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FANTASIA 2000

SYNOPSIS:
Taking its cue from the 1940 original, Fantasia 2000 showcases eight animated shorts set to eight classical music compositions. Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Mickey Mouse gets a reprise; new musical selections include the pink flamingos in Carnival Of The Animals; Beethoven's famous 5th is a riot of swirling pastel-coloured geometric shapes; Respighi's somnolent Pines Of Rome chaperones a herd of computer generated sci-fi whales through the blue green ether; Elgar's majestic Pomp and Circumstance finds Donald Duck as an unlikely Noah romancing his Daisy aboard the Ark; and Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 serenades a Toy Soldier's gallant escapade. Well-known personalities like Steve Martin, Bette Midler and Angela Lansbury are on hand to introduce each segment.

"As stimulating as a breath of fresh air, Fantasia 2000 is a magical smorgasbord of entertainment for the senses. Music, colours, textures, shapes and stories are swirled together and offered to our captive imagination. Of course our imagination is unique, eliciting a different emotional response from each of us to this wonderful creative offering. For me, music is the key guaranteed to unlock my emotions, and here music stands centre stage. The seven inventive segments are presented in front of the orchestra, placing music as the foundation from which all the animation and creativity is derived. Imagine two colourful triangles dancing together to form the wings of a bird. And the wings of a bat. Good versus evil. Multiply by the hundreds. Add the grandeur of Beethoven's Fifth plus images that encapsulate the wonders of nature – and you are entranced in an adventure where your imagination has control. From the blues of cobalt, cerulean and teal, dolphins soar from the deep into a playful paradise high above the clouds, shafts of light heralding discovery and hope. Breathtaking. And this is only a taste. Keeping the Disney vision alive and offering diversity in animation that reflects the great advances in technology, the diversity of the segments presented by the likes of Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Angela Lansbury, Quincy Jones - and more - is enormous. The animation ranges from character, experimental and fantasy to realistic. The simplicity of a clarinet solo and a single drawn line on a flat plane propels Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue into a complex journey of turmoil, where the colours of life are represented through a maze of detail. I especially enjoyed Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance where Donald Duck supervises the animals into Noah's Arc – from the dragons to unicorns and firebirds. But you'll have to see it for yourself. Fantasy is a discovery we are happy to make alone."
Louise Keller

"Fantasia 2000 is the middle aged person's MTV video clip, the Beethoven-to-cartoon-images movie that interprets pieces of great classical music as animated fantasies. It was Walt Disney's thank you note to some of his favourite composers: the aforementioned Ludwig, Saint-Saens and Paul Dukas. Music inspired sections by the latter two, both included here from the original Fantasia, rightly recognising their eternal appeal, are still the best parts of Fantasia 2000. Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals shows off the prodigious ingenuity of the original animators, who fantasised a small flock of pink flamingos and one red one with a yo-yo, all syncopated with the feisty finale of the piece. It's so simple and brilliant it says everything about the idea behind Fantasia in a few minutes. The second, perhaps even more famous, is the Sorcerer's Apprentice, a linear story constructed to match the music's dynamics. If you have seen it yourself, take along someone who values and deserves this piece of cinema history and magic, and enjoy it three times as much the second time around. The introductions for each musical-fantasy sequence by guest celebrities are clunky by contempo standards, but little kids will love it all."
Andrew L. Urban

"After sixty years the Disney people have finally got around to making a new version of Fantasia, and it's not the instant classic the late Walt would have hoped for. By and large, the portmanteau film seldom equals the sum of its individual parts, and Fantasia is no exception. On a purely visual level, only the whales sequence bothers to exploit today's computer imaging technology; all the other segments, from the abstraction of the opening Beeethoven piece to the minimalism of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, exhibit a conventional and often dated animation style which may or may not be a conscious attempt to establish a thematic link with the original. And though it's easy to understand the nostalgic imperatives behind the decision to include the earlier film's famous Sorcerer's Apprentice in this new version, sadly, the sequence has the look and feel of a time capsule curiosity piece which shows its age badly. Moussorgsky's magnificent Night On Bald Mountain would have a far better segment to reprise. The less said about the celebrity intros the better. A throwback to the old That's Entertainment compilations from the mid-seventies, they look suspiciously like fillers designed to beef up the film's already skimpy 75 minute running time. When it first came out in 1940, one critic labeled Fantasia as a "conglomeration of tastelessness", while another called it "klassical kitsch of the highest degree". It would be unfair and even churlish to saddle Fantasia 2000 with either of these descriptions. At best, it's a pleasant enough G-rated aural an visual diversion which will probably bore the pants of some kids and adults as quickly as it enthralls some of the others."
Leo Cameron

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See Brad Green's
SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

TRAILER

FANTASIA 2000 (G)
(US)

HOSTS: Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, penn & Teller, Angela Lansbury, James Levine.

PROGRAM:
Symphony No.5
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Director: Pixote Hunt
Art Director: Pixote Hunt

Pines of Rome
Composer Ottorino Respighi
Director: Hendel Butoy
Art Directors: Dean Gordon, William Perkins

Rhapsody in Blue
Composer: George Gershwin
Director: Eric Goldberg
Art Director: Susan McKinsey Goldberg

Piano Concerto #2, Allegro, Opus 102
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Director: Hendel Butoy
Art Director: Michael Humphries

Carnival of the Animals, finale
Composer: Camille Sait-Saëns
Director: Eric Goldberg
Art Director: Susan McKinsey Goldberg

The Sorceror’s ApprenticeB
Composer: Paul Dukas
Director: James Algar
Art Directors: Tom Codrick, Charles Philippi, Zack Schwartz

Pomp and Circumstance – marches 1,2,3,&4
Composer: Sir Edward Elgar
Director: Francis Glebas
Art Director: Daniel Cooper

Firebird Suite – 1919 version
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Directors: Gaëtan and Paul Brizzi
Art Director: Carl Jones

PRODUCER: Donald W. Ernst

DIRECTOR: various

SCRIPT: Hans Christian Andersen (story, segment " The Steadfast Tin Soldier"), Don Hahn and Irene Mecchi, (segment "host sequences"), David Reynolds.

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tim Suhrstedt

EDITOR: Jessica Ambinder-Rojas, Lois Freeman-Fox, Julia, Craig Paulsen, Gregory F. Plotts.

MUSIC: various

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Pixote Hunt

RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 1, 2000

RELEASE AT IMAX: December 14, 2000







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