Actually, all of the songs except "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" were new additions to Fantasia. Here's the entire song list (as copied off of my soundtrack):

  1. Beethoven: "Syphony No. 5" (2:51)
  2. Respighi: "Pines of Rome" (10:18)
  3. Gershwin: "Rhapsody in Blue"* (12:32)
  4. Shostakovich: "Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102" (based on the story The Steadfast Tin Soldier) (7:22)
  5. Saint-Saëns: "Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnaval des Animaux), Finale" (1:54)
  6. Dukas: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"* (9:33)
  7. Elgar: "Pomp and Circumstance, Marches #1, 2, 3 & 4" (6:18)
  8. Stravinsky: "Firebird Suite - 1919 Version" (9:11)

      *Performed by the Philmarmonia Orchestra. All others performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conducted by James Levine.

Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: New Year's Day 2000

When Walt Disney created the original Fantasia, his dream was to continually replace segments of the movie with new segments. The whole idea was to expose modern audiences to great orchestral music, and eight pieces just weren't enough. By cycling new segments into the film, even more music could be set to animation and enjoyed by the public.

Alas, such an ambitious proposition was infeasible. It didn't help that Fantasia was not particularly successful at the box office, nor that World War II was going on and would soon draw the United States in. Disney's fantasy fell by the wayside.

It wasn't until fifty years later that the fantasy was revived. Like many of Disney's animated features, Fantasia had been re-released a few times in theaters. But in the 1990's, Walt's nephew, Roy E. Disney, decided it was time for a new Fantasia -- same concept, different segments.

With Roy E. Disney at the helm as producer, the company's animation division set to work selecting new pieces, deciding which old ones to keep, and then animating the new selections. Then, the kicker: they decided to film the movie in large-screen IMAX format, just for fun.

The result is just as wonderful as the original. The animation is bright and vibrant and looks amazing on the big IMAX screen, and the music is well-served by IMAX theaters' sound systems. It's not Fantasound, the revolutionary (but financially inviable) stereophonic system Disney developed for Fantasia, but it still sounds great.

The only segment carried over from the original is the most popular: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Unfortunately, that classic segment does not look good when expanded to IMAX dimensions, and it severely damages that segment's impact to be juxtaposed with the clean, vivid new animation.

The segments this time around are separated by host segments, each featuring a different celebrity (or two). These 'intersitials' are a little cheesy at times, depending on the celebrity, but serve as fairly good transitions. These transitions are necessary so that the viewer is not abruptly taken from the resounding end chords of "Pines of Rome" to the soft clarinet intro of "Rhapsody in Blue."

The segments:

  1. "Symphony No. 5", Ludwig von Beethoven (aka Beethoven's Fifth Symphony)

  2. Steve Martin/Itzhak Perlman intro
  3. "Pines of Rome", Ottorino Respighi

  4. Quincy Jones intro
  5. "Rhapsody in Blue", George Gershwin

  6. Bette Midler intro
  7. "Piano Concerto No. 2", Dmitri Shostakovich

  8. James Earl Jones intro
  9. "Carnival of the Animals", Camille Saint-Saëns

  10. Penn and Teller intro
  11. "L'apprenti Sorcier" ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice"), Paul Dukas

  12. Leopold Stokowski/James Levine/Mickey Mouse/Daisy Duck/Donald Duck intro
  13. "Pomp and Circumstance", Sir Edward Elgar

  14. Angela Lansbury intro
  15. "The Firebird Suite", Igor Stravinsky
Beethoven and Stravinsky also had pieces in the original Fantasia; I also note that all of the compositions (except Shostakovich's, which misses by 17 years) date from before the original movie's release. In that, Disney was remaining true to Walt's original concepts, but to some people, it seemed a snub of modern composers.

The music for the new segments was recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine. He appears in the movie on-screen with Mickey, just as Stokowski did in the original film (in fact, footage of Stokowski thanking and shaking hands with Mickey is included in the new film).

Also notable is Daisy Duck's finest performance ever, playing opposite Donald in the "Pomp and Circumstance"/Noah's Ark segment. Although they have no speaking parts, she and Donald expertly convey the sorrow they feel when the fear they've lost each other, and their reunion remains one of the most moving scenes of animation I've ever seen.

Fantasia 2000 was quite successful (releasing it on 1 January 2000 didn't hurt), and it was later moved to non-IMAX theaters to grab an even larger audience. It's proof that Walt's original ideas were sound, even if over-ambitious. Can we hope to see more Fantasia segments in the near future? It is, perhaps, not likely, but with Disney... you just never know.

Information for the Disney Animated Features series of nodes comes from the IMDb (www.imdb.com), Frank's Disney Page (http://www.fpx.de/fp/Disney/), and the dark recesses of my own memory.

A film that Anime master (and winner of the 2002 Berlinale film festival) Hayao Miyazaki called "Disney's worst animated film: A technical prowess devoid of any feeling."*

I totally agree with Miyazaki on this one. Too many people in America seem to think that the greater the technology used to create the animation, the greator the film is.

The original Fantasia IMO was not only a technical masterpiece but an artistic one to. It was IMOone of the only artistic innovations Disney ever did (most of the others were technical). The film had (for the most part) a real emotional drive behind it. From the brillant abstact opening, to my favorate segment, where the T-Rex kills its prey, to the holy procession at the end, their was something to identify with in the original.

2000 on the other hand, was slick and cold. No real effort went into doing a good job. Most of the segments are forgetable and dumbed down from the quality of its predicessor. Their were only two slightly memorable segments, the Firebird Suite (which many call a rip off of Princess Mononoke) for its vague attempt to be like the original, and Raposody in Blue, for its excellent styling (although the story was distracting, and poorly planned).

After the original Fantasia, I felt like I'd watched an innovative animated film from a master of the art. After Fantasia 2000 I felt like I watched the biggest bunch of nothing, nothing but ultra smooth emotionless things, it was worthless, and a waste of time.

What really galled me about 2000 was the intro that they put on the DVD. It had good ol' nephew Roy. Talking about the Disney commitment to stealing ideas (at least in recient years) from Hayao Miyazaki (or in the case of The Lion King Tezuka). He talked specifically of the first CGI scene in an animated film (not the Black Cauldron, which was were the first CGI was really used, but that is Disney's bastard son) from The Great Mouse Detective. Those who have seen Miyazaki's Castle of Cagliostro will find it oddly familar.

Its okay to pay homage to a great filmmaker once and a while, but Disney has been doing it so much that nothing they have done is really original anymore (look at Atlantis and Mulan (among others) and you can see this point.

In other words if your looking for artistically expanding animation look for Studio Ghibli's works. If your looking for a follow up to Fantasia, try to track down Osamu Tezuka's Legend of the Forest. That film in 26 minutes, was more substantive than the 1:30 I spent watching Fantasia 2000, it truly is a worthy sequel, done in homage to the spirit of the original.

End of long rant, Hope you enjoyed!

*from Julio Gea-Banacloche, a nausicaa Mailing list member, translating a french article found at: http://www.lemonde.fr/article/0,5987,3398--270261-,00.html

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