Disney Pirates – The Definitive Collector’s Anthology explores the history of Disney Pirates over the decades and across all media. It covers a wide range of topics to varying degrees. The central focus is Pirates of the Caribbean with a large portion of the book devoted to the films including the fifth film Dead Men Tell No Tales that opens May 26, 2017. The book opens with a look at Disney Pirates in film and TV dating back to Walt’s films and up through current Disney offerings. The next section looks at the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions and other Pirates based attractions in the parks with the exception of Shanghai Disneyland, it has its own chapter at the end of the book. The major section that spans nearly half the book does a deep dive into the five films.
I had high hopes for this book when I read the initial description. After reading the book I felt it was a missed opportunity. The “bones” of a solid book chronicling all things Pirates in the Disney universe is there but the organization and structure made it a challenge to read and feels incomplete or thin in several areas. It seemed to wander at times and circle around. For example in the Disney history section a pure chronological sequence of releases would have been great but in seemed to lurch around the timeline unnecessarily as connections were made which in the end diluted the content to me.
The section on the five Pirates of the Caribbean films was the most in depth and most interesting. I especially enjoyed reading the chronicles of the filming and the quotes/interview snippets with many of the cast and some of the production team. I would have really liked to have seen more in that respect, maybe one per film. There are several photo galleries or photo pages throughout. I would have liked to have seen these a little more organized and complete. For example there are two page spreads on the crews of the Flying Dutchman and Queen Anne’s Revenge as well as single pages on Jack Sparrow and Barbossa. I would have liked to have seen a comprehensive look at all the characters as well as an in depth description and picture set of all the ships. That would have really rounded out the book for me to make it a more complete reference.
There are plenty of stories and nuggets of information in this book plus some concept art and great pictures that if you are a Pirates of the Caribbean movie fan you will most likely enjoy adding this to your collection. If you are a casual fan or are most interested in theme park attractions this book may seem a little thin to you. It does talk about them all and has pictures and concept art but the parks are not the focal point and several offerings got a sentence or two mention and that was it.