Disney’s “Fantasia 2000” (1999) Review

Image: Disney, Wikipedia.org

Enter a new millennium of music and magic…

This time around, the film will be split into segments and portions:

Symphony No. 5 (Ludwig van Beethoven) – One of my favorite classical songs, but the animation, while flowing and packed with action, does not hit the beats of the song as quick as it should. The plight of the two main butterflies is lost in a sea of bats, and there is little to mention here otherwise aside from the sheer amount of bats onscreen.

My rating for this segment is 7 / 10.

Pines of Rome (Ottorino Respighi) – A slow and contemplative segment, perhaps too much though. This portion really drags, and the focus on the main character is lost in favor of the sheer amount of whales once again. The CGI whales also have not aged well, but the water is excellent. The song is entirely unmemorable though, as the visuals overtake it with a sense of one-upping the previous scene to an almost ridiculous scale, providing more questions than answers.

My rating for this segment is 5 / 10.

Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin) – One of my favorite segments of the film. Memorable characters in a great story of finding purpose, and how one positive choice can effect the lives of others. The Al Hirschfeld-style drawings and the snappy, quick animation lend well to the excellent jazz soundtrack. The use of color and line here are excellent, as well as having several memorable comedic bits.

My rating for this segment is 10 / 10.

Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 (Dmitri Shostakovich) – An interesting twist on “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” story, this segment has an accessible plot with standard characters, and relies on the animation and characters to carry it through. While the music isn’t that memorable, the story is a great series of coincidences on getting the soldier back home. Also notable for having a disabled main character, but not making much of a deal over it and treating him as normal.

My rating for this segment is 8 / 10.

The Carnival of the Animals, Finale (Camille Saint-Saëns) – One of the strangest concepts I’ve seen, this portion had me laughing all the way through. The zippy animation combined with the infectious quick rhythm of the song was fun and the characters identifiable with those who want to shake up the norm. The exaggerated expressions here are fun, and the colors vibrant and whimsical.

My rating for this segment is 8 / 10.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Paul Dukas) – A true classic that can’t be beat. Wonderful years later and wonderful now. While I do wish that they retouched the animation as I watched, but afterwards, I realize my mistaken idea. This really is the perfect segment, one of the best of the original film, and worthy of coming back.

My rating for this segment is 10 / 10.

Pomp and Circumstances (Edward Elgar) – Another excellent segment starring the ever-great Donald and Daisy Duck, featuring ‘the Graduation Song’, though here explained to be used during any somber occasion. The beautiful animation and music sync up incredibly well here, and the ‘graduation’ portion of the song hits hard. The story here deals with loss, and while comedic, can be touching and powerful at points. This segment is a strange foray into a Biblical story that Disney completely nails.

My rating for this segment is 10 / 10.

Firebird Suite (Igor Stravinsky) – A beautiful segment that packs an environmental punch, but ultimately has too short of a climax. The Sprite’s story is impactful, and touches on depression and true loss as well as how to move forward after. The Firebird itself is somewhat of a letdown, appearing briefly and disappearing just as quick, with even some reused poses shown. While the effects are great here as always, the story lacks the emotional punch that the non-firebird parts of this segment provide.

My rating for this segment is 8 / 10.

The celebrity segments are the weak point of this film. There isn’t much coherence as to who appears when, and while that can be part of the fun, most of the time, it is an ill fit, or features a dated celebrity who hasn’t been prominent since this film premiered. The animated character cameos are wonderful to see here, but around half of the human cameos are unfunny or unmemorable in general, not really matching the wholesome qualities of the Disney brand, instead showcasing who was popular at the time.

My rating for the celebrity cameos is 12 / 20.

OVERALL –

While not the worst film in the Disney Animated Canon, Fantasia 2000 shows promise and spirit, trying to be as great as Walt Disney’s Fantasia. This film sometimes falls short, but hits incredibly well at points, and includes more memorable Disney characters at the expense of some poorly chosen celebrity cameos. The beginning drags and almost makes this film not worth watching, but most of the segments afterwards are hits and instant classics. The heart of this film is commendable, deeper than other films of its time, and rare for Disney to include.

While Fantasia 2000 doesn’t quite hit the mark at points, it hits where it counts.

Image: Disney, Pinterest.co.uk

My OVERALL RATING for Fantasia 2000 is 78%.

Next time…

Image: Disney, Reddit.com

Oh, I wish….

Stay tuned!

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