Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: The Men who would be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks

I just finished the book The Men who would be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks

Amazon Link to Book

The book chronicles the story behind the three moguls that form Dreamworks the film studio. This book should be of interest to Disney fans, as you should know one of the three founders of Dreamworks, Jeffrey Katzenberg, was a former Disney exec who had a extremely high profile split with Eisner.. who before that.. was queued up to be #2 at Disney.

The story of Dreamworks can't be told without talking about the Jeffrey/Eisner conflict.. but the book doesn't go into as much detail as the book Disney War does on the topic. But the book does go into more detail into Jeffrey's role and impact in Disney Animation than Disney War does.

The book chronicles the happenings leading to the forming of SKG, their growing pains, their breakouts, and their failures. The book largely focuses on Katzenberg and Spielberg.. animation and live action.. respectively.

The book is a recent publishing (2010) so it does go till quite recent which is nice. It pretty much goes through Dreamwork Animation's IPO, and the eventual sell-off of Dreamworks.

What I found pretty enlightening from the book is all the insight into the dealings that happen to arrange these movie deals. The book also gets into some actor drama, but focuses more on the politics and inter-personal drama between the principles, and key execs.. especially the execs from Amblin Entertainment (Spielberg's production company).

Also interesting for Disney fans is seeing how the early days of now critical people.. like Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm) intertwined with Spielberg and Dreamworks. The players, the hollywood stories, and the insight into Hollywood, and especially animation make this a great read for Disney fans.

I think the book is a interesting read.. and is a great balance of biography/history/storytelling. I think Disney War adds far too many 'dramatizations' that lead the reader to believe this is a word for word retelling... which isn't really true for all the passages. The author comes clean about in the material at the end of the book.. but only after tainting the accuracy of the material I think. In this book, the author Nicole Laporte avoids that trap and uses less dialogue back and forth, and uses more quotes and narrations. The author also adds a chapter by chapter insight into how the material covered in the chapter was constructed/sourced.

For Disney fans, I think it helps if you've read Disney War before this book to get more background on Jeffrey.. but overall I found the book a great read and certainly worth my time and money. Check it out...

3.5 out of 5

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