Fantasia/2000 Movie Review

Little known fact: When Walt Disney released Fantasia in 1940, it was intended to be a permanent work in progress. Each time you saw it, you would see something new combined with something old and familiar.

It didn't quite happen that way. The original Fantasia became a classic, although a static one. 60 years later, that's about to change. With the release of Fantasia/2000 we get eight animations set to music: seven new pieces and one classic. Oh, and this time it's presented on IMAX -- the first ever animated feature for the large format.

Already the chatter of parties, people want to know, "How does it stack up against the original?" Comparison is difficult, but on the whole, I prefer the new version, mainly because the overall animation is better fit to the music.

Fantasia/2000 is good, but it isn't uniformly great. The segments range from the abstract (Butterflies dancing to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony) to the modern (A NYC-themed "Rhapsody in Blue") to the bizarre ("Pines of Rome" can be described in only two words: Flying whales) to the stupid ("Carnival of the Animals" and its flamingos-with-yo-yos animation).

Then there's something old, the classic "Sorcerer's Apprentice" story with Mickey Mouse and the magic brooms, plus at least two new classics: Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 playing for a recreation of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" fairy tale, and the grand finale, a gorgeous Mother Earth vs. volcano story set to "The Firebird Suite."

Fantasia/2000 also features interstitial narration from the likes of James Earl Jones, Steve Martin, and Bette Midler. This is amusing, but in decades of moviegoing, I can say I've never seen anything so frightening as the image of Angela Lansbury projected to a height of 80 feet.

Like all IMAX films, Fantasia/2000 is never short of fascinating while making you mildly nauseous. Like the original, it's really not a kid's film, but it is another Disney classic for the vaults.

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Whale of a tale.


Comments

Fantasia/2000 Rating

" Good "

Rating: G, 2000

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