Fantasia 2000

"Good"

Fantasia 2000 Review


(Review written for IMAX release)

Always intended to be an ongoing experiment in animation, Disney's "Fantasia," which stalled out after its spectacular first installment in 1940, has been reborn with a brand new gimmick -- the over-rated, four-story screens of IMAX.

Not a bad idea, I suppose, but the problem with IMAX has always been that (with apologies to Marshall McLuhan) the medium is the message. The quality of what's on the screen is always secondary to the fact that, boy, that's a really big screen!

The uneven but enjoyable new anthology that is "Fantasia 2000" is less susceptible to these "size matters" fallacies since it's primarily a visual spectacle in the first place -- setting seven artsy and whimsical animation vignettes to recognizable pieces of classical (and in the case, jazz) music.

"F2K" opens with a dancing, geometric lightning storm of multicolored shapes chasing each other around to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which in IMAX scale comes as something of an assault on the eyes, and a fairly uninteresting one at that.

That's followed by an ice, water and air ballet of humpback whales set to Respighi's "Pines of Rome," which is a surprisingly poor mix of computer and hand animation. The ink-drawn splashes against more realistic computerized water, and especially the roughshod, hand-rendered eyes on the otherwise elegant CGI whales, are distractingly reminiscent of "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," that 1960s Disney assembly line flick with Don Knotts as an animated fish in a live-action world. Left to its computer devices, this sequence would have been above reproach.

But even with a few disappointing sequences -- and, in keeping with tradition, a rash of rather dopey introductions from random celebrities (Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Angela Lansbury, Penn and Teller) -- "Fantasia 2000" is more than worth the price of admission just to see the returning "Sorcerer's Apprentice" (you know, Mickey Mouse and the marching broomsticks) and the picture's two masterpiece segments.

The first is an absolutely inspired, whimsical, Jazz Age Manhattan ensemble 'toon featuring Al Hirschfeld-style illustrations, accompanied by George Gershwin's ever-delightful, always dulcet "Rhapsody in Blue."

Skyscrapers, bustling sidewalks, caricatures of indelible Big Apple icons, all drawn in distinct linear plume and married perfectly to that mellow, melodious jazz masterwork -- how could it not be brilliant? This is "F2K's" most memorable -- destined to be legendary -- sequence.

Then there's the beautifully rendered fairy tale episode based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," and set to Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto No. 2," in which a 18th Century toy soldier rescues a lovely music box ballerina from an evil, jealous jack-in-the-box. This sequence mixes near-realistic 3D computer animation seamlessly with its hand-drawn elements and makes wonderfully dramatic use of its musical inspiration in creating a whole new adoration for the old-fashioned resolute hero, flirtatious damsel and mustache-twirling nefarian.

On the lighter side, "F2K" includes a cheerfully silly number starring a pink flamingo who discovers a yo-yo and wreaks goofball havoc on his flock twirling it around (set to "Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint-Saens), and a daffy Noah's Ark episode (set to "Pomp and Circumstance" marches) featuring Donald Duck as Noah's clumsy assistant.

The collection ends on a bit of a dull and pretentious note with a Japanese anime-inspired rendition of the cycle of nature, featuring Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" and a ethereal, feminine forest spirit who repopulates mountain vegetation after a violent volcanic eruption and forest fire. Nicely drawn, lots of butterflies, blooming flowers and heavy-handed symbolism, but it pales in comparison to the suspiciously similar finale of Hayao Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke."



Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Tuesday 5th May 2009

Box Office Worldwide: $90.9M

Budget: $80M

Production compaines: Walt Disney Television Animation, Walt Disney Pictures, Richard Purdum Productions, Walt Disney Feature Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Introductory Host, as Host, as Hostess, as Host, as Host, Leopold Stokowski as Conductor, Ralph Grierson as Pianist, as Featured Soprano, as Host, as Host, as Host, as Hostess, as Mickey Mouse, as Donald Duck, as Daisy Duck

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.