Review of 'Fantasia 2000'

fantasia_2000.jpg “Fantasia 2000” seeks to continue with the ideas originally explored in Review of 'Fantasia' with a new set of classical music pieces featuring animation from various Disney artists. As with the original film, each of the eight pieces here feature quite different styles of animation. The original idea was that “Fantasia” would consist of different segments that were updated as the years went on so with that in mind the favourite segment “The Sorcerer's Apprentice” from the original film. The music for six of the film's segments is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine. The segments are introduced by various celebreties including Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn & Teller, and Angela Lansbury.

The segments of “Fantasia 2000” are:

  1. Symphony No. 5 (Ludwig van Beethoven) - As with the original “Fantasia”, this new version opens with another piece of abstraction with colourful shapes resembling butterflies dancing around the screen.
  2. Pines of Rome (Ottorino Respighi) - An odd animation sees a very realistic looking family of humpback whales that eventually take to the skies along with other whales.
  3. Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin) - A wonderful visualisation of the Gershwin piece featuring animation based on Al Hirschfeld's work. This is a match made in heaven and it looks great as it tells several stories of life in New York City during the great depression.
  4. Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 (Dmitri Shostakovich) - A work of computer animation telling the Hans Christian Anderson story of “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” with a one-legged tin soldier winning the affection of a music box ballerina.
  5. The Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnival des Animaux), Finale (Camille Saint-Saëns) - A bit of fun with a flock of flamingoes playing with a yo-yo.
  6. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Paul Dukas) - The original piece from “Fantasia” telling the story of Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice trying to use his master's magic to bring in the water…
  7. Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Edward Elgar) - Donald Duck makes an appearance here as Noah's assistant trying to get the animals on to the ark before the flood comes. But where is Daisy?
  8. Firebird Suite—1919 Version (Igor Stravinsky) - The finale of the film features a forest sprite coming face to face with an erupting volcano then eventually restoring the devastated forest.

It is obvious, just like the original Fantasia, that Fantasia 2000 is also a labour of love. Indeed, Roy Disney (nephew of Walt), who spearheaded the development of 2000 admits to wanting to continue the work of his uncle and showcasing more of Disney's animation talents. Here the pieces are far shorter than the original and the introductions between pieces far less involved, being more relaxed and fun (both a criticism and a complement). Hopefully this means those of the new age will be more willing to watch and be drawn in…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-03-22

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Year: 1999

Length: 75 minutes

Genre: Animation