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Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)) - Blu-ray / classic Disney DVD / animation DVD / family and children's DVD review
FANTASIA / FANTASIA 2000 (FOUR-DISC BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO) Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: James Levine, Steve Martin, Leopold Stokowski, Ralph Grierson, Kathleen Battle
Directors: Ben Sharpsteen et al. Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD release: 30 November 2010 Runtime: 200 min. (4 discs)
Format: Animated, Color, Extra tracks, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 1.78:1/1.33:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), New audio commentary with Disney historian Brian Sibley, Disney Family Museum, Disney View, The Shultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure, Interactive art gallery and screensavers, Audio commentaries from Fantasia Legacy Collection (exec. prod. Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, animation historian John Canemaker, and manager of film restoration Scott McQueen), Audio commentary (w/ interviews &asp; story note recreations by Walt Disney, hosted by John Canemaker), Musicana - Walt's Inspiration for a Sequel, Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino, Destino, Disney's Virtual Vault

The Sorceror's Apprentice - Disney's *Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)*In 1940, Walt Disney went beyond his Silly Symphonies and into a more serious musical work. His notion was to expose the world to some wonderful pieces of classical music accompanied with animated visuals to match their majesty.

The result: Fantasia. Walt hoped to present new features periodically with new musical pieces set to animation, bringing musical and animated culture to the masses. Unfortunately, Fantasia didn't do as well as Walt had hoped. A little event called World War II was going on at the time, so European distribution of the film was not of highest priority. Still Fantasia was amazing, if a little long.

I first saw Fantasia when it was rereleased in 1990. I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but what I saw was amazing. Beautiful pieces of animation set to familiar pieces of music. One memorable piece was "Night on Bald Mountain," in which Satan and his cohorts raise a little hell on the equivalent of All Hallows' Eve. This bold and violent piece transitions into "Ave Maria," which is the morning sun to the horrible night of "Bald Mountain." Another memorable segment is the iconographic "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," in which Mickey Mouse uses the sorcerer's magic hat to make a broom do his heavy lifting for him. The magic, of course, turns out to be too much for him to control.

Fantasia features many more musical pieces - just over two hours of them - plus an intermission. The only drawback is that it runs a little long. I'm sure that the fifteen-minute intermission helped break it up in its original viewing, but in 1990, I didn't get that option. Cutting a half-hour out of it wouldn't have hurt. Every piece is wonderful, but the whole taken at one shot is sizable.

Fantasia 2000 had the right idea. Host segments between pieces were light and funny, less dry and stodgy. Hosts include Steve Martin, Penn and Teller, Bette Middler, Quincy Jones and Itzak Perlman. The pieces were just as compelling as those in the first Fantasia, and the accompanying animation was fantastic. "Rhapsody in Blue" was an homage to jazz-era New York City, and the style was all Al Hirschfeld (look him up, you'll recognize his iconic caricatures).

Fantasia 2K succeeds where the original fell short. The more visually vague piece plays toward the beginning of the film (Beethoven's 5th), and the rest of the film has pretty easy-to-follow visual narrative (the whole clocks in at 74 minutes). I'll admit to reluctance to see 2000 because the original ran longer than I wanted it to and failed to hold my attention (sue me, I'm of the MTV generation), but I was pleasantly surprised by Fantasia 2000.

The extra features in this four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo include behind-the-scenes featurettes and commentaries, as well as a little surprise: Destino. Walt Disney joined forces in 1945 with Salvador Dali to put Destino together. It ended up being put on indefinite hiatus but was finally completed in 2003. Along with Destino, a fairly long documentary called "Dali & Disney" parallels the lives of the two artists and their work together - fascinating information for any lover of art.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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