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>
A segment featuring Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune" was animated and intended as part of the original release but cut due to the film's already excessive length. "Clair de Lune" was reworked and rescored as the "Blue Bayou" sequence in Make Mine Music (1946). A restored version of the original "Clair de Lune" sequence, released in the 1990s as a stand-alone short, can be found on the "Fantasia Legacy" supplemental DVD. The framing Leopold Stokowski footage for the segment could not be found, however, so the sequence is framed by recycled footage from the "Toccata and Fugue" segment. 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 ...
See more »
The "Fantasia" title card for all releases prior to 1990 (including the original roadshow version) was slightly different from the one seen in the 1990 re-release and in the videocassette version. In the original title card, the letters spelling out the word "Fantasia" are of a slightly different shade of color, as is the blue background, and the title card reads "In Technicolor", just below the word "Fantasia". There is also an RKO logo at the bottom. In the 1990 version, there is no RKO logo, and below the title it says "Color By Technicolor". See more »
In February 1956, the film was re-released in widescreen SuperScope, with the film image cropped to conform to the anamorphic widescreen ratio. The stereophonic "Fantasound" tracks were transferred to a magnetic tape source by RCA (across high-fidelity telephone lines, as Disney's only operating Fantasound system could not be moved from the Disney lot). The audio tracks were then re-mixed into four-track optical sound. See more »
Fantasia was to be the crowning achievement of Walt Disney Studios, their magnum opus, a work of art that finally convinced the people that animated films could be more than "mere" children's entertainment. Unfortunately, it was too much too soon. People went in expecting children's entertainment - after all, that's what Disney was known for - and instead were treated to high art. Nothing wrong with that, but you need to expect it first. And thus, Fantasia flopped financially, and what was meant to be a continuing series of films, remained just one until the turn of the century.
But oh what a film it is. Music by the best classical composers ever lived, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, hosted by Deems Taylor, featuring some the finest animated segments Disney had ever done. It's a stone cold classic, was from the very first moment, and it's a shame it didn't do so well. Luckily it has gone down in history as one of Disney's finest and will be watched and appreciated for centuries to come.
As for the individual segments, they're not of equal quality, though they are all very good in their own ways.
The opening segment, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, is not one of my personal favourites, but it works as a good opening intro to the idea behind Fantasia and is pretty to look at in its own way. It hasn't aged as well as some of the other segments, but it does its job more than adequately.
Nutcracker Suite, on the other hand, is fantastic. Beautiful images, perfectly accompanied by one of the most recognizable pieces of music there is. After seeing this segment once, it's hard not to see fairies and seasons dancing around whenever you hear the piece.
And then there's The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Everyone knows this one and has most probably seen it, even if they haven't seen the whole film. It's the segment with the most story and is one of the strongest Mickey Mouse shorts ever made. Grandeur, funny and even a bit threatening, it's probably the film's strongest moment.
Rite of Spring is another one with a story, this time about the history of our small blue orb floating in the space. It's intriguing to watch, but once again the animation shows a bit of its age and it's perhaps even a little bit too ambitious for its running length. Not the strongest segment, but once again very good nonetheless.
The Pastoral Symphony and Dance of the Hours, the next two segment, are to me very similar and while they're both fine, I cannot admit to liking them all that much. They're mostly just general gallivanting and while that's fine and fits the music, it can become a bit boring. The Pastoral Symphony is also the segments that has aged the least gracefully with some really rough character designs.
Luckily we have Night on Bald Mountain and Awe Maria to close the film. And they are awe-inspiring. The devil on his lone mountain top is one of the scariest images Disney has ever produced and the rest of the segment is equally haunting, eerie and threatening. Which is why the following tranquility and quietness of Awe Maria works so well and allows you to drift over the finish line with a smile on your face and peace in your heart.
Fantasia is not a perfect film, but it's still one of the finest pieces of art I've ever seen and a perfect introduction to animated films meant for adults. As a child I found it slightly boring. As an adult I'm in awe.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this