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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.
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on August 13, 2013
Fantasia is one of my all time favorite Disney films. The quality of animation at the Disney studio reaches it's pinnacle with Fantasia (and Pinocchio).

The one thing that this laserdisc (and VHS counterpart) has that the DVD and Bluray doesn't have is the original Deems Taylor introductions (albeit the abridged versions). When this film was reissued in 1946, Taylor's wrap-around intros for each musical piece were shortened and remained that way for the next five decades. Unfortunately, when Disney was restoring the wrap-around segments in 2000, they were able to salvage the footage, but not the audio, so the narration had to be redubbed. Therefore, this is the only way to hear Deems Taylor's original narration. Even though it isn't 100% true to it's original presentation in 1940, this version I prefer, because it's what I grew up with. Not to mention that this is the version that most audiences from previous generations will be familiar with for the most part. And this transfer holds up very well too. The colors are vibrant and the sound is breathtaking.
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on March 15, 2008
This movie was clearly way ahead of its time when it was released in the early 1940s and I'm not surprised that it was a box-office flop at that time as it struck me while watching this that this must be the "Sgt. Pepper's" of animation at that time. Another major reason for the lack of success was that the logistics of the times were not up to scratch as few theatres were equiped with stereophonic sound and probably fewer audiences still were able to stand what amounts to more than 2 hours of a collection of music videos and yet it's unmistakeable that this is simply a work of art and this movie alone convinced me that Walt Disney was a genius.

Some of the scenes were like Mickey on an acid trip and this movie was clearly targeted at an adult audience more so than say a "Snow White" was clearly targeted at kids. I thoroughly enjoyed these classical music MTVs except for Bach's "Toccata and Fugue In D Minor" which was arranged for orchestra by Stokowski instead of in the original solo pipe organ arrangement which would have been better and the "Meet the Soundtrack" segment both of which should have been left off and would not have been missed.

The rest of the videos though were excellent and I found myself better appreciating the original compositions when listened together with the brilliant animation that although is almost 70 years old now still looks very impressive to me although I'm sure the brilliant digital restoration had a large part to play in it as well. My favourite was the Beethoven 6th Symphony video with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" coming in a close second. Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" video was charming too and Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" was just hilarious! The "Night On Bald Mountain" video was chilling and would give any death metal video ala the band Death a good run for its money in terms of scare value too.

What I really liked the best about this DVD though is the brilliant sound quality with Dolby Digital, DTS Surround Sound in 5.0 channels with THX quality which makes it better for me to listen to the classical music tracks off the DVD than off my cds on my high end stereo! The picture quality has been restored very well too and so the minor imperfections were few and far between and you really had to look real hard to find them.

The special features were a real treat too with the featurette "The Making of Fantasia" the standout item there. Great picture and sound quality and brilliant content make this my best and favourite music video DVD and to think this was decades before MTV and much, much better too.

Highly recommended!
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on September 26, 2007
I must say that it was with some trepidation that I sat down to view the 60th Anniversary Edition of Walt Disney's Fantasia. I remember being forced to see the cut version some 30 years ago when I was in second or third grade and being bored to tears. After viewing the movie again in its restored "Road Show" edition I have to admit I was impressed. The DVD edition features the restored interstitials of Deems Taylor explaining each piece of music and the narration makes a difference. It is also that the film has not aged at all in its turbulent 67 year history. It is as fresh today as it was for those audiences in 1940.

Fantasia was designed as a new entertainment experience. Not quite film not quite concert. The film features classical music set to the work of some of Disney's greatest animators. The selections range fronm the abstraction of Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, to the experimental Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, to the sublime Ave Maria by Schubert.

The centerpiece and section that started it all was Paul Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse. It was this section that got legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski interested. Other highlights include Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and the Pastoral Symphony by Beethovan.

The disc features an excellent featurette on the history of the film and two excellent commentaries explaining the genesis and influence of the film on filmaking in general and animation in particular. The second commentary is a one of a kind interview with Walt Disney that was recorded by animation historian John Canemaker from over three decades of archival material.

This is a must own DVD of one of the most influential American films ever released.
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on August 26, 2017
This version is not uncut. Poor Sunflower the centaur was replaced by "serving cherubs" but there was so much incorrectness it was still amusingly watchable! Imagine the feelings of a Christian Fundamentalist as the scene before intermission presents evolutionary theory! Great version still and the European soundtrack was divine!
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on January 23, 2014
This is cinematic history, and one of the best introductions to classical music there is. I remember seeing it in the theater as a youngster, and hearing from adults how awful and radical it was....Awful?.....Nah. Radical? Oh Yes! It makes me wonder if what they(the grownups) were seeing reminded them of the results of late-night parties! Never Mind....we'll leave them to it. Of course, one has to remember the riots in Paris when "Rite of Spring" opened.....I'm glad this production is back. It blew minds when it first came out, and still does, and the images still stick in the mind. Go for it!
Ken, the Organist in Marshalltown, Iowa
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on August 17, 2012
Purchased for my granddaughter who is one year old and loves to listen to her sister playing classical music on her violin. This is a great movie because it has the Disney characters for fun and entertainment, AND, it has beautiful classical music. It is a wonderful way for a child to hear music she/he might not hear until they are older - stimulating their mind and imagination and, who knows, may encourage them to play an instrument. Studies have shown that many children who play an instrument do better in school - with better grades, being able to focus on their work and pride in their achievement. Playing an instrument gives them a wonderful talent they can be proud of and enjoy their whole life. I am thankful Disney made this movie and thankful to have found it in such good condition.
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on March 25, 2003
I originally thought this was a documentary. The opening shot is in live action, an orchestra pit slowly fills with musicians, and there's an on-camera host who actually *tells* you that this is going to be a concert- and you realize that nothing could possibly be more boring. Then you begin to see the accompanying animation, and you're taken somewhere else. And that's the beauty and the magic of "Fantasia." Made over sixty years ago, it still thrills, moves, and dazzles. The eight animation sequences are vastly different from each other and not all generate the same excitement (the 'Rite of Spring' pageant is a rather cold lesson in palentology; the Beethoven 'Pastoral Symphony' is stirring in music but overly dainty in its imagery), but the film leaves you breathless when all ends. The first sequence to Bach's 'Toccata & Fugue' is more abstract than concrete animation, but it gets the film off to a good start. The sequences to 'The Nutcracker,' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' and 'Dance of the Hours' are just right- the latter being absolutely hilarious. The best moment is the dual finale of 'Night on Bald Mountain' and 'Ave Maria.' I always thought this sequence was telling the story of Halloween- followed with a 6:00 AM dawn of All Saint's Day. The images of the nuns walking through the cathedral-shaped forest of redwoods are a thing of sublime beauty not matched anywhere else in the movie. That last sequence hushed the entire theatre audience. Like a surreal dream.
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on January 8, 2012
Shortly after purchasing this film, we noticed that it was no longer available. That's too bad! We enjoyed the DVD. Not sure whether Disney lawyers cracked down on Amazon or another distributor? When we purchased the film, we hadn't realized that the Disney name had been scrubbed from the cover. It turns out that this is a Korean copy of an early version of Fantasia; however, I'm not familiar with other versions to know ways in which this one differs. After purchasing this I went back to study reviews of other versions and was interested to know that some of the new remakes were disappointing to customers - and these cost much more money!

As to the content: the film must have been very progressive for it's time - acknowedging what were probably recent dinosaur discoveries in the tar pits of Los Angelas. Also, some of the nymphets, mermaids, and female minataurs had a slight sexuality that was suprising for a Disney film. It also seems that this was more targeted to adult audiences because of the sophistication of the content.

Through Wikipedia, we have learned that some portions of the original film have been lost, which is why many of the remakes are different. I'm interested to research different versions of FANTASIA to better understand the ways in which it's been altered.

I'm interested in the opinions of others. Thank you,
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on May 17, 2013
There is nothing like this movie! It's an incredible feat of Disney animation, art, music, and delight. And guess what, no stupid characters appear in it to ruin the story like in Fantasia 2000! Sorcerer Mickey is the exception because that was extremely well-told and the Mouse is versatile enough to not be considered a "ruining" element for me. I plan on introducing this to my son in a few months and I am certain he will love it just as much as his Dad and I do.
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