Fantasia 2000


Directed by: -
Written by: Hans Christian Andersen
Starring: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck
Released: June 8, 2000
Grade: B

The original Fantasia was released back in 1940.  The American Film Institute’s top 100 films of the century listed Fantasia as number 58.  It was a ground-breaking film that used animation as a backdrop to famous concert pieces.  Some 60 years later, the idea has been reprised by Disney with Fantasia 2000.

This version sees seven new pieces combined with one surviving from the original - The Sorcerer's Apprentice featuring Mickey Mouse.  To open is a rather boring piece with a just a bunch of funny colours and shapes which was followed by another slow segment involving whales.

The two highlights were the depression number (played to Gershwin’s Rhapspdy in Blue), and the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier featuring music by Shostakovich.  To end was a bewildering finale about death and rebirth that didn’t do anything for me.

Children aren’t going to be dazzled by this given the recent advances in animated stories.  It is no longer 1940 and today we see creative stories told with sensational animation (e.g. The Lion King, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, and Antz).  From the opening credits to the start of the closing credits, a mere 63 minutes passes by making it by far the shortest film I think I’ll see this year.  That is usually a bonus when taking hyperactive kids to the cinema but I feel many will have had enough after only half-and-hour.

The film has two serious flaws.  Firstly, Hollywood celebrities telling stories of how each piece was created segment all the musical numbers.  Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and Bette Midler ramble on with frivolous details that serve little point.

Secondly, and most importantly, in the United States this film was screened only in 3-D at Imax cinemas.  For Australia, it has been adapted back into 2-D for the smaller screen and this is a tragedy.  You can tell from watching the film that it would make superb viewing in 3 dimensions because of the great mix of foreground and background images.

Enjoy it for the music but don’t expect much more from Fantasia 2000.  Save your money for the more elaborate animated creations coming soon to a cinema near you.