Projections - Movie Reviews

Fantasia / 2000 Fantasia / 2000

It was Walt Disney’s intent to have Fantasia a continuing work in progress; it was conceived as a repertoire program with changing musical selections.  After sixty years his nephew, Roy Edward Disney is the executive producer of Fantasia / 2000.  It was worth the wait.  Fantasia / 2000 is a beautiful, delightful work of art.

The film has opened first in IMAX theaters.  The IMAX Dome theaters feature huge floor to ceiling screens with thousands of tiny holes to allow sound to pass through freely.  A vacuum holds the film firmly in place when it is projected resulting in a perfect focus which provides outstanding image clarity.  IMAX, which stands for Maximum Image, has a screen so large that the whales in the "Pines of Rome" segment appear life size.

Each segment stands on its own and even though I found some more appealing that others, each is enthralling in its own element.  "Carnival of The Animals (Le Carnival Des Animaux)", composed by Camille Saint-Saens, sub titled "Flamingos With Yo-Yos", is based on the concept of what would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a bunch of flamingos.  The result of that thinking is a segment with only one flamingo playing with a yo-yo while the others fly, paddle and swim in formation.  It has the joy and innocence of a Disney cartoon and no one can stop laughing at the rebellious flamingo who won’t give up his yo-yo.

"The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" is the only remaining sequence from the original 1940 film.  Conducted by legendary Leopold Stokowski, it features Mickey Mouse as the apprentice who, when he becomes tired of carrying water, dons the Sorcerer’s hat and directs a broom to carry water.  It goes wrong when the broom can not be stopped.

"The Pines of Rome", sub titled "A Whale of a Tale", features wales swimming and floating in the air to the music of composer, Ottorino Respighi.  Filled with grace and beauty the gigantic humpback whales float on the screen as their small youngster twists between its parents until it is separated by an ice flow.  The reunion leads to the dancing in the air.

Rhapsody In Blue may be George Gershwin’s most famous work.  With Gershwin’s music as a backdrop and Al Hirschfeld style characters on the screen, this segment seals the show, it is delightful and it is not possible to resist applauding as it ends.  The story follows New York City characters in the 1930s.  Each hurrying around the city at work, play and school, fitting in perfectly with the tone and tempo of the rhapsody.  Look for the Nina trademark of Hirschfeld which appears several times in the piece, including the top and bottom of Margaret’s fur coat collar and a toothpaste tube.

Other segments are based on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto # 2, Allegro, Opus 102, the Firebird Suite - 1919 Version composed by Igor Stravinsky and Donald Duck makes his Fantasia debut in "Pomp and Circumstance" - Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4.

James Levine conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Fantasia / 2000 with the exception of the segment "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" from the original 1940 film.  Hosts who introduce various sections of the film are: Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Levine, Itzhak Perlman, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Quincy Jones and Penn & Teller.

The combination of color, music, sound, comedy, animation and imagination are overpowering, this is a beautiful film.

Fantasia / 2000
A Top Ten pick for 2000

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