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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disney's classic take on classical music, 17 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Fantasia [DVD] [1941] (DVD)
Fantasia is a film that has stood the test of time thanks to its originality and the magic that is Disney. Unlike most movies, this one has no story to follow. Instead what we have is vignettes of Disney animation set to some of the best classical music to be found, played by the Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by the renowned Leopold Stokowski).
The film begins with Bach's Toccata and Fugue being played to a backdrop of kaleidoscopic images. There are no real forms to see, just random moving images that fit the music perfectly. The second segment uses more 'classical' animation, and shows fairies, fish, and flowers, and so on through the changing seasons. This section has Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite as its theme. Particularly good is the 'Chinese Dance' featuring dancing toadstools.
Segment three is the best known by far, Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice which is set to Paul Duka's music of the same name. Here we see the famous cartoon of Mickey trying to use magic on brooms in order to lighten his work load only for it all to go disastrously wrong as the brooms run out of control. From here, the film moves on to 'Rites of Spring', by Stravinsky, and this animation shows evolution, from the beginning of the universe through to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
There is then a short 'respite' in the form of 'The soundtrack', a thin beam of light that changes pattern as the music alters of the instrument playing changes. Soon the movie is back in full flow with Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony set to idyllic country images, complete with cherubs, unicorns and centaurs. This section includes a dramatic scene of a thunderstorm complete with the god Vulcan hurling his lightening bolts.
Segment six has the wonderful ostrich and hippo ballets, who wouldn't laugh at the sight of an alligator trying to run off with the hippo he has 'fallen' for. All of this is played out to Ponchielli's 'Dance of the Hours'. Finally we end up with the dramatic 'Night on a Bald Mountain' (Mussorgsky) which depicts evil being celebrated during the witches Sabbath. This section is actually divided into two and in the second half we hear the beautiful, haunting Ave Maria (Schubert) and see pilgrims crossing a bridge into a picturesque meadow. The image is one of good triumphing over evil.
This is a truly magical film, matched only by Fantasia 2000, and one that should be in any film/music lovers' collection.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Nov 2009 08:50:45 GMT
I just hope they reinstate the original Deems Taylor narration and include the full unedited so called "racist" pastoral segment on the new Diamond edition coming out in 2010. Im not holding my breath though.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Nov 2013 21:57:55 GMT
Alan says:
Good thing you didn't hold your breath!

The so called racist Pastoral segment wasn't included.
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Location: Ingleby Barwick. U.K.

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