Disney animators set pictures to Western classical music as Leopold Stokowski conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" features Mickey Mouse as an aspiring magician who oversteps his limits. "The Rite of Spring" tells the story of evolution, from single-celled animals to the death of the dinosaurs. "Dance of the Hours" is a comic ballet performed by ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators. "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria" set the forces of darkness and light against each other as a devilish revel is interrupted by the coming of a new day. Written by
David Thiel <email@example.com>
While perceptions of dinosaurs by both scientists and the public at large have changed considerably since this film was released, aspects of their depiction in the film are considered more progressive and accurate than most of their contemporaries. They were generally depicted in the film as "dynamic and agile" creatures, while most of the contemporary depictions had them as slow-moving reptiles. Certain scenes portray them as social animals and the image of the baby Triceratops staying close to his/her parents implies family life. This was nearly unheard of in contemporary depictions. See more »
During the "Pastoral" segment, when the first centaur and centaurette walk away together arm-in-arm, a bush in the lower right fails to track properly, and winds up going with the pair. See more »
How do you do? Uh, my name is Deems Taylor, and it's my very pleasant duty to welcome you here on behalf of Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, and all the other artists and musicians whose combined talents went into the creation of this new form of entertainment, "Fantasia". What you're going to see are the designs and pictures and stories that music inspired in the minds and imaginations of a group of artists. In other words, these are not going to be the interpretations of trained ...
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Originally, the production credits were on a booklet distributed at the roadshow showings. They were finally put on screen for the 50th anniversary re-release. See more »
"Fantasia" is truly a film ahead of its time and it needs to be seen in able for one to understand its importance in film history
If there's one thing Walt Disney knew about better than anyone else, it was that the combination of music and animation is one of the most important combinations since bread and butter. This can best explain why most of Disney's animated features are musicals. It's because Walt Disney strongly believed that music and sound were essential keys towards great animated features and shorts. One could make a good argument that his 3rd full-length animated feature, "Fantasia" (1940), was created as further proof regarding why he believed music was so essential to the world of animation.
"Fantasia" is a unique animated feature in terms of its narrative. It starts out with an orchestra taking their places as if they were preparing for a concert. Then, the main narrator of this picture Deems Taylor emerges and introduces us to a new form of entertainment called "Fantasia". We are told that during this new form of entertainment, we will see the images that classical music had inspired in the minds of Walt Disney's massive staff of artists. In short, we're seeing pieces of famous classical music being brought to life visually based on what Disney's artists think these pieces are about. We are also told that there are three types of musical pieces in this program: music that tells a definite story, music that paints a series of pictures, and "absolute music" that exists simply for its own sake.
This animated feature consists of eight separate segments which all are devoted to one of the three types of music. Sometimes, one could make an argument that some segments have more than one, since some segments are more clearly cut in the type of music they're going for than other segments. For instance, the first segment "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" is clearly an example of absolute music that exists simply for its own sake. All this segment composes of are visuals that one might think of whenever this classical music is being played. But then there are segments like "The Rite of Spring" which could easily count as music that paints a series of pictures as well as music that tells a definite story. The reason I believe this segment could apply to both is because while it tells us the history of the dinosaurs, you aren't exactly sure what to make of the overall vision Disney was going for with this segment. This is precisely why "Fantasia" is such a fascinating piece of filmmaking, because what it shows its audience is so unconventional and diverse that it's hard not to admire the fact that it's so original with its story structure.
After seeing this picture a couple times, I have a better understanding of why "Fantasia" was immensely influential in the film industry, particularly with music videos. If you think about it, this film is just a series of silent animated short films perfectly synchronized to famous pieces of classical music. "Fantasia" would easily qualify as one of the films I would be most interested in learning more about the making behind. I would be more than eager to learn what Walt Disney's animators thought when he wanted to pursue executing this specific project so soon after the ambitious production of "Snow White". I would also be interested in learning the process behind the animation for these segments and how the animators synchronized the animation and music as well as they did, since I know the animation process was probably painstaking to say the least.
Is this a film that will please everyone's tastes? I don't think so, since it's an acquired taste for some. After all, "Fantasia" is considered a big step for Disney fans to take since it's so different from anything Disney ever did that it could throw them for a loop. Are there some slow moments? I'd say that it gets off to a slow start, but by the time the film's most famous segment "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" with Mickey Mouse comes around, it only gets better. Was the intermission involving the soundtrack corny and unnecessary? While I certainly can say it is by modern standards, I'll be fair by stating that this came out at a time when some audiences had trouble getting used to the then-new Technicolor process and their eyes had to take a break from the bright colors on screen.
"Fantasia" is truly a film that was way ahead of its time in almost every aspect imaginable. From outstanding segments like "The Rite of Spring" and "Night on Bald Mountain", to the excellent orchestration of the classical music by Leopold Stokowski and his orchestra, to the tremendous craft of the animation. It's one of those rare films in which the only way you can understand its importance in the history of cinema is to see for yourself. So what are you waiting for?
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