Top positive review
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A Must See for Newcomers and Established Fans
on December 2, 2014
I have owned this in four formats now: VHS, Laser Disc, DVD, and now the region-free British blu ray. This blu ray plays fine on my US region A player, so don't worry about that.
I agree with some of the other reviews about the "edits". For example, there is a distinct scene where the scenery appears to "move" just for a second. Since I have never seen the "full" version with the supposed "racist" implications, I simply wrote that scene off as an animation mistake. It's noticeable, but just for about two seconds in a two-hour movie. If you're not a die-hard purist toward the "unedited" Fantasia you probably won't notice the difference.
Now to sound. During the Nutcracker Suite there is a sequence where the fairies are putting dew on flowers. On the VHS version, you hear violins as each flower is touched. All other versions are missing the violins. I guess this was lost during the digital transfer. Once again: newcomers to the film will never know any better.
During the Ave Maria sequence, as the worshipers walk along the water with their candles, my speakers couldn't handle some of the low tones and the sound distorted slightly at higher volume. I turned the volume down and the sound was better but not perfect. I'm not sure if having an expensive home theater system would cure this, but it's the only movie I've ever had a problem with. I will have to remember not to play this sequence at high volume from now on.
There are other barely noticeable shortcomings to the sound throughout the film. Still, it sounds amazing considering it was made over 70 years ago.
Yes, during the orchestral narrations, you can detect spots where the narrator's voice must have been overdubbed in spots. It's better in my mind to have the footage even if it's not perfect.
Having said all this, if you are a newcomer to Fantasia you will enjoy it as long as you keep a couple of things in mind:
1) It is NOT a traditional Disney movie with a plot and some music. It IS a series of animated videos set to classical music pieces.
2) Each music video is introduced by the "host" as if you were an attendee at an animation festival or something. These "introduction" scenes do get tedious after repeated viewings. After you see the movie all the way through a few times, expect to start fast-forwarding through the "introduction" scenes.
Other than that: the movie is fantasic. The animation is detailed and innovative. All ages will love it. View it with an open mind and don't expect it to be "Lion King" or "Frozen."
At some point, if Disney releases a version of Fantasia with the orchestral introductions edited out, I will probably own a copy of that version too.
For right now, though, this version of Fantasia is as close to perfection as you will get, and if you just enjoy it for the music, the colors, and the fantastic animation, you will not be disappointed.