Disney’s glorious “Fantasia” and its sequel, “Fantasia 2000” are out for a limited time in a spectacular 4-DVD blu-ray package.
Considered a failure on its original release, “Fantasia’s” eight-part combination of images and music is now indisputably a classic. Musicologist Deems Taylor explains that there are three kinds of music: music that paints a picture, music that tells a story, and “absolute music,” or music for music’s sake, and then shows us all three. Highlights include Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, whose plan to save himself from a little work by enchanting a broom to carry the buckets of water gets out of control, the Nutcracker Suite’s forest moving from fall into winter (with the adorable mushroom doing the Chinese Dance), Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, with characters from Greek mythology celebrating at a festival and seeking shelter from a storm, and the Dance of the Hours, with ostrich and hippo ballerinas dancing with gallant (if overburdened) crocodiles.
It concludes with the scary Night on Bald Mountain followed by the dawn’s Ave Maria. The movie is perfect for blu-ray — it’s as though we can finally see the colors the way the artists could only dream of. The flying Pegasus family soars through the sky, the thistles kick like Cossacks to the Russian dance, the dinosaurs lumber to the Rite of Spring. This is one of the greatest movies in cinematic history, groundbreaking and timeless.
And there’s more. Disney planned another musical segment designed by famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali, who came out to the Disney studio for eight months to work on it. But it was canceled due to financial setbacks at the company at the time, and Disney always regretted that it was not completed. It has become a legend, much speculated about and sought after. This splendid set includes Destino, with Roy Disney at long last completing Dali’s original vision, 58 years after he began it.
Roy Disney also supervised “Fantasia 2000,” the sequel, which includes a charming Al Hirschfeld-inspired Manhattan saga set to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and a wildly funny flamingo/yo-yo mix-up (more like a pile-up) to the music of Saint-Seans.
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 is a genuine family treasure, guaranteed to inspire and entertain all ages. Grab it while you can.