarter of the book is dedicated to pre-Snow White works. Also the period between Jungle Book (Walt Disney’s last film) and The Little Mermaid (the start of what some people terms as the Disney Renaissance) is very under-represented, as over 20 years of output is surmised with only a brief entry by Fox and the Hound. Maybe the material was simply unavailable, but it does unfortunately encourage the general belief that this was a bad era of Disney films.
This is a great book for anyone interested in Disney and their story-building processes, or just wanting to look at quality illustrations. It’s a very large chunky hardback, and once you’ve made the space for it will sit proudly on your shelves.