Leopold Stokowski, Ralph Grierson, Kathleen Battle, Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn Jillette, Teller, James Levine and Angela Lansbury

James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norman Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, Gaetan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Don Hahn and Pixote Hunt

Running Times:
124 mins/74 mins



In 1940 Walt Disney created a synergy of animation and music that would be talked about and heralded for generation. Stories set to classical Western music, animation brings to life ‘The Nutcracker Suite’, ‘Toccata and Fugue’, ‘The Pastoral Symphony’, ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Dance of the Hours’, ‘Night on Bald Mountain’, ‘Rite of Spring’ and ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ and called it ‘Fantasia’. In 2000, Walt Disney Animation returned to ‘Fantasia’ to produce all new animations set to music entitled ‘The Fire Suite’, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, ‘Pines of Rome’, ‘Carnival of Animals’, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’, ‘Symphony No. 5’, ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ and remastered version of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.

After changing animation forever with ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, Walt Disney did the same again in 1940 by setting a new standard for animation with ‘Fantasia’.

When it comes to talking about the contribution that Walt Disney and his studio have made to animation, then words cannot do them justice. The word genius is thrown around all too easily in the modern era but Walt Disney’s vision and the way he defined animation on the silver screen makes his a deserved accolade. In 1940 however, he changed animation forever by combining classical music and the art form to make something unique and that film was ‘Fantasia’. Celebrated for decades, the experimental animation became a critical smash and sixty years after its release, Walt Disney Animation returned to the theme so brilliantly created by Walt Disney himself and brought us the updated ‘Fantasia 2000’.

Combining classic music and animation is a unique approach to motion picture making and Walt Disney pioneered this approach. Split into sections and telling a story in animation to the music, ‘Fantasia’ combined visual spectacle with some of the most beautiful music ever written. ‘The Rite of Spring’ tells the story of evolution, ‘Dance of the Hours’ is a comic ballet performed by animals and ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ and ‘Ave Maria’ tell the story of the forces of darkness and light. It was the sight of Disney’s star character Mickey Mouse in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, using magic and then having to deal with the consequences of his action that made the film so memorable.

Returning to the formula in 2000, Disney again mixed classical music with animation. Following the themes of the 40s original, the new ‘Fantasia’ shows the adventures of a pod of humpback whales in ‘The Pines of Rome’, humorous stories set in 1930s New York in ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, a musical telling of a fairytale with ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’, flamingos going mad in ‘Carnival of Animals’, a tale of forest in ‘The Firebird’ and Disney’s other major star getting his chance in the ‘Fantasia’ limelight, Donald Duck in ‘Pomp and Circumstance’.

It is the music that drives ‘Fantasia’ however and for the first film Leopold Stokowski conducted the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra with James Lavine conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the second. Master composers such as Gershwin, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Ponchielli, Mussorgsky, Schubert and Bach all had their work lovingly and vividly brought to life in animation. It was Paul Dukas’s composition for ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ that will forever to associated with Mickey Mouse however and will be one of the most beloved pieces of animation to ever grace the screen.

‘Fantasia’ and ‘Fantasia 2000’ are unique pieces of animation and serve as a way of introducing classic composers and their music to the masses. The visionary that was Walt Disney set a new standard of animation in 1940 and while the 2000 version may not have done the same or captured the same sense of grandeur, the two films together compliment each other, the stories and the beautiful music that drives them.

Fantasia DVD Bonus Features:

Fantasia Blu-ray Bonus Features:

Fantasia 2000 Blu-ray Bonus Features:

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