Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD combo)
Directed by: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norm Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen Cast: Leopold Stokowski Running Time: 2 hr 5 min Rating: G Due Out: November 30, 2010
PLOT: Seven classical pieces of music are animated in a film that's meant to be the visual representation of what you hear when listening to these pieces.
WHO'S IT FOR? Unlike most animated films, this requires a more mature audience. Though there's nothing objectionable in the material, it might be dull for kids.
The most experimental of any of Disney's animated feature films, Fantasia tells seven stories, all set to music. The most famous is The Sorcerer's Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse wearing a red robe and blue hat covered in stars. Even people who haven't seen the whole film have probably seen at least part of that segment. It's the most linear narrative in the film, though it lacks dialogue. The animated segments follow introductions by Stokowski, the conductor for the orchestra in the film. Unfortunately, he's not that engaging, a bit stiff.
Fantasia has been released before, but never on Blu-ray and it looks great. The colors are vibrant and lines are sharp, you can really tell that it was drawn in some of the pieces, notably the Rites of Spring segment. I was underwhelmed with most of the extras though, the one exception being the Interactive Art Gallery which features conceptual art for each segment of the film that shows how each one developed. Some of the flowers from Nutracker Suite segment that look different in the final product, would show up later in Alice in Wonderland. If you enjoy Fantasia, this Blu-ray is the one to buy.
MOVIE SCORE: 7/10
DisneyView Disney Family Museum The Schultheis Notebook - Newly Discovered Document Reveals Movie Secrets Interactive Art Gallery Audio Commentaries
Audio Commentary Disney Family Museum
Directed by: James Algar, Gaetan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Don Hahn, Pixote Hunt Cast: Steve Martin, Quincy Jones Running Time: 1 hr 15 min Rating: G Due Out: November 30, 2010
PLOT: Seven new pieces are animated and set to music along with The Sorcerer's Apprentice from the original.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of the original and anyone who wants something novel to watch.
Fantasia 2000 was released 60 years after the original but it follows the same format, more or less. It tries to be less formal in between animated segments, the stuffy composer is replaced with a variety of celebrities. But the individual pieces seem more disjointed. This may partially be because they were animated over a ten year period, according to the commentary. The best, by far, is Rhapsody in Blue. The animation is inspired by Al Hirschfeld, though I found it to be reminiscent of Disney's 101 Dalmatians as well. Not only does the story work with the music, but it's so hugely entertaining I forgot that I was reviewing and just got caught up.
One of the reasons I felt the film was disjointed may have been that the animation in some of the sequences are cel animated and in others are computer animated. For some reason, the I found the computer animation in this a bit distracting. I don't know if they were inherently weaker pieces or if I had some weird prejudice, though normally I like computer animation fine.
The other pieces I loved are The Carnival of Animals which features flamingos and yo-yos and The Firebird Suite which tells the story of Mt. Saint Helen's eruption and rebirth in a stylized, but beautiful way. It works as a companion piece to the original Fantasia's final segment, Night on Bald Mountain.
MOVIE SCORE: 8/10
Destino (Academy Award - Nominated Animated Short, 2003) Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino Documentary Audio Commentaries Disney's Virtual Vault--BD-Live Feature Musiciana - Walt's Inspiration For a Sequel to Fantasia
Musiciana - Walt's Inspiration For a Sequel to Fantasia