Sunday, January 4, 2015

Family Movie Night: Fantasia

Title: Fantasia
Directors: Samuel Armstrong, James Algar, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, David D. Hand, Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, Ford Beebe, T. Hee, Norman Ferguson and Wilfred Jackson
Original Release: 1940
Choice: Purple Penguin's
My Overall Rating: 5 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
I fell in love with Fantasia in 1990, its 50th anniversary year.   Disney released a restored version to theaters that year so I got to see it in full glory on the big screen.  A cinematic masterpiece, Fantasia was one of the studio's most ambitious projects: seven animated shorts set to the symphonic music which had inspired them.  Apart from its own sequel, Fantasia 2000, no feature film has ever embraced music so explicitly or effectively.


Our daughter loves the movie, too.  I own a VHS copy and when she was younger, I wrote down the times for each segment so that I could more easily rewind and fast forward to her favorite segments.  It had been quite a long time since we'd watched it, longer still since we'd watched it beginning to end.

I don't know if I have a favorite piece in the movie.  Instead, I'm fond of particular images within the different shorts.  I love the sorcerer parting the waters as he's coming down the stairs in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the dancers snapping back to flowers at the end of "Russian Dance" and the devil folding his wings back over himself at the end of Night on Bald Mountain.

Mostly, I love the idea of film as vessel for music as opposed to using the score for mere atmospheric effect.  Fantasia is an engaging celebration of Western art music and is as worthy an introduction to the medium as any to be created in the past 75 years.  I'd love to see a new Fantasia someday, particularly one devoted to jazz. 

30 comments:

  1. I haven't seen Fantasia in ages. Always loved it, though. A jazz-themed Fantasia would be great!

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  2. I've always enjoyed the idea of Fantasia much more than the actual movie.
    However, my oldest son was pretty into it when he was around 5 or so, and we watched it a lot. It grew on me a bit at the time, though I still like the idea much more.

    2000 was disappointing for Disney, and I doubt they will ever try to update it again. Unless they decide to use pop music.

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    1. Commercially disappointing, yes. I still loved the movie - well worth it for "Firebird" alone. There was an effort to put together a Fantasia 2006 but it didn't pan out, apart from a few individual segments that were released separately.

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  3. I'm actually quite fond of both Fantasias. I'd like to see another Fantasia down the line. Not so sure about an all jazz one (not my favorite genre). But it would be cool to have something that connected all the segments.

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    1. Jazz is big at our house. I think a Jazz Fantasia could do for that medium what the original has done for symphonic music: make it more accessible to a broader audience. There are plenty of pieces out there - "Take Five," "Blue Train," "Take the A Train" - that would be highly digestible for the mainstream if presented through animated film.

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  4. I fell in love with Fantasia at the same time you began your love affair. My children used to request it.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. It's a wonderful movie to share with kids.

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  5. It would be nice to continue the Fantasia series.

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    1. Someday, I'm sure they will - could take another 60 years, though.

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  6. I've never been a fan of fantasia, I don't know why, it just never really did anything for me.

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  7. I've never watched the entire video but perhaps I should.

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    1. Yes, you should! Then let me know what you think.

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  8. Thanks for the intro...will hunt it down to watch.

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  9. I've seen some Disney movies, but not this one. I'd like to see it.

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    1. If you do watch it, Medeia, please let me know what you think.

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  10. This is one of the Disney movies I haven't seen. After reading this post though- it sounds like one I should see. It sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  11. This movie is wonderful and I haven't seen it in years, but "Russian Dance" is very memorable.

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  12. It's been many years since I last watched Fantasia. I have a copy on VHS which is probably why I haven't watched it in so long. I doubt whether I'll ever update with a DVD copy. It's a great vehicle to introduce great music to those who might not otherwise pursue listening to it and the animation is pretty cool, but these days I'd rather just listen to the music.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I prefer just listening, too, but it's still fun to revisit these vignettes. They're like old friends now.

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  13. I don't think I've ever seen it! I do so love Disney movies, though - so I really should watch this!

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  14. I love both versions, but only have the classic one at home.

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    1. I own both on VHS. I should probably upgrade. Then again, both are on Netflix streaming...

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