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BMZ Review: Fantasia/2000
By Herb Lash


BMZ Review of Fantasia
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: Feb 2001


Category: Reviews

Fantasia 2000 is a refreshing return to the wonderful world of Walt Disney - that original world where the driving inspiration was the creation of magic before money. It requires a real technical artistry to use a computer in conjuring up giant cinematic twisters, urban volcanoes, an exploding White House and highflying Kung Fu battles. But too often it seems like today's phenomenal special effects are the movie - storytelling and characters become ornamentation to featured pyrotechnics and digital extravaganzas.

The animation from the original 1940 Fantasia presented audiences with the most jaw dropping imagery to date - from his mountain ledge, the young Sorcerer Mickey Mouse whipped the world of imagination toward frenzied new heights. In Fantasia 2000 a simple spell is rediscovered: elegant storytelling, masterful animation and timeless music make movie magic.

Fantasia 2000 follows the formula of the original in its use of classical and modern compositions to inspire whimsical, dreamy animated episodes. The styles of new generation of Disney animators vary from composition to composition - but each of the installments at least reminds of the more classic Disney era.

Each of the eight installments is preceded by brief and lighthearted live action introductions; Itzack Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler and Steve Martin are among the familiar faces. The film is at the very least a fantastic avenue toward broadening musical horizons.  Stravinsky probably won't ever be competing with Britney for poster space - but Fantasia 2000 is as good a setting as the "Firebird" will ever have to captivate and capture a young audience.

All of the music is of the highest order and the animation is always surprising. George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" features a pair of Manhattan sophisticates, a down on his luck average Joe and a high-rise riveter who can't keep his mind off his jazz drumming dream. These loosely lined characters keep perfect rhythm as they go about the joys and drudgery of every day life. More dreamy and inspiring are the massive whales that make a choreographed swim through sea and sky, set to the crescendoing tones from the "Pines of Rome." The film engages in a fair share of silliness with Donald Duck loading up his version of Noah's Ark while "Pomp and Circumstance" sets the mood. Favorites are subjective here, but Fantasia 2000 brings real truth to the old Disney credo - "something for the whole family."

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