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Disney's sequel to the ever popular "Fantastia" - "Fantasia 2000", dvd edition with bonus features.
More ambitious in scope than any of its other animated films (before or to come), Disney's 1940 Fantasia was a dizzying, magical, and highly enjoyable marriage of classical music and animated images. Fantasia 2000 features some breathtaking animation and storytelling, and in a few spots soars to wonderful high points, but it still more often than not has the feel of walking in its predecessor's footsteps as opposed to creating its own path. A family of whales swimming and soaring to Respighi's The Pines of Rome is magical to watch, but ends all too soon; a forest sprite's dance of life, death, and rebirth to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring too clearly echoes the original Fantasia's Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria sequence. But when it's on target, Fantasia 2000 is glorious enough to make you giddy. Hans Christian Andersen's "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" is a perfect narrative set to Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, and Donald Duck's guest appearance as the assistant to Noah (of ark fame) set to Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance marches is a welcome companion piece (though not an equal) to The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the one original Fantasia piece included here. The high point of Fantasia 2000, though, is a fantastic day-in-the-life sequence of 1930s New York City set to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and animated in the style of cartoonist Al Hirschfeld; it's a perfect melding of music, story, and animation. Let's hope future Fantasias (reportedly in the works) take a cue from the best of this compilation. The music is provided by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine, interspersed with negligible intros by Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Itzhak Perlman, James Earl Jones, and others. --Mark Englehart
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The musical selections are unique. Many of them first broached by Walt Disney himself when making selections for the original film in 1940. Starting with an abstract rendering of Beethovan's Fifth Symphony, the selections include Ottorino Resphighi's Pines of Rome showcasing flying whales, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (a New York story rendered in Hirshfeild line drawings); Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 by Shostakovich; Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnaval des Animaux), Finale by Saint Saens; Dukas Sorceror's Apprentice (the lone holdover from the original film); Pomp and Circumstance, Marches #1, 2, 3, & 4 by Edward Elgar and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, 1919.
The animation techniques are quite good and varied in style and technique. The film was designed to be viewed on the Imax system and the print is nearly flawless. The sound carries over quite well on the Dolby DTS track that I listened to. The disc features quite a few outstanding extras including an hour long making of feature called Fantasia the Legacy Continues; two excellent commentaty tracks featuring Disney, Conductor James Levine and Producer Don Ernst and the second featuring the animators and art directors; a production reel and two shorts.
This one is well worth seeking out to complete your collection.