I am torn between two opposing opinions.

On one hand, (my left, to be precise) Yes, tregoweth is 100% and totally justified in his frustration. Just because it's an animated movie, that does not mean it is appropriate for the little kiddies! How can they be expected to enjoy, (or at least sit still) through various classical presentations? I went to see Fantasia 2000 in Imax. But I made the same mistake as tregoweth and went on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to bash some of those parents, for subjecting both me and their children to such cruel and unusual punishment.

On the flip side, however, is the question:
How to cultivate their interest in it, if it is not made somehow appealing? No, I'm not saying that this is going to work for all kids. You may say that they'll learn to like it as they grow older, or perhaps you're one of those people (not you, tregoweth, I'm talking to the arbritrary reader now) who says they do not need to be taught, and musical appreciation is something you either have, or don't have. I don't know, that could be possible.

I was one of the kids who went to see the first Fantasia when it came out. And I liked it. If I said I have been listening to classical music ever since, that would be true, but it would also sound like a sweeping statement I put in for dramatic effect. It would also be a misinterpretation of the facts as they really are: I have been listening to this music since I was born.
My father keeps his radio tuned to WQXR. In the kitchen, in the office, in the bedroom. And in the car. I was always falling asleep, waking up, reading, counting license plates, and making rest stops with the violins and pianos and miles of road.

To say that my interest in classical music was cultivated is debatable. How can it be proven? My siblings also listen to classical music, though none so avidly as I. Perhaps we all have this tendency, because we share the same genes, but they are less diluted in me. Or maybe their interest was cultivated, and only mine is inborn. Perhaps mine was cultivated too. Who can know? But isn't it worth a try?

In conclusion:
Parents know their kids. Some kids will sit pretty much through the whole thing, whether it be the music that keeps them there, (doubtful) or the animation. Some parents don't know the movie, though. This is not a Mickey Mouse cartoon! And if you are not taking any kids with you, do yourself a favor, like tregoweth said, and skip the matinee showing.

Boy, I think I can get off my high horse now! I did not mean to sound like such an pompous ass.

To my complete lack of surprise, I find that I agree with both sides of this question.

On the one hand, yes, it is terribly annoying to see a film that is essentially intended for an adult audience while being inflicted with the noise of a horde of disappointed kids. On the other, I have firsthand evidence that "Fantasia" (and the recent follow-up, "Fantasia 2000") can be seen by children as small as three years old.

How do I know this? I know because my son has been watching the former (on video, granted) since he was three - it is one of his favourite movies - and the latter, ever since it was released on video. He's never had any trouble understanding it, and he's grown quite fond of classical music. In fact, he often refers to pieces as being "from Fantasia".

Now, of course, this doesn't demonstrate that the film can be seen, in a movie theater, by small children. Kids are notoriously incapable of sitting still in a darkened movie theater, and a film like "Fantasia", with so many slow passages, requires a lot of attention from them. Small kids often aren't capable of that attention.

On mature reflection, I'd say: Don't cheat your kids of the joy of watching the "Fantasia" movies. They're just fine for children. But, let them see the movies on the VCR at home - don't take them to see the films at the theater.

And, hey, isn't that "Firebird" sequence in "Fantasia 2000" amazing?

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