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on 8 November 2010
Disney have out-done themselves with this restoration of Fantasia. It would appear that all the original live-action footage and narration have been restored and (other than the removal of the "racist" character from the Pastoral Symphony) Fantasia has finally been returned to how it played back in 1940.
The animation has been cleaned up to a sparkling shine and the 4:3 aspect ratio has been retained (so no awful 16:9 stretching or cropping!). Disney even thought to include a feature that replaces the "pillarbox" black strips with custom borders that reflect each scene of the film, which actually manages to enhance the viewing experience.
The restoration is so good, in fact, that I think Fantasia 2000's visuals actually pale in comparison, though are by no means poor.

As for bonus features, there's a lot on offer if you're a fan of behind-the-scenes documentaries and Disney history (which I personally love) but not so much for those who want deleted segments or anything from the abandoned Fantasia 2006 project (which doesn't seem to even get mentioned). The best bonus is definitely the Salvador Dali collaboration film Destino and its accompanying feature-length documentary "Disney and Dali: A Date with Destino". The short film itself is a moving work of art that I could watch again and again and never tire of; the documentary is a very interesting insight into the lives of Walt Disney and Salvador Dali and how they came to work together. There's also a brief look at "Musicana", an abandoned spiritual successor to Fantasia that was dreamt-up but then abandoned in the 1970s.
(It should be noted that all of the above features appear on the Fantasia 2000 disc so may not be available in the stand-alone Fantasia release - just a word of caution.)

All-in-all, a fantastic restoration of a timeless masterpiece and a must-have for any animation fan.
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2010
I first saw Fantasia during the late 1960s when I saw it on a local flea-pit, now long closed. Being a lover of classical music, I expected to be really disappointed with expectations of poor performances and sound. However, this was not the case, and to this day I have never lost my admiration of this film and believe it to be one of Disney's finest creations.

And now, this Blu-Ray version has come along with high expectations from me, and I was not disappointed. The picture is beautiful to look at, with some scenes, especially in the Beethoven Pastoral scenes, showing fine detail and outstanding colour. This applies right throughout the film, and makes purchasing of Blu-Ray machines all the more worthwhile.

As for the audio, I did have a slight problem with this. My hearing has deterioted over the years, since I am now in my 60s. Luckily, I haven't lost the tone altogether, and using a Yamaha Home Cinema 7:1 amplifier I was able to spread the sound much wider around the room. But, I didnt like the DTS Theatre Mode, seemed too bassy and flat for me, so I switched the sound mode to Movie Spectacle 5:1 and found it sounded much better, with more treble. Of course, everyone's hearing is different, so viewers should find the right sound mode for them.

The same applies to Fantasia 2000. I already had a copy of this on DVD bought a few years back, so I knew what to expect anyway. I particularly enjoyed the Blu-Ray version however, with much sharper detail and fantastic colour. I also used the same sound mode Movie Spectacle 5:1 and it sounded superb.

There are some extras which are worthwhile too, especially the Dali Destino segment which you will find on the Fantasia 2000 disc.

This could be one of THE Blu-Ray releases of the year.
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on 16 March 2011
I ordered this because I enjoyed the original Fantasia on video so much. Its an excellent way of introducing classical music to children. Fantasia has been restored to its original colours, which came as a bit of a shock because I find the colours somewhat garish especially in the Nutcracker Suite. I preferred the more muted & faded colours of the video. However it has lost none of its charm and Dance of the Hours still seems to captivate children as does Mickey Mouse in the Sorceror's Apprentice. In the Bonus Features there is some fascinating archive on how the Special Effects were achieved (as there was no computer animation in those days) and details of the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco. Its in 4:3 format and the sound is still 2 channel stereo. For purists this might be great but for BluRay a re-recording would have made it sound much better.

Fantasia 2000 is a great new addition to the Fantasia 'family' which was intended to be extended on a regular basis. The quality of picture in Widescreen and 7.1 Dolby sound on BluRay is outstanding. It has the traditional Disney characters - this time featuring Donald Duck in the story of Noah's Arc - but also has some great modern cartoon drawings to the music of Rhapsody in Blue and a very touching story of a Toy Soldier to Shostakovic's Piano Concerto No 2 There is also a repeat of MM in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. The Bonus material has unseen footage of a project between Dali and Disney. Some of the introductions are abysmal but will highlight who were the some of the actors of the day, in future years! Use the top-menu button after the first use to skip the annoying previews of other Disney films.

For BluRay this is outstanding value. Highly Recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 March 2011
It's many years since I saw the first film and it has always been a bit of a 'guilty pleasure' - so I'm not sure about Stokowski's "interpretations" of classical greatest hits. And I have always been disappointed by previous versions not matching the experience I remembered from childhood.

But now all those quibbles are swept away by a version that finally does justice to the original vision. It's wonderful that we now have these films in Blu Ray and you can really appreciate the work and artistry that has gone into creating these unique visions to accompany some of the best music ever written.

This package may not suit everybody - but I loved it, as I am not a big fan of loads of extras and just want to see the films in as high a quality as possible and this is it! However, there is one extra that is certainly worth having - the Dali collaboration on "Destino" is not to be missed.

Although the background is sparse, you immediately get thrown into the atmosphere of a Dali painting. As I had never seen this before, I found it be the real highlight of the package - a surprise that it was actually quite "racy" for a Disney film and the sensuality of the early images was matched by the visceral nature of some of the more grotesque figures. This is certainly Art and the soundtrack is beautifully simple - even the crackles on the recording hint at an earlier era and add to the experience.

Talking about the sound - the 2000 film certainly has the most impressive sound - making full use of Dolby surround and the low percussion is truly thunderous! It is a demonstration quality disk for Blu Ray and there is no doubt that the Chicago Orchestra, James Levine, Itzak Perlman etc. are top-notch performers, recorded immaculately. Coupled with stuunning visuals, these pieces are enhanced and have a hugely emotional impact - which some may find manipulative - but no doubting their power.

Most people will know all about the original Fantasia and the sound is nowhere near as impressive and Stokowski is ideosyncratic at best in these performances - but the visuals have been restored to stunning clarity! It's like watching an animated painting - this is the first time I have been truly impressed by the quality of what is essentially a cartoon.

This is a great advert for Blu Ray and what can be achieved - the whole is by no means perfect - but what we have here is so enjoyable that it seems truly ungrateful to complain? The links by famous stars are just silly and the best thing about having this on disk is that you can skip all the little set pieces to camera and just concentrate on the music and the accompanying visuals.

People might say it's for kids or it's just a cartoon - but at times this transcends all those categorisations and is truly glorious in its meeting of two art forms.
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2010
To cut a long review short, I'll open with the tl;dr (too long; didn't read) version. Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 on Blu-ray is a perfect release. The transfers are flawless and the 7.1 DTS HD representation of the classical scores are aural nirvana. The stunning picture and audio bring the old Fantasia soundbite of 'seeing music and hearing pictures' to new levels of immersion. I'll put my neck on the line and describe Fantasia as the finest moment of Disney's Golden Age, an act of startling genius, and similarly claim this to be the most impressive Blu-ray release for any of the House of Mouse's classics yet. Fantasia 2000 makes this edition well worth choosing over the Fantasia solus release, although it is undeniably the lesser of the two films. Your kids might not love the world of Fantasia initially, but that's nothing that a trip to the hospital for a soul transplant can't fix.

Now with that out of the way, let's do this thing.

Packaging:

In truth, the packaging isn't much to write home about. While the very reasonable price has to be taken into consideration, it's just two separate common or garden Blu-ray cases in a box of thin card. No booklet beyond an advertorial pamphlet. It does conform to the stylings of the splipcases from previous Disney classics and has an embossed front, but if you were hoping for a digipack, stop hoping.

Picture quality:

The likes of Dumbo and Pinocchio have been fine on Blu-ray but watching Fantasia is the first time I've been blown away by a Disney classic. The drawings and animation truly do have an ageless quality to them and it's difficult to imagine how they can improve on this. One thing you want from HD is great colour and Fantasia has a lot of colour for Blu-ray to work its wonders on. Naturally, Fantasia 2000 benefits from being little over a decade old but could have suffered because of those scenes that use what is now eleven-year-old CGI. As it happens, while there is a comparative soullessness to some of the CGI sections, it still looks good. The more traditional animation is spectacular and the transfer is again flawless.

Fantasia comes in its original aspect 1.33:1 ratio while 2000 is widescreen. You also get the optional Disney View for Fantasia to fill in the black bars down the sides with still drawings, but that usually just ends up intrusive.

Audio:

Audio is often relegated to a secondary concern for the average consumer, but with Fantasia it's at least as important as the visuals. Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Schubert and Beethoven demand the finest quality and they get it with the 7.1 HD surround sound. Thunderous percussion and lush strings all the way. Of all the releases on Blu-ray, this is a prime example that demands you take your audio set-up seriously.

Extras:

Brian Sibley's audio commentary for Fantasia delivers worthwhile insights into all aspects of the film. You'll never need Wikipedia again! The other major bonus comes on the Fantasia 2000 disc in the form of Destino, the six-minute collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. The audio here is 'only' stereo and the visuals aren't as crisp as the main features, but it's good enough. The remaining extras aren't all that worthwhile beyond another commentary for each film from previous DVD releases, but when you're getting two great films and another short one, that's more than worth the asking price.

The films:

Fantasia remains a genuinely remarkable film, quite unlike anything else from Disney. In places it still matches the finest in avant-garde. A visual concert from start to finish with the only dialogue coming from Deems Taylor's introductions. In Nutcracker Suite two leaves perform a pas de deux, later echoed by a hippo and alligator in Dance of the Hours. It famously flopped on release. Well, of course it did, some things are just too ahead of their time and outrageously imaginative for their own good.

Mickey Mouse has always been the poster boy for the film, and although he isn't star in the way newcomers might expect, his one sequence, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, is perhaps his most iconic short (sorry, Steamboat Willie). It also has some of Mickey's darker moments, but Night on Bald Mountain is Disney at its darkest, with demons and nudity (yeah, well, as a prude, I think nudity is a pretty dark place to go...). Not forgetting The Rite of Spring, which depicts the extinction of the dinosaurs. I'm a little surprised there's not a single word of caution beside the U rating.

Fantasia 2000 is a worthy if understandably inferior follow-up. The introductions by the likes of Steve Martin and Penn & Teller are the worst parts, in fairness. On the plus side, you do get to feel the presence of a James Earl Jones intro. In places, such as the excellent Rhapsody in Blue, it completely does away with conventional Disney style for something altogether more European, but when juxtaposed with the CGI elsewhere, it leaves the film feeling more disjointed. No one segment can be singled out for criticism, though. Firebird Suite would not be out of place in a Studio Ghibli film and Donald Duck makes a crowd-pleasing appearance in Pomp and Circumstance.

Conclusion:

Are you really still reading? I do apologise, just buy it already! There is no Blu-ray collection that this doesn't belong in.
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FANTASIA:

This was the first movie to incorporate beautiful classical music into the movie form with pretty colourful pictures. Nowadays, other people have the same idea, like "A View From Space with Heavenly Music" blu ray disc where classical music was played while spectacular scenes were displayed (e.g., playing of Ride Of The Valkyries during a Space Shuttle launch). So Fantasia was way ahead of its time.

The musical segments in Fantasia included: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, The Nutcracker Suite, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Rite Of Spring, The Pastoral Symphony, Dance Of The Hours, Night On Bald Mountain, and Ave Maria.

VIDOE: It was 1080p 1.33:1 with all-new digitial restoration. For a seventy-year-old film, the result was simply outstanding. Colours were extraordinarily vivid and punchy. (4.5/5)

AUDIO: In my over-sized Fantasia laser disc box set, the sound was only Dolby Surround. Now we have DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. Wow! The sound made you feel that you were in front of an orchestra inside your home theatre. Simply outstanding (5/5)

TRIVIA ABOUT FANTASIA:
In the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence, as Mickey walked toward a stone wall his shadow grew slowly larger. Instead, it should grow smaller. The dancing ostriches in "Dance of the Hours" were portrayed as females, but it was only the male ostrich that was black and white. The females were grey brown. The animators also secretly modeled elements of the Sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" on their boss, Walt Disney. The raised eyebrow was regarded as a dead giveaway. They called the character Yen Sid, which was "Disney" spelled backwards. The orchestra that appeared in the interstitial segments of the film was not the actual The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, but rather a collection of local Hollywood musicians and Disney studio employees. Lastly, when Fantasia, with a budget of $2.38 million, was first released into the theatre, it was considered a financial flop.

BAD POINT: It was really unfortunate that the original version of Fantasia was used, which was the "censored" version, which eliminated a lot of the film's un-p.c. elements.

FANTASIA 2000:

The musical segments included Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, The Pines Of Rome, George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, Carnival Of Animals, Sorcerer's Apprentice and Pomp and Circumstances.

VIDEO: It was 1080p 1.78:1. If Fantasia was amazing, Fantasia 2000 was simply outstanding. It was completely flawless. Colours and details were top-notched. (5/5)

AUDIO: Again the DTS-MA Master Audio 7.1 has great fidelity and presence. Simply outstanding (5/5)

TRIVIA: In "Rhapsody in Blue" in the young man's room. The first shot showed the whole room and pans left showing him in bed with the alarm clock upright. The very next close-up showed the clock to be face down. In "Rhapsody in Blue", a sign inside Monica's cafe read "2 EGGS ANY STYLE 25c". A sign outside the cafe read "2 EGGS 10c".

Did you also know that George Gershwin himself featured in the Rhapsody in Blue segment? He was the slender man seen playing the piano through his apartment window, above Rachel and her piano lessons.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

In summary, this Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 blu ray collection is worth its weight in gold. Thank you to Disney to put the two films in one set with very reasonable price. Both audio and video are top notch. The whole family, young and old, will enjoy these two movies, again and again. I feel that they are also a good attractive way to introduce classical music to young children. Just like you can have Lord Of The Rings trilogy marathon, or Toy Story Night (1, 2 and 3 in a row), a Fantasia evening will be simply FANTASTIC. Both discs are highly recommended.
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on 28 December 2011
I was excited to buy this edition. I was surprised because there was a written one region B key. but after I tried it region free. fantasia film more towards instruments and lots of stories about the secret of making music videos. packaging is very nice edition packaging with the words arise and shine cartons
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on 6 February 2014
I have great memories from this movie, I loved it when I was a child. the first film was brilliantly restored, but had the old censorship on the Pastoral Symphony on it (come on, Disney, a simple note before the begining of the movie would solve the problem). Fantasia 2000 comes inside its own case, what is great. Extras are fine, including Destino, and a documentary about its creation, but WHY the Fantasia Anthology extras had to be on BD-live?? the discs would have space for it. That's all, the product is 4 stars for me because of the censorship and the extras from Fantasia Anthology on BD-live, the rest is great.
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on 14 December 2010
I've always prefered Fantasia 2000 over the 1940 classic, and on Blu-ray my opinion haven't changed.
Both movies look fantastic on 1080p and the DTS-MA 7.1 tracks are incredibly immersive, but the edge goes to the 2000 presentation.
The extras aren't extensive like the Diamond Edition releases, but offer quality over quantity, and there are about 304 minutes of aditional content via BD-LIve in the Disney Virtul Vault option.
Several languages and subtitle options are available, like english, spanish, portuguese and dutch.
A very recommended purchase for animation fans.
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on 25 October 2014
FANTASIA / FANTASIA 2000 [1940/1999] [2 Movie Collection] [Blu-ray] FANTASIA is Timeless! FANTASIA Represents Our Most Exciting Adventure! FANTASIA 2000 is Fantastic and It’s Better Than Ever!

FANTASIA: Walt Disney's timeless masterpiece is an extravaganza of sight and sound and now brilliantly presented in high definition with an all new digital restoration. With Blu-ray technology makes it possible for you to finally experience ‘FANTASIA’ the way Walt Disney envisioned! Plus, an exploration of the new Disney Family Museum and dynamic bonus features allow generations of moviegoers to enjoy this musical masterpiece like never before. No family's Disney Blu-ray collection is complete without ‘FANTASIA.’ See the music come to life, hear the pictures burst into song and experience the excitement that is ‘FANTASIA’ over and over again through the magic of Blu-ray. Narrated by Deems Taylor.

FANTASIA 2000: Experience an extravaganza of sight and sound in ‘FANTASIA 2000,’ the triumphant classic inspired by Walt Disney's vision of ‘Fantasia’ as a work-in-progress, now brilliantly presented in high definition. Plus, for the first time ever on Blu-ray, experience the 2003 Academy Award® nominated animated short ‘Destino’ and the extraordinary collaboration between Walt Disney and legendary artist Salvador Dali! Through the magic of Blu-ray, fully immerse yourself in the wonders of this innovative blend of music and animated imagery. See the music come to life, hear the pictures burst into song and share the excitement that is ‘FANTASIA 2000,’ with your family again and again.

FILM FACT: Walt Disney on the widescreen release of ‘FANTASIA’ in 1956: "I wanted a special show just like Cinerama plays today ... I had ‘FANTASIA’ set for a wide screen. I had dimensional sound ... To get that wide screen I had the projector running sideways ... I had the double frame. But I didn't get to building my cameras or my projectors because the money problem came in ... The compromise was that it finally went out standard with dimensional sound. I think if I'd had the money and I could have gone ahead I'd have a really sensational show at that time." ‘FANTASIA’ is timeless. It may run 10, 20 or 30 years. It may run after I'm gone. Fantasia is an idea in itself. I can never build another ‘FANTASIA.’ I can improve. I can elaborate. That's all.

Cast [FANTASIA]: Corey Burton (uncredited), Deems Taylor (Narrative Introductions), James MacDonald (uncredited), Julietta Novis (uncredited), Paul J. Smith (uncredited) and Walt Disney (uncredited)

Directors [FANTASIA]: Ben Sharpsteen, Bill Roberts, Ford Beebe Jr., Hamilton Luske, James Algar, Jim Handley, Norman Ferguson, Paul Satterfield, Samuel Armstrong, T. Hee and Wilfred Jackson

Producers [FANTASIA]: Walt Disney and Ben Sharpsteen (uncredited)

Screenplay [FANTASIA]: Albert Heath, Arthur Heinemann, Bianca Majolie, Campbell Grant, Carl Fallberg, Dick Huemer, Elmer Plummer, Erdman Penner, Graham Heid, Joe Grant, John McLeish, Joseph Sabo, Lee Blair, Leo Thiele, Norman Wright, Otto Englander, Perce Pearce, Phil Dike, Robert Sterner, Sylvia Moberly-Holland, Vernon Stallings, Webb Smith and William Martin

Cinematography [FANTASIA]: James Wong Howe (live-action) (uncredited)

Conductor [FANTASIA]: Leopold Stokowski and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Cast [FANTASIA 2000]: Angela Lansbury (Host), Benee Leavy (Violinist), Bette Midler (Host), Deborah Vukovitz (Violinist), Deems Taylor (Host) (archive footage), Eric Goldberg (Animator), Gaëtan Brizzi (Animator) (uncredited), Hendel Butoy (Animator) (uncredited), Itzhak Perlman (Host), James Earl Jones (Host), James Levine (Host), Kathleen Battle (singing voice), Leopold Stokowski (Conductor) (archive footage), Paul Brizzi (Animator) (uncredited), Penn Jillette (Host), Quincy Jones (Host), Ralph Grierson (Pianist), Russi Taylor (Daisy Duck) (voice), Steve Martin (Introductory Host), Teller (Host), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck) (voice), Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse) (voice) and Yefim Bronfman (Pianist) (uncredited)

Directors [FANTASIA 2000]: Don Hahn, Eric Goldberg, Francis Glebas, Gaëtan Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, James Algar, Paul Brizzi and Pixote Hunt

Producers [FANTASIA 2000]: David Lovegren, Donald W. Ernst, Lisa C. Cook, Patricia Hicks and Roy Edward Disney

Screenplay [FANTASIA 2000]: Carl Fallberg, David Reynolds, Don Hahn, Elena Driskill, Eric Goldberg, Gaëtan Brizzi, Hans Christian Andersen (story), Irene Mecchi, Joe Grant, Paul Brizzi and Perce Pearce

Cinematography [FANTASIA 2000]: Tim Suhrstedt

Conductor [FANTASIA 2000]: James Levine and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 and 1.78:1

Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 DTS-HD, Dutch: 5.1 DTS-HD, Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Belgian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Hebrew: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish and Hebrew

Running Time: 124 minutes and 74 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Filmed with a 60 years gap 'FANTASIA' and 'FANTASIA 2000' has completely different looks, but each one appears magnificent in these 1080p restorations. Walt Disney's loving care for its classics is evident here. These faithful presentations leave us with an image that is, by far, the best they've ever looked. Though today it is recognized worldwide as a brand, the Disney name once belonged to a visionary. Walt Disney was a man who pushed the limits of what art could do. Anyone who thinks otherwise should look no further than 1940's ‘FANTASIA.’ A project near and dear to his heart, ‘FANTASIA’ combined two of Walt Disney's passions: art and music. While his expertise lied in visual mediums and he was no musician, Walt Disney still possessed a keen sense of what an aural experience could provide.

A marriage of classical notes and images, ‘FANTASIA’ took feature animation to places it had never before been. As you know, Fantasia is not a traditional animated film. Titled "The Concert Feature" at one point, this experience has no central protagonist or antagonist, no overarching plot, and not even any dialogue save for linking segments. Instead, it takes various pieces of classical music and marries them to animation to create a unique form of entertainment. The compositions included in the program are as follows: Johann Sebastian Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" using abstract imagery, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" with the theme of seasonal changes, Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" starring Mickey Mouse as an apprentice whose magic spins out of control, Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" set to the evolution of the world, Ludwig van Beethoven's "The Pastoral Symphony" using Mount Olympus characters of Greek myths, Amilcare Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" as performed by different animals to demonstrate the times of day, Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" with the theme of evil and supernatural creatures, and finally Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" in which a forest is transformed into a natural chapel. Each of these pieces is conducted by the legendary Leopold Stokowski and hosted by noted music critic and historian Deems Taylor.

The conjunction of classical music and animation is brilliant. Every nuance in the orchestration can be fully visualised in a manner that would be too confining in live-action. Animation allows for a fantastical and surreal approach where the sky is the limit. It helps that the film never limits itself to one single style. Here we get everything from realism ("The Rite of Spring") and impressionism ("Toccata and Fugue") to horror ("Night on Bald Mountain") and farce ("Dance of the Hours"). There's really something for everyone to connect with. Not every segment works as well as others. "The Rite of Spring" is an endurance test, to say the least and other sequences like "Toccata and Fugue" and "The Nutcracker" have their share of lulls. Personally, I appreciate this film much more as an adult than I did as a child, but there are moments where the program drags and almost becomes self-indulgent. One thing is certain, however: even when it's not exactly stimulating, Fantasia is still a work of art.

The two standout sequences for me perhaps speak volumes about my own tastes as they're the most whimsical pieces in the film: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Dance of the Hours." Some film snobs may say that these are the two most popular sequences because they're the most childish and the least artsy. That's rubbish. "Dance of the Hours" may enthral smaller children more than, say, "Ave Maria," but adults can clearly see that this is about more than dancing hippos. It's a spoof of pretentious ballets that purport to be more than what they truly are. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" may not seem as biting, but it's a triumph in staging and design. There's a reason Sorcerer Mickey has become a corporate symbol; his exploits are the most creative and inspiring the character has ever experienced and are likely to remain so.

As is often the case for art works considered ahead of their time, Walt Disney's dream project unfortunately failed to win over audiences. World War II didn't help, cutting off international markets at this time. While it was undoubtedly a major blow for him, Walt's concept of fusing music and image didn't fade away. It was brought back in the simpler, more modern approaches of Make Mine Music and Melody Time. Fantasia continuations were considered throughout the years as the project was always intended to be an ever-changing attraction. Those intentions finally came to fruition at the turn of the century (millennium) with ‘FANTASIA 2000.’

Headed by Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney, ‘FANTASIA 2000’ sought to provide a new experience that emphasized varying musical and animation styles more directly. It more or less follows the same pattern started by the original, but this time with different celebrity hosts introducing each segment rather than one unifying commentator. Among these are comedian Steve Martin, conductor Itzhak Perlman, composer Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, magicians Penn and Teller, conductor James Levine, and Angela Lansbury.

There are eight segments in total, though one of them is "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," is recycled from the original. The new segments include Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" using abstract butterflies, Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome" with flying whales in the Arctic, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" about intertwining New York city residents in the style of Al Hirschfeld, Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" set to Dmitri Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102", Camille Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals, Finale" using an oddball flamingo and his yo-yo, Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance, Marches No.1, 2, 3 and 4" starring Donald Duck as an assistant on Noah's Ark, and Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite - 1919 Version" set against the death and rebirth of a forest.

Many critics of ‘FANTASIA 2000’ find it's not weighty enough to sit alongside the original ‘FANTASIA.’ Condemning this instalment as a poor man's concert feature is very unfair, as I think ‘FANTASIA 2000’ is a brilliant companion. The two films have different goals. The 1940 one is more experimental in nature. It staunchly sticks to the idea of making the music and images one inseparable experience. ‘FANTASIA 2000,’ on the other hand, is a little looser is its conjunction of aural and visual delights. It is also more concerned with entertaining its audience. One major thing in the newer film's favour is how vastly different its musical choices are. While the visual presentations of the original are distinct from one another, the classical compositions chosen don't seem terribly unique from one another to those who aren't versed in the musical arts. ‘FANTASIA 2000' choices are easier to distinguish and that gives each piece more of an identity.

Technology, of course, changed in the sixty-year gap between the movies and the animation reflects that. We see computer animation in "Symphony No. 5", hand-drawn animation in "Pomp and Circumstance", and everything in between with pieces like "Piano Concerto No. 2." Even the techniques within these differ. "Rhapsody in Blue" is traditionally animated but digitally painted whereas "Carnival of the Animals" is done with watercolours. The entire film gives a nice sampling of different styles and mediums to achieve the intended effect.

The two standout sequences from the newer film, "Piano Concerto No. 2" and "Rhapsody in Blue" both tell involving stories without betraying the purpose of the project. The Walt Disney Organisation always prided itself in the way they tell their tales and their interpretation of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" feels distinctly them, a classic tale told in a timeless manner. "Rhapsody in Blue" predates films like Crash and Babel in how we see several independent storylines weaving in and out of each other. We feel for the characters of the piece and relate to how melancholic and humdrum their lives are, making the resolution of each arc all the more satisfying.

Excepting some restoration work done on the print to clean it up, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" remains identical in every way to its original incarnation. The filmmakers did not re-score the segment with a newly-recorded version of Paul Dukas' "L'apprenti Sorcier". We still hear the original, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. For the other seven episodes, James Levine conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

No matter what you prefer, however, there's something for everyone in these two complementary animation films. One sets out to accomplish a lengthy, serious experiment while the other aims to please in a brisk, light-hearted manner. It's almost worth watching them back to back to get one well-rounded experience. Their mesmerising artwork and spirited orchestrations inspire and motivate the senses in a way only Walt Disney can achieve.

Blu-ray Video Quality – With black vertical pillar boxing either side of the image, the Blu-ray preserves of ‘FANTASIA’ is kept in its original Academy Aspect Ratio of about 1.33:1. Disney has yet to drop the ball when it comes to their animated canon on Blu-ray, and this film is yet another amazing restoration effort. Narrow aspect ratio aside, Fantasia just by its very nature demands to be a demonstration disc. There's a wildly varied palette of colours on display, and they all pop off the screen on a regular basis. The image is immaculate in its cleanliness and sharpness, allowing the viewer to see background textures and even cell shadows. The live action bits also impress; somehow they're scrubbed as clean as the animation without a waxy loss of detail. Other than some very minor colour banding in some of the orchestration spotlights, this restoration is perfect. Being transferred directly from the digital source, there's no excuse for ‘FANTASIA 2000’ to look anything less than flawless. Thankfully, it meets those expectations in the 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio. That ratio is a happy medium, presenting more visual information than either of its theatrical exhibitions but not quite the full open matte image. Both the live-action and animated segments are razor-sharp and burst with vivid colours. Some of the hues used in this film are even brighter than the original's, but there's never any noise or other digital defects. Once again, the hand-crafted work can be appreciated in full as we see everything from painterly brushstrokes to finely tuned outlines. This is a top-notch transfer.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘FANTASIA’ has been given a new 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that's shocking in its clarity. Music is obviously the driving force of this feature, and it comes as a relief to hear so many different layers and elements to the orchestrations. Walt Disney originally released the film in what was called stereophonic sound, a precursor to modern day surround sound. That original mix is no longer in existence, but this new one does an excellent job of carrying on that idea, filling the entire field with wall-to-wall sound. The orchestrations are separated as they would be in a live orchestra, and the richness and clarity of the audio almost makes it sound as it's been re-recorded, which was curiously done back in 1982 by Irwin Kostal. This is not only the best the film has ever sounded, but it's the best track for any Golden Era film on the format. The ‘FATASIA 2000' 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is likewise stunning, though it's also less surprising given its age. Because the live-action bits often move the speaker around the screen via stylish windows, the audio follows them around to create a directional experience. The music is the important aspect, however, and that's been replicated beautifully. Every instrument comes in crystal clear and has a definite live feeling. It's not overblown or painfully loud, but natural and inviting. It's reference quality to be sure. Similar thoughts can be attributed to the included inferior DVD versions of both features. The pictures, of course, do not reveal some of the finer details that the HD 1080p counterparts do, but they're strong for the format. Gone are the speckles and hairs found on Fantasia's previous DVD, as are the compression artefacts from Fantasia 2000's original release. Audio for the latter is pretty similar, though the audio for the original is a leap in quality from the 60th Anniversary disc. It's comforting to know that even though they tout Blu-ray front and centre, Disney hasn't neglected their DVD transfers in the way other studios have.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: The Special Features for this set are spread across the two discs. Some may notice that the making of features didn't find their way onto these discs. While that's annoying, they are available on the BD-Live feature included on the 'FANTASIA 2000' disc. You can watch both making of documentaries if you go there, but people with slow or no internet connections for their Blu-ray players will find this to be more of a nuisance. There's also no telling how long those features will actually be available. At least if they were on the disc you'd know they're staying around and that you own them. Sadly, going online is the only way you can revisit these features with this set.

Special Feature: ‘FANTASIA’ DisneyView Presentation [1080p] Viewers can watch ‘FANTASIA’ in its original aspect ratio 1.33:1 presentation or with optional DisneyView, a feature that fills the black bars on either side of the image with custom paintings by visual-effects artists and designer Harrison Ellenshaw.

Special Feature: FANTASIA: Disney Family Museum [1080p] [4:00] Walt Disney's daughter, Diane Disney Miller, offers us a brief glimpse of the Disney Family Museum that's located in San Francisco. They talk about how the museum was set up and what you can find there if you plan on going.

FANTASIA Audio Commentaries: There are three amazing and informative audio commentaries for 'FANTASIA.'

FANTASIA Audio Commentary: With this first particular audio commentary, we have Walt Disney historian Brian Sibley gives an informative, but seemingly scripted, commentary. Sibley goes in-depth on how Walt Disney came up with the idea of 'FANTASIA' and how he was going to create an animation film where people would be able to see sound. This is a commentary for all of those that want to know the ideas and thought that Walt put into 'FANTASIA.' For people interested in Disney history, Sibley's smooth commentary is a must listen.

FANTASIA Audio Commentary: With this second audio commentary is an amalgamation of sorts. Roy Disney offers an introduction. Animation historian John Canemaker hosts it. We also hear from Walt Disney himself as he gives notes and ideas about the different segments. Listening to Walt talk, he's so matter-of-fact about the animation, and makes it sounds so easy to create a movie as complex as this. As with the Brian Sibley commentary, fans of Walt Disney history will definitely want to listen to this. The recordings of Walt Disney that you hear played are wonderfully clear and intelligible.

FANTASIA Audio Commentary: With this third audio commentary is from the original DVD commentary and is a crowded affair with Roy E. Disney being joined by conductor James Levine, John Canemaker, and film restoration manager Scott MacQueen. Roy Disney gives introductions for all of the participants of the commentary and gives their connections to Walt Disney and why they were needed for the commentary. John Canemaker is a wonderful addition because he's able to delve into the animation and the techniques that were used. Levine does a spot on job about describing and talking about the music that was used in the animation film. Perhaps the most interesting bit of the commentary comes from Scott MacQueen who talks about the restoration process. Interesting titbits: where they had to re-dub much of the introduction scenes with Deems Taylor because the original recordings of his dialogue weren't kept. They had the original script so they had to hire a voice actor to go over the lines again. There is a wealth of information buried in this commentary. Yes, you'll have to listen to this one too.

FANTASIA: Interactive Art Gallery [1080p] Take your time here and scroll through all the stills from the animation film as the music plays. This interactive art gallery allows you to explore animation and art work from 'FANTASIA' and 'FANTASIA' 2000.'

FANTASIA: The Schultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure [1080p] [14:00] This special feature is one of the most interesting on this Disney ‘Fantasia’ disc, I wish it were longer. It talks about a notebook found by the people at Disney that belonged to Herman Schuletheis, one of the animators that worked on the film. Herman Schuletheis' book describes, in detail the great lengths they had to go to and the rigs they had to invent to get the shots that they wanted. Think ' FANTASIA ' was just drawn on paper? Think again. This is a wonderful look at the intricate, inner-workings of what made ' FANTASIA' actually work as an animated feature.

FANTASIA 2000: Dalí and Disney: A Date with 'Destino' [2010] [1080p] [82:00] This is an insightful documentary about the collaboration of Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí on the film 'Destino.' Roy Disney talks about how odd it was that these two guys wanted to get together to make something. "Walt with his fairies… Dalí with his nightmares." This is a thorough look for anyone who has wanted to see the special film 'Destino.' Contributors to this special feature are Dawn Ades, Montse Aguer, Michael Barrier, Baker Bloodworth, David Bossert, John Canemaker, John Culhane, Salvador Dalí (archive footage), Roy Edward Disney (archive footage), Walt Disney (archive footage), Neal Gabler, John Hench (archive footage), Bob Hope (archive footage), Leonard Maltin, Paula Sigman, Dave Smith, Lella Smith and Julie Taymor. Directed by Ted Nicolaou. Produced by Barbara Toennies. Screenplay by Ted Nicolaou.

FANTASIA 2000: 'Destino' [2003] [1080p] [6:00] To a song of love lost and rediscovered, a woman sees and undergoes surreal transformations. Her lover's face melts off, she dons a dress from the shadow of a bell and becomes a dandelion, and ants crawl out of a hand and become Frenchmen riding bicycles. Not to mention the turtles with faces on their backs that collides to form a ballerina, or the bizarre baseball game. From the melting clocks and hourglass sand, to the figure rendered in strips, to the character covered in eyeballs, the style and themes of Salvador Dalí are clearly recognisable throughout. See the entire collaboration of Walt Disney and Salvador Dali in their short film 'Destino.' You just need to watch it to experience it and be totally amazed. Cast: Jennifer Esposito (Rebecca Drummond) (voice) and Dora Luz (Singing voice). Directed by Dominique Monfery. Produced by Baker Bloodworth, Baker Bloodworth and Roy Edward Disney. Screenplay by John Hench and Salvador Dalí. Music by Joel McNeely.

Musicana [1080p] [9:00] Here we have a look at the long development of a potential ‘FANTASIA’ sequel that never came to fruition in ‘Musicana.’ The idea that Walt Disney wanted ‘FANTASIA’ to be an ongoing feature that kept changing with different segments, but after a lacklustre box office that dream couldn't become a reality. 'Musicana' was the idea to make a continuation of ‘FANTASIA’ which was Walt Disney's vision.

FANTASIA 2000: Disney's Virtual Vault [480i] [304 minutes] This is where you can go to access the “making of features” from the previously released inferior DVD editions of ‘FANTASIA’ and ‘FANTASIA’ 2000.’ Just be ready to wait for video buffering and all that annoying stuff that comes along with internet special features. All of it can be found and viewed via this handy BD-Live portal, primed for fans and aimed at completest. In it, you'll find five hours of documentaries, featurettes and other making-of materials that are well worth pursuing.

Finally, ‘FANTASIA’ and ‘FANTASIA 2000’ may not seem like everyone's cup of tea at first, but both provide enough variety to ensure that you walk away having latched onto something. Each feature offers a different side to the same coin and are somehow stronger together than apart, each one making up for the other's shortcomings. Those with an affinity for animation and/or classical music will certainly find a wealth of art here. Despite the current popular notion of the Walt Disney brand name, the studio is capable of providing sophisticated and ground-breaking entertainment. One needs look no further than these two features to realise that. The Blu-ray discs present the films with outstanding picture and sound. The new supplements are well-made, but the value lies in the “Virtual Vault” contents. Had those features been easily accessible, this would be a near perfect release. Although the overall quality of Fantasia 2000 is considerably more variable than that of Fantasia, certain aspects of the experience are the same - namely, the ability to sit in a theatre and listen to great music while being presented with a choreographed visual accompaniment. In between the segments, we are forced to endure distracting introductions, given by Steve Martin, Penn & Teller, James Earl Jones, and others, that are intended to be light, amusing, and occasionally informative. The best thing about most of them, however, is that they are short. Now only time will tell whether a “FANTASIA” series will be developed in the pattern of Walt Disney's initial vision, or whether these two films will stand as lone representatives of a unique motion picture sub-genre. While the Original ‘FANTASIA’ has fantastic animation quality, ‘FANTASIA 2000’ has just that little bit better flow with more energetic sequences, a much more bearable running time and of course the very funny celebrity narrations. Also, I just like the individual segments of ‘FANTASIA 2000’ better. Both movies have contrasting styles, but ‘FANTASIA 2000’ is just clearly slightly superior in every way and as double-feature releases go, this one excels and fans of ‘FANTASIA’ amination film genre and especially its sequel ‘FANTASIA 2000’ will certainly get their money's worth. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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