Fantasia 2000 (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is the extension of the famed Disney "Fantasia" concept. Although the original has been widely praised. I've always found that to be based on a few brilliant moments surrounded by purple patches. The same is true of this one

I recommend that you watch the following with the kids: Mickey, Donald, and the terrific "Steadfast Tin Soldier". If you want to see the whole thing, it is meant to be viewed in IMAX, and that's where you should go.

It kicks off with Beethovens Fifth Symphony acting as the backdrop for some abstract dancing shapes and colors. Sappy. Fuggitaboudit.

Second segment: some whales frolicking to the tune of "Pines of Rome". Not so bad. I'll bet it was great on the big screen, but the drama is lost on a TV screen.


No cartoon nudity.
Numero three-o: Rhapsody in Blue combined with Al Hirschfeld's artwork. (He's the most famous caricaturist of New York life, and his drawings always hang in Sardi's or appear on the cover of old New Yorker magazines). A brilliant concept that I was anticipating eagerly, but no cigar in the execution.

Fourth piece: Shostakovich Piano Concerto #2 matched to Andersen's story "The Steadfast Tin Soldier". This segment is fantastic, a classic in the traditional Disney style. In fact, it looks like it was drawn in the thirties, and I mean that as a compliment. The animation matches the music beautifully, and there is a clear storyline to follow.

Fifth piece: : Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals". This is just filler - about a minute long with some flamingos.

Sixth piece: Mickey Mouse in Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". I believe you are all familiar with this one, which is not changed from the original "Fantasia"

DVD info from Amazon.

Great looking DVD. There are some other bonuses: the last cinemascope cartoon, the only 3-D disney cartoon, etc.

Widescreen anamorphic 2.35:1.

Seventh piece: a little humor and a little sentiment. The somber story of Noah's Ark, the solemn "Pomp and Circumstance", and the not at all solemn Donald and Daisy as the two ducks, each of whom thought that the other perished in the flood. Donald also works as Noah's light hearted assistant Very much in the same spirit as the famous one with Mickey. You might call it "Noah's Apprentice"

The final segment is based on Stravinsky's "Firebird". I don't have a clue what it was about, but it was pretty darned cool. Some kind of a life spirit rises from the sea and floats about the land breathing life into it. Spectacular animation, but perhaps more abstract than your children would want.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: Three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Maltin 3/4. Don't forget these guys were reviewing it as an IMAX project. I think it would be lower as a home video or DVD. except for the three sequences I identified at the outset.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 76% positive from the critics, 67% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their dollars. It was a moderate hit: $60 million domestic, $29 million overseas, but all needed to pay off a lavish $80 million budget. Of course, it's a Disney gift thing now, so it will pay itself back further.

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