14 October 2013

Book Review: "The Animated Movie Guide" by Jerry Beck, et. al.

Authors: Jerry Beck, et. al.
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Published: October 28, 2005
Instead of doing my usual review, I'll categorize the good and bad about this entertainment reference volume:

The Good: The author(s) of this book did considerably well in reviewing various kinds of animated movies. Though there are ones here practically everyone has seen--Aladdin, The Lion King, etc.--some lesser-known movies, including Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, also get praised. Each review comes with the movie's MPAA rating--if it has one--and other important information; most of the articles also have a screen shot from each film, although it is only in black and white.

Problem One: This book is several years old, which means that some of the landmark films from the past decade--Cars, Brave, Horton Hears a Who!--get no mention, as they were still in the process of being made when this book came out. Also, that makes some of the details incorrect; for example, the reviewer of Jonah says that there hasn't been any more VeggieTales feature films, when The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything came out all the way back in 2007.

Problem Two: Though amazing in its scope, this guide suffers from some serious typos. The reviewer will list the movie as having one rating, and then say it has another in the actual review. Also, some actors' voice credits are messed up; some actors are credited as playing one or two characters "and English version." This will likely frustrate a lot of people.

Problem Three: Some people assume that cartoons--and, therefore, animated movies--are only for kids, but right many of the films reviewed in this movie are rated PG-13 or higher, including several that are rated X. Though such films aren't described in lurid detail, some of the allusions--as well as one or two of the screenshots--are not what you would want your young children to read or see.

Problem Four: Each entry starts out with the movie's main credits, including producer, director, and voice actors. However, at the end of each review, the "additional credits" are listed, sometimes taking up close to an entire page. Unless you are mentioned in one or more of those listings, I'm sure you'd agree that is merely a waste of space, which only added pages and made the book more expensive.

Conclusion: I usually like reading about entertainment, even if it's the kind I don't plan on watching, but this volume has some serious issues. Animation fanatics might somewhat enjoy it, but others should stick with IMDb for film information of any kind. I only paid five bucks for it at Books-A-Million yesterday--less when you add in the coupon I used--and I'm already planning on trading it in to my local used bookstore.

Score: 1.75/5

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