Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 – Blu-ray Review

Disney’s Fantasia delivers classical music with plenty of creative animated imagery to create a feast for the senses that is memorable and leaves an impact on the viewer. No matter how many times I watch the film I still find new aspects of the music and the animation that I missed before. It’s a testament to the brilliance that was Walt Disney and his desire to bring something new to the audience at large back in 1940.

With intros by Deems Taylor and an orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowsi, Fantasia is a powerful musical masterpiece. My favorite sequences from the film include “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Dance of the Hours,” and “Night on Bald Mountain.” Each has its own unique visual style as well as it’s own beautiful and resonant musical score.

Fast-forward almost 60 years later to 1999 as Disney brought forth another incarnation of Fantasia: Fantasia 2000. One of the primary differences, aside from the new sequences, is the length of the feature. The original was 125 minutes long, while the new film is a mere 75 minutes. Were they afraid modern audiences would get bored?

James Levine conducts The Chicago Symphony Orchestra through this animated musical odyssey of sights and sounds. Along the way a variety of celebs deliver intros to the many sequences including: Steve Martin and Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn & Teller; James Levine; and Angela Lansbury.

Favorites in this version include: “Piano Concerto No. 2. Allegro, Opus 102,” and “Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2,3, and 4.” While this updated version includes some of the more memorable sequences from the 1940 film, a lot of the magic is absent. It looks great, but it’s just not up to the same level as the first one.

Both Blu-rays delvier a variety of special features, which include:

Fantasia (1940)

Disney Family Museum; The Schultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure; Interactive Art Gallery; and Audio Commentaries.

Fantasia 2000 (1999)

Destino (animated short); Dali & Disney: A Date with Destino Documentary; Musicana: Walt’s Inspiration for the Sequel to Fantasia; and Audio Commentaries.

For the ultimate collaboration of classical music and animation, check out Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.

Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 are available NOW on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray Combo packs!

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