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Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: 4-Disc Special Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 24, 2010 by  



Words can not describe how fantastic this Blu-ray release is.  “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” come alive with this Blu-ray release especially with the lossless 7.1 soundtrack but possibly one of the biggest additions to this 4-disc special edition was the inclusion of “Destino” and the documentary.  Another five star Blu-ray release from Disney!

Images courtesy of © Disney.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: 4-Disc Special Edition

YEAR OF FILM: (Fantasia) 1940, (Fantasia 2000) 2000, Destino (animated short) 2003

DURATION: Fantasia (125 Minutes), Fantasia 2000 (75 Minutes), Destino (7 minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:33:1 for Fantasia), (1:78:1 Aspect Ratio for Fantasia 2000), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), 5.1 DEHT French and Spanish Language Tracks, English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (All Ages Admitted)

Release Date: November 30, 2010

Fantasia

Directed by

James Algar  (segment “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”)

Samuel Armstrong  (segments “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” and “The Nutcracker Suite”)

Ford Beebe (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”)

Norman Ferguson  (segment “Dance of the Hours”) (as Norm Ferguson)

Jim Handley  (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”)

T. Hee  (segment “Dance of the Hours”)

Wilfred Jackson  (segment “Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria”)

Hamilton Luske  (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”)

Bill Roberts  (segment “Rite of Spring”)

Paul Satterfield   (segment “Rite of Spring”)

Written by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer (story and direction)

Written by

Lee Blair   (story development) (segment “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”) &
Elmer Plummer  (story development) (segment “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”) &
Phil Dike  (story development) (segment “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”)

Sylvia Moberly-Holland  (story development) (segment “The Nutcracker Suite”) &
Norman Wright   (story development) (segment “The Nutcracker Suite”) &
Albert Heath  (story development) (segment “The Nutcracker Suite”) &
Bianca Majolie   (story development) (segment “The Nutcracker Suite”) &
Graham Heid  (story development) (segment “The Nutcracker Suite”)

Perce Pearce   (story development) (segment “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”) &
Carl Fallberg   (story development) (segment “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”)

William Martin  (story development and research) (segment “Rite of Spring”) &
Leo Thiele  (story development and research) (segment “Rite of Spring”) &
Robert Sterner (story development and research) (segment “Rite of Spring”) &
John McLeish    (story development and research) (segment “Rite of Spring”) (as John Fraser McLeish)

Otto Englander   (story development) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”) &
Webb Smith  (story development) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”) &
Erdman Penner   (story development) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”) &
Joseph Sabo   (story development) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”) &
Bill Peet   (story development) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”) (as Bill Peed) &
Vernon Stallings    (story development) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”) (as George Stallings)

Campbell Grant   (story development) (segment “Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria”) &
Arthur Heinemann    (story development) (segment “Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria”) &
Phil Dike (story development) (segment “Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria”)

Edited by John Carnochan (1990 Restoration)

Fantasia 2000:

James Algar (segment “Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The”)

Gaëtan Brizzi (segment “Firebird Suite, The”)

Paul Brizzi  (segment “Firebird Suite, The”)

Hendel Butoy (segments “Pines of Rome” and “Piano Concerto No.2”)

Francis Glebas  (segment “Pomp and Circumstance”)

Eric Goldberg  (segments “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Carnival of the Animals, The”)

Don Hahn (host sequences)

Pixote Hunt   (segment “Symphony No. 5”)

Executive Producer: Roy Edward Disney

Producer: Donald W. Ernst

Associate Producer: Lisa C. Cook

Co-Producer: Patricia Hicks

Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt

Edited by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas, Lois Freeman-Fox, Julia Gray, Craig Paulsen, Gregory F. Plotts

Casting by Mary Hidalgo, Ruth Lambert

Production Design by Pixote Hunt

Destino

Directed by Dominique Monfery

Written by Salvador Dali and John Hench

Story Supervisor: Donald W. Ernst

Produced by Baker Bloodworth

Executive Producer: Roy Edward Disney

Associate Producer: Dave Bossert

Edited by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas

Production Design by Thierry Fournier

Starring :

Leopold Stokowski – Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra

Deems Taylor – Narrative Introductions

Corey Burton – Narrative Introductions

Walt Disney for the voice of Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

“Fantasia 2000” starring:

Leopold Stokowski

Ralph Grierson

Kathleen Battle

Steve Martin

Ktzhak Perlman

Quincy Jones

Bette Midler

James Earl Jones

Penn Jillette

Teller

James Levine

Angela Lansbury

Wayne Allwine

Tony Anselmo

Russi Taylor

Eric Goldberg

Benee Leavy

Deems Taylor

Deborah Vukovitz

Fantasia, an unprecedented and magnificent feast of music and animated images, was initially released by the Studio in 1940 as a “road show” release. The following year, at the 14th Annual Academy Awards, Fantasia earned two Special Awards. The first was given to Walt Disney and associates for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures, being the first commercial film released in multi-channel sound using a process called Fantasound, and the second to conductor Leopold Stokowski and his associates “for…unique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized music…thereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form.”

Considered avant-garde during its time, Fantasia has gone on to become one of the most popular movies of all time and today is considered a classic. In 1990, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Stokowski, this groundbreaking film, which consists of animation set to eight musical pieces, is narrated by Deems Taylor and includes an appearance by Mickey Mouse (voiced by Disney himself).

Equally impressive is Fantasia 2000, the awe-inspiring extravaganza of sight and sound, executive produced by the late Roy E. Disney. Featuring an array of celebrity hosts including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Angela Lansbury, Itzhak Perlman and Quincy Jones, the film, like its predecessor, expertly visualizes classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. Fantasia 2000 is primarily performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by James Levine.

With the success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio”, Walt Disney Studios began working on a new animated feature length film titled “Fantasia”.

Unlike the previous two films, “Fantasia” would incorporate live action segments hosted by host Deems Taylor (an American composer and music critic) but with the studio wanting to raise the bar even higher, the animators wanted to try more experimental styles of animation that has never done before and then time it to go with the music directed by Leopold Stokowski and performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Because the film is more of a musical extravaganza, Walt Disney wanted the premiere to be a special event where there was reserved seating and it was a formal occasion in which people would get special program books.  So, in many ways, the film was like visiting a classic music concert versus a film.

“Fantasia” would feature the following soundtrack:

  • Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • The Nutcracker Suite OP. 71a (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) which includes “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, “Chinese Dance”, “Dance of the Reed Fluets”, “Arabian Dance”, “Russian Dance”, “Waltz of the Fowers”.
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Paul Dukas)
  • Symphony No. 6 (“Pastroal”) Op. 68 (Ludwig van Beethoven) which includes I. Allegro ma non troppo, II. Andante molto mosso, III. Allegro,  IV. Allegro, V. Allegretto
  • Rite of Spring (Igor Stravinsky)
  • Dance of the Hours from the opera “La Gioconda” (Amilcare Ponchielli)
  • A Night on Bald Mountain (Modeste Moussorgsky)
  • Ave Maria, OP. 52 No. 6 (Franz Schubert)

While the majority of the animation has no actual plot, among the most well-known animated segments include Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.  Mickey plays the assistant who takes his wizard’s hat and by looking at his spell book, tries to make the brooms come to life and clean the castle (so he doesn’t have to) but by creating so many brooms, the basin continues to fill up until a flood is created and causing damage.   While “A Night on Bald Mountain” is about the nocturnal Chernabog trying to summon souls from their graves as well as other evil entities.  Until the Angelus Bell sends them all back into hiding and transitions to “Ave Maria”.

The film has received positive reviews since it’s release in 1940 and even today as many are in awe of what was created at that time.  But because “World War II” was around the corner and Disney’s success was due to worldwide release and the film being shown in many countries outside of the U.S., the theatrical version (which cost a lot to make back in 1940) and only shown in 12 theaters was not a financial success.  Re-released in 1942 and receiving a hack and slash edit from 125-minutes to 81-minutes, it was a commercial failure as the public were not used to accepting a Disney animated film as a classical music animated concert.

Fortunately in 1946, the film restored the “Toccata and Fugue” animation.  In 1960’s, “Fantasia” would finally make a profit but because of the sign of the times, the film would become even more popular but that is because of the rampant drug use at that time and even Disney itself would release a psychedelic poster to promote the film.  The film would be edited once again for its 1969 release to remove the character of Sunflower, the centaur that was an African-American girl during the “Pastoral Symphony” and a racial stereotype that many praised for its removal but also annoying those who wanted an unedited, uncut version of the film.

The film would go through a major change in 1982 as the original sound negatives back in the ’30s were deteriorated and unusable, a magnetic recording was done in for its 1956 release.  Unfortunately, the master was unusable in 1982 and thus Disney re-recorded the film’s soundtrack digitally by an arrangement conducted by Irwin Kostal.  Deem’s Taylors original narration was replaced with voice artist Hugh Douglas and also removing most of the live action pieces of the film.  Once again, sending fans of the film in an uproar, while audiophiles who enjoyed the digital recording by Irwin Kostal over the original audio enjoying the audio change/upgrade.

With technology changes in 1990, for the 50th anniversary of “Fantasia”, Disney went back to the original Stokowski recording as they were able to digitally use the 1941 soundtrack to resemble the 1946 general release version.  Everything was restored with the exception of the 1969 racial stereotype removal.  In 2000, for the 60th Anniversary of the film, Disney also brought back the Deems Taylor visual elements and the intermission with the exception of the 1969 edit.

And here we are in 2010, for the 70th Anniversary of the film and for its Blu-ray release, receives a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio treatment, keeping with the most faithful version of “Fantasia” since its 1946 release with the exception of the 1969 racial stereotype edit.

“Fantasia” was and still is considered “Avant-garde” and creatively artistic as the animators sought after experimental ways to raise the bar of animation.  It continues to be praised by critics and those who have watched the film and for nearly half a decade, remained a mystery on how the animation was created until a notebook created by Herman Schultheis (who worked for Disney’s camera effects department) was found and is now currently featured in the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco (note: A documentary on the finding of Schultheis’ notebook is included on this Blu-ray release).

The film was never meant to have an ending and thus for the film’s 60th Anniversary, the 38th animated feature “Fantasia 2000” would be created.  Although shorter in duration than the original, the film would stay within the same context as the original by visualizing classical music compositions with live-action introductions.  For this 1999 release, the introductions would feature celebrities Steve Martin, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Penn and Teller and Itzhak Perlman.

The new music would featuring James Levine conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with the exception of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” which would feature the original recording by Leopold Stokowski.

The biggest difference with this latest version of “Fantasia” would be the inclusion of modern animating techniques (CG) and trying to incorporate the classic style the original was known for.

Included in “Fantasia 2000” are the following songs:

  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor-1. Allegro con brio (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • Pines of Rome (Ottorino Respighi)
  • Rhapsody in Blue (George Gerswhwin)
  • Piano Concert No. 2 in F Major-i. Allegro (Dmitri Shostakovich)
  • The Carnival of Animals, Finale (Camille Saint-Saens)
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Paul Dukas)
  • Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1,2,3 and4 (Edward Elgar)
  • Firebird Suite -1919 version (Igor Stravinsky)

A major difference between “Fantasia 2000” and “Fantasia” is the inclusion of animation with a storyline.  In “Pines of Rome”, a whale who is trapped in an iceberg tries to find a way out of it with the help of its parents, in “Pomps and Circumstance – Marches 1,2,3 and 4”, Donald Duck and Daisy escort animals to Noah’s ark but when the flood comes, both Donald and Daisy are separated and both fear that the other must have died in sea.  For the final dramatic piece, a spring Sprite tries to return the land back with plants and vegetation after winter but a volcano erupts with a Phoenix breathing ash and fire to destroy any living thing around it.  Will the spring Sprite and her companion, an elk, survive?

With ten years having passed since the theatrical release of “Fantasia 2000” and 70-years since the original “Fantasia” film, Walt Disney Studios are releasing a special 4-disc combo pack which includes a Blu-ray of both films, plus two DVD’s of each film.

Also, as an added bonus, the Academy Award winning animated short “Destino” (2003) which was originally created by Walt Disney and Salvadori Dali and storyboarded alongside with John Hench back in 1946 and shelved for over half a decade and brought to life in 2003 by Roy E. Disney and director Domonique Monfery with the help of John Hench is included on this Blu-ray release along with the fantastic documentary on the making of the short.

VIDEO:

“Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” are both presented in 1080p High Definition with the former at 1:33:1 and the latter at 1:78:1.  First, the original 1940 film “Fantasia”…  Having owned this film on VHS and then DVD, the only thing I can tell you is how awesome the film looks in HD.   The colors are absolutely vibrant and once again, you can watch this film over and over and still be in awe of what was created back at that time, it’s amazing!  The contrast is very good, the blacks are nice and deep.  I did see some minor banding but considering the age of this film, by no means does it ruin your viewing of this animated classic. This is easily the best version of “Fantasia” thus far.

Now, of course, with “Fantasia 2000”, 60-years-later and the animators were able to combine newer CG animation with classic animation and thus with newer film elements compared to the original film, “Fantasia 2000” obviously looks much better in HD.  The CG still holds up ten years later but if this film was created in 2010, who knows how much more detailed this whole film would have looked.

But both films look absolutely fantastic!  I didn’t see any artifacting, nor did I see any major blemishes towards picture quality.  Fans of “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” should be quite happy with this release!

As for “Destino”, Destino looks absolutely wonderful in HD.  Salvador Dali and Walt Disney’s creative and scrapped collaboration comes alive.  Colors are vibrant, blacks are nice and deep but it’s very important to note that this film does showcase Dali’s experimental style and although there is no nudity, there is a animated woman naked and unusual but creative artwork that some parents may find objectionable.  So, parents be warned.  But otherwise, a wonderful inclusion to this Blu-ray release!

As for the two included DVD’s, the film is presented in 1:33:1 aspect ratio (Fantasia) and 1:78:1 aspect ration (Fantasia 2000).

AUDIO:

This is where “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” comes alive on Blu-ray.  Presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, I was absolutely floored.  Reason being is that I have owned several versions of the “Fantasia” soundtrack.  Listening it on cassette and CD and typically, “Fantasia” was my meditation music throughout the ’90s.  I’ve had this soundtrack play when I was working on my college notes, when I needed to just meditate and collect my thoughts and even to sleep, I absolutely love the soundtrack for this album.

But watching it on Blu-ray, I have never experienced “Fantasia” in this way ever!  Instruments separated on each of the seven channels, hearing audio going from left to right and right to left and hearing it so crystal clear and yet coming alive on a 7.1 system, I was literally amazed!

Both soundtracks with the Philadelphia and Chicago Orchestra just come alive in your soundscape with instruments being hear from all over.  If you have ever wondered how proper utilization of a concert or even audio Blu-ray using all channels would sound if properly done?  “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” is it!  Every instrument comes alive in each of the musical segments and simply, this is the best I have heard of “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000”.  I know there are some people who are still stuck on the digital recording of the 1982 version by Irwin Kostal but if you have a 7.1 setup, you may just want to come back and listen to Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra come alive in his HD release of “Fantasia”.  Once again, both soundtracks are fantastic!

As for “Destino”, the soundtrack utilizes the original song from 1941.  You can hear that record player needle touch upon the vinyl and that vinyl coming alive in HD.  It absolutely works with this film and I’m so happy that they used that soundtrack and not clean it up.  The audio is properly integrated to that classic song that Salvador Dali was inspired by.

As for subtitles, the film is presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.

As for the DVD release of “Fantasia”, the film comes with a 5.1DEHT English, French and Spanish language track.  Subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Fantasia” comes with the following special features in HD:

  • Audio Commentaries – Included with the Blu-ray release of “Fantasia” are three audio commentaries.  The first is with Disney Historian Brian Sibley who goes into everything from the development of the film to going through every detail about the film.  A fantastic audio commentary!  The second commentary features Roy E. Disney and historian John Canemaker and would feature archived interviews and recordings and also includes transcript readings and story note recreations.  The third audio commentary features Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, animation historian John Canemaker and film restoration manager Scott Macqueen.   This pretty much features commentary additional commentary by conductor Levine on the music of the film and Macqueen on the restoration done for the film.
  • Fantasia Disney View Presentation – While watching “Fantasia”, you can watch it with an optional Disney View which fills the black bars ont eh sides with paintings by visual effect artist and designer Harrison Ellenshaw.
  • Disney Family Museum – (4:05) Diane Disney Miller introduces us to the Disney Family Museum in Presidio, California.
  • The Schultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure – (13:51) A wonderful featurette by Diane Disney Miller talking about how the Schultheis Notebook was found and how it was incorporated to the Disney Family Museum using hi-tech technology.  We hear from various people of the importance of Schultheis notebook, pictures from the notebook and more!  A fantastic featurette!
  • Interactive Galleries – With your remote, you can view , zoom and select favorites from the many concept art, illustration from “Fantasia” to the music from the film.

“Fantasia 2000” comes with the following special features in HD and Standard Definition:

  • Musicana – (9:19) A look at the development of a potential Fantasia Sequel titled “Musicana” which would never come to be.  We learn how Walt Disney’s original idea was to have “Fantasia” as a continual piece and how the artists in the ’70s tried to get “Musicana” off the ground.  Featuring images, conceptual art and sketches for “Musicana”.
  • Audio Commentaries – The directors and art directors discuss each of the animated segments they worked on and how they feel about being part of a special occasion on working on the sequel.  The second commentary features Roy E. Disney, James Levine and producer Donald W. Ernst providing commentary of the entire film, how the film came about, and differences and similarities between the two films.
  • Destino – (6:31) The Academy Award winning 2003 animated short.  A wonderful inclusion to this Blu-ray release!
  • Dali & Disney: A Date with Destino – (1:22:18) A documentary on how Salvador Dali and Walt Disney would became friends, eventually working together on “Destino” and how the project was shelved but only discovered when the sketches were being moved to the newly built Disney Archives and thus learning how Roy E. Disney would go on to spearhead the project and make Dali/Disney’s project to become a reality.
  • Disney’s Virtual Vault – The following features are provided via BD-Live.  You must have a Blu-ray profile 2.0 player that is connected to the Internet to access:

FANTASIA

– The Interstials

  • Introduction (1:48)

Tocata in Fuge in D-Minor

  • Introduction (1:12)
  • Alternate Concept (3:30)

The Nutcracker Suite

  • Excerpt from “The Story of the Animated Drawing” Layering and Painting (1:11)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

  • Introduction (1:00)
  • Deleted Animation with the Broom (1:06)
  • Story Reel (4:27)

The Rite of Spring

  • Introduction (:49)
  • Excerpt from “Tricks of Our Trade” Effects Demonstration (7:34)

The Pastoral Symphony

  • Introduction (1:03)

Dance of the Hours

  • Introduction (:59)
  • Excerpt from “Tricks of Our Trade” – Live Action Model Reference (6:30)
  • Unused Rough Animation (1:03)

Night on Bald Mountain

  • Introduction (:46)
  • Excerpt from “The Plausible Impossible” Managing Music and Visuals (3:51)

Ave Maria

  • Introduction (2:03)

The Making of Fantasia (48:01)

The Fantasia That Never Was

  • Introduction (3:18)
  • Clair de line (7:40)
  • The Ride of the Valkyrie Story Reel (2:57)
  • The Swan of Tumelsa Story Reel (4:07)
  • Invitation t0 the Dance Story Reel (2:54)
  • Adventure is a Perambulator Story Reel (2:23)

Special Effects of Fantasia (4:02)

Publicity (1940 Trailer) – (2:10)

Publicity (1990 Trailer) – (1:27)

FANTASIA 2000

– The Interstitials

  • Creating the Interstitials (5:08)
  • Early Concept Reel (2:00)
  • Proof of Concept Test (2:55)
  • Micky Meets the Maestro (3:06)

– Symphony No. 5

  • Creating Symphony No. 5 (4:32)
  • Early Concept Reel #1, May 1993 (3:06)
  • Early Cncept #2, Sept. 1993 (3:12)
  • CGI Test of Early Concept #2 (1:13)
  • Early Concept #3 (1:09)
  • Proof of Concert Reel, June 1998 (2:53)

Pines of Rome

  • Creating Pines of Rome (4:31)
  • Abandoned Concepts – Penguin Subplot (3:23), 0riginal ending (1:08
  • Storyboard to Film Comparison (3:21)

– Rhapsody in Blue

  • Creating Rhapsody in Blue (6:30)
  • The Stages of Animation (2:54)

Piano Concerto #2, Allegro, Opus, 102

  • Creating Piano Concerto #2, Allegro, Opus 102 (4:43)
  • Abandoned Concept – Alternate Rat Sequence (1:41), Original Ending (:26)
  • Production Progression Demonstration: Tin Stoldier Story Reel (:39), Tin Soldier Rough Animation (:39), Tin Soldier, Clean Up and Effects Animation (:39), Tin Soldier Final Color (:39)

Carnival of Animals (Les Carnival Des Animaux) FINALE

  • Creating Carnival of Animals (Les Carnival des Animaux) FINALE (3:24)
  • Early Story Reel, September 1954 (:59)
  • Original Ending (:29)

– The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

  • Deleted Animatic: Mickey with the Broom (1:06)
  • Story Reel (4:27)

– Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1,2,3 and 4

  • Creating Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1,2,3 and 4 (4:33)
  • Abandoned Concepts: Noah’s Dove (5:41)

– Firebird Suite – 1999 Version

  • Creating Firebird Suite – 199 Version  (6:07)
  • Story Reel (2:44)
  • Effects Animation: Firebird Eruption (3:11)
  • Original Ending (1:30)
  • Production, Progression, Demonstration: Sprite Awakens Story Reel (:50), Sprite Awakens: Rough Animation (:50), Sprite Awakens: Cleanup and Effects Animation (1:50), Sprite Awakens: Final Color (:30)

Trailers, TV Spots: Trailer, Trailer 2 (IMax Experience), TV Spots #1-#4

Roy Disney Introduction (3:31)

The Making of Fantasia 2000 (48:42)

Adventures in Music Melody (10:10)

Adventures in Music: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Bloom (10:20)

  • Interactive Galleries – With your remote, you can view , zoom and select favorites from the many concept art, illustration from “Fantasia” to the music from the film.

EXTRAS:

“Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: 4-Disc Special Edition” comes with a slip cover case.

I loved “Fantasia” and since the 1990 release, the music of the film really got me through college and throughout that ten years before the DVD release in 2000, I would watch the film over and over and just be in awe of how this timeless classic continues to surprise me on how it was created and how beautiful the film is and how the marriage between animation and music just came alive. Experimental animation at its very best.

One does not have to be a Disney aesthete to watch this film and just be appreciative of the details of how the animation is and how well-timed it was for the big screen.  It’s an amazing testament to artists who wanted to push the envelope, raise the bar of animation to sights never seen before.  And this was in 1937-1940 and the results were fantastic.

Here we are in 2010 and if you thought you have seen or heard “Fantasia” in the best way possible, all I can say is prepare yourself until you watch and listen to this film on Blu-ray.  Audio-wise, this has to be one of the most incredible demonstrations of how audio and music can be used effectively with a 7.1 system.  As mentioned earlier in my review, I have had various versions of the “Fantasia” soundtrack which I have listened to in the past 20-years and until this Blu-ray release, I was literally shocked of how crystal clear and how effective the audio was utilized through the various channels.  Each instrument was given its own prominence on each channel and the results were incredible.

But granted, “Fantasia” is not the usual animated Disney film and also, it’s not a film that is loved by everyone because it’s not a story-based film.  As Walt Disney saw it in 1940 as an event to get people to sit and watching as if they are watching an actual concert, it all comes down to one’s appreciation to classical music and in this case, classic Disney animation.

For the first disc alone, I could see this as an easy must-buy because of the audio upgrade, especially audio commentary tracks and the Schultheis feature but Walt Disney also gives you “Fantasia 2000” and “Destino” in this 4-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray release.

“Fantasia 2000” is a combination of CG-animation with classic hand-drawn animation that Roy E. Disney and company have done a fantastic job in paying tribute to the the original and continuing Walt Disney’s goal of continuing the series.

“Fantasia 2000” still manages to hold up well despite the 2000 CG but I enjoy the animation segments even more because they are story-driven and also sync up quite well to the music.  But when it comes to the music, both animated feature films are awesome in their own way.  The music selection for “Fantasia 2000” was a bolder selection with the inclusion of Gershwin, but for the most part, I am happy that it doesn’t try to copy the original but mostly pays homage by maintaining the soul of “Fantasia” but presented differently with the inclusion of the celebrity introductions, story-based segments and more.

And as I enjoyed both films, the cherry on the cake for me was the inclusion of “Destino”.  As I am a fan of Salvador Dali’s work especially familiar with his work with Luis Bunuel, I did not know how close of a collaboration he had with Walt Disney until I saw the documentary “Dali & Disney: A Date with Destino”.  What a fantastic documentary and just the fact that it’s included in this Blu-ray is fantastic because we are getting three films showing us the experimental, the creative, the avante-garde side of Walt Disney Studios”within the last 60-years.

And just when you think that you are getting the best HD presentation of these films on Blu-ray and getting the best audio presentation of the soundtrack for both “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” films, you also get a lot of special features.

At first, I was looking at the back cover of this release and it appeared that this Blu-ray release of “Fantasia/Fantasia 2000” would have very little special features but in fact, Disney decide to focus more on packing each disc with commentary on the first disc, and the “Destino” and its documentary on the second disc, that they saved all the special features for the BD-Live portion of this release.  And if you have a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray player and it’s connected to the Internet, then you can access the documentaries, story reels and more for both “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000”.  I know those with older Blu-ray profile 1.0 or 1.1 players will be disappointed by this and would have hoped for a third Blu-ray disc with bonus features but the fact that you get four discs in this release (including the DVD versions of both films), I can see why Disney decided to add the special features to BD-Live, especially utilizing the technology more with this release than they have in the past.

Overall, “Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: 4-Disc Special Edition” is a fantastic release and if you are a fan of either “Fantasia” films or a Disney fan at heart, this release is highly recommended!






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