Fantasia 2000 (1999)

fantasia 2000 poster 1999 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Rhapsody in Blue, Firebird Suite

Pines of Rome

Movie Info

Movie Name: Fantasia 2000

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios

Genre(s): Family/Musical/Animated

Release Date(s):  December 17, 1999 (Premiere)/January 1, 2000 (US)

MPAA Rating: G

fantasia 2000 james levine mickey mouse

A new beginning

Disney brings more music to the screen with help from conductor James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  To aid in introducing these clips, Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Penn & Teller, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, and Angela Lansbury lend their talent and once again the magic of music is brought to animated life!

Directed by James Algar, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Don Hahn, and Pixote Hunt, Fantasia 2000 is an animated anthology movie.  Following Disney’s Tarzan in 1999, the film was the thirty-eighth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series.  The movie was released on IMAX.

Fantasia 2000 was what Fantasia was meant to be.  Walt Disney saw Fantasia as a program what would frequently morph and change by mixing old segments would be with new musical numbers.  It only took sixty years to happen and the result is a mixed bag.

The music program includes:

fantasia 2000 symphony no 5 ludwig van beethoven

“Symphony No. 5”

Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven.  The sequence begins like the original Fantasia with an abstract presentation.  The transition from real to cartoon is handled well but the symphony world isn’t as surreal as the original film.

fantasia 2000 pines of rome whales

“Pines of Rome”

Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi.  This entry has a family of humpback whales separated as they travel and eventually taking flight.  This is probably the weakest of the segments, and it is unfortunate that it comes so soon in the movie.  If it had fallen later in the film, it maybe wouldn’t be as bad, but the “story” isn’t very compelling and the imagery is quite weak.

fantasia 2000 rhapsody in blue george gershwin al hirschfield

“Rhapsody in Blue”

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.  The short is probably the best segment in the movie and one of Disney’s better animated stories in years.  The music goes great with New York setting, and the Al Hirschfeld inspired style of art goes great with the Depression era story.

fantasia 2000 piano concerto no 2 allegro opus 102 steadfast tin soldier

“Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102”

Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 by Dmitri Schostakovich.  The story is an adaptation of the 1838 Hans Christian Anderson short story “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”.  It takes a more CGI approach and does tell a more streamlined story (with a happy ending).

fantasia 2000 the carnival of animals finale flamingos yo yo

“The Carnival of Animals, Finale”

The Carnival of Animals, Finale by Camille Saint-Saëns.  The entry is short has a group of flamingos arguing over a yo-yo.  It feels aligned with the dance of the ballerinas in the original Fantasia and is light and fun.

fantasia 2000 the sorceress apprentice mickey mouse

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas.  The cartoon is the only holdover from the original 1940 Fantasia and has the classic story of Mickey Mouse causing problems when he decides to use his master’s hat to animate brooms to do his work.  This fits in with Walt Disney’s original plan for the Fantasia cartoon and allows the film to demonstrate how movie could have worked (it also is in a different screen proportion as a result).

fantasia 2000 pomp and circumstance 1 2 3 4 donald duck daisy noahs ark

“Pomp and Circumstance—March 1, 2, 3, and 4”

Pomp and Circumstance—Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Edward Elgar.  Usually used for graduations, this cartoon has Donald Duck trying to be reunited with Daisy Duck as Noah’s Ark saves thousands of animals from a flood…there is some fun with the idea of Donald and Daisy also being ducks (and the rabbits joke is also fun).

fantasia 2000 firebird suite 1919 wood fairy

“Firebird Suite—1919 Version”

Firebird Suite—1919 Version by Igor Stravinsky.  The final entry has a forest spirit awakening a phoenix that destroys her forest.  The spirit is reborn, and the mountain comes alive.  This segment feels like it borrows a lot from Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke in both visuals and style of art.  It does a great job of ending the movie strong.

Fantasia 2000 seems a little more unbalanced than the original Fantasia and the particularly weak “Pines of Rome” section kicking off the “story” animations doesn’t help.  The movie also feels like it will date a lot easier with the celebrity guest stars that don’t bog down the first movie.  Fantasia provides an opportunity in its shorter formats and allows Disney to experiment with style and animation.  It would be nice to see Fantasia continue as an evolution, but I hope they don’t wait until 2060 to do it again.  Disney followed Fantasia 2000 with Dinosaur in May of 2000.

Related Links:

Fantasia (1940)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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