Pure History. A must-have.
A little-known fact, Fantasia was actually the very first movie ever to be released containing multi-channel audio, meaning "using two or more speakers". Because most theaters did not contain the necessary components to deliver "Stereo Sound", Disney actually had a mobile rig called "Fanta-Sound" that toured different cities to deliver the true experience. This should be a big clue as to what was the most important factor in experiencing the movie is/was: THE SOUND.
The movie was extremely poorly received for it's debut. People did not understand what they were going to witness, so with little understanding came little hype. If no one had ever even heard of "Stereo" or "Quadrophonic", it was difficult to describe what was so special. Most of us take our 5.1 home theaters for granted. The people of this era had never even heard of a TELEVISION! Let alone multi-channel audio encoding/decoding. Thus, the people that actually did go to see the movie were disappointed when they learned this was not a Micky Mouse cartoon, or even a movie with any sort of plot whatsoever.
The movie consists of a series of staple orchestral pieces from some of history's most important composers, played by highly-talented musicians from the time of the movie's filming.
The video is nothing more than something to keep the attention-lagging folks interested. However, don't be mistaken. The visual effects and cartoon story lines coincide with the musical numbers beautifully. Controversially, one of the cartoons endorses the Darwin theory, showing the evolution of life from the dawn of the planet Earth. There are also deep metaphorical depictions being displayed that the adults will catch on to, while children simply enjoy a naive simplicity of happy little sea animals, not knowing of the sociological references to bourgeois vs. proletariat these stories are making.
For those of you who only know Fantasia as being the cartoon where Micky Mouse is wearing a sorcerer's cap, conjuring tidal waves as his band of enchanted broomsticks do his bidding, yes, this IS that movie. However, there is little-to-no dialog in this (or any) part of the film. It is just another visual depiction to contrast the musical number being played by the orchestra. The Micky Mouse scene is only roughly ten minutes of the total movie time. I personally find this particular chapter to be my very least favorite. I like Micky, I just feel I can't take him "seriously".
This movie is mind-expanding & powerful. I know it's only a cartoon. However, if you take an active role to look for the subtle underlying meaning behind each piece, musically and visually, you will be pleasantly surprised how mature and rewarding this movie is to watch.
Somehow, pure, meaningful, classical music never fits into our busy, daily lives. I understand, but it's a proven fact that listening to complex music strengthens the mind. This DVD contains Dolby stereo, Dolby surround, and DTS surround versions of the original audio. THX is a reference to the specifications that were adhered to for the mixing environment. Having the audio be THX certified doesn't suck, but just because the audio on the disk is THX certified, it doesn't mean your living room is THX certified. If you don't understand what the heck all that stuff means, have no fear. The short & simple of it is, "It will play in any DVD player and it will sound good and stuff."
Do yourself a favor and experience this piece of history.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Fantasia is a Disney Classic and Truly Special!
Disney's Fantasia is a true marvel - beautiful and exciting to watch and brings back so many memories from childhood, Disneyland / Disneyworld, and the great Disney characters of old. Of course eBay has become the home for classic Disneyana and Disney DVDs - and Fantasia is an essentially addition to any DVD collection - children or not! Below are some great stats on Fantasia - if you're not already looking to buy, I'm sure you'll get a copy after reading this!
* FANTASIA is number 58 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies.
* FANTASIA was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1990.
* The film won two special Academy Awards in 1941 for the "Advancement of the Use of Sound," and for the "Creation of a New Form of Visualized Music."
"...One of the landmarks of American animation, as well as a key document in the popularization of classical music..."
New York Times - p.C4 - John Rockwell
18 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Seems It Took Me Forever To Appreciate this Movie!
I just couldn't see the point of the movie when I was a kid...
Whenever it was shown I would pass on it, except maybe to watch the
Mickey Mouse sequence, Mickey Mouse in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" that is.
Most anthologies just don't get rave reviews, as a person may like one or two of the stories or sequences, but not all of them, so the book or movie is downgraded in reviews.
Additionally this film was se to lengthy classical music pieces, which doesn't go over so well the first time when watching/listening.
But now with DVDs, you can go back easily and rewatch the sequence to get a second chance to figure out what was going on!
Walt Disney took a chance on this film, it didn't pan out when first released, but now with this DVD you can get what he was trying to present a whole lot easier!!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A Beautiful Piece of Animation History, Still Fabulous!
This movie is a piece of animation history. Walt Disney wanted to do the Sorcerer's Apprentice as a venue for Mickey Mouse(this is still the most beloved section) and was encouraged to animate other pieces of classical music to create a full length feature. The result is a staggeringly beautiful and gorgeous sounding introduction to famous music for both children and adults. Stereophonic sound was reportedly invented for this movie! Ironically, the movie is the forerunner of more recent attempts to introduce young children to the classics such as Baby Mozart. This movie, however, is the first and definitely the best. Try it for your little ones; my two year old grandson is in love with it, but appreciate it as an adult. It is hard to believe that this animation is all handmade. Definitely a worthy addition to any collection!
Parents -- some things to consider before you buy ...
Fantasia was one of the "must-see" movies of my childhood. At the time it was created, Fantasia represented the state-of-the-art in animation. It was like nothing anyone had ever seen -- spectacular colors and details and various forms of animation against the backdrop of classical symphonic masterpieces.
I remember being awed, amazed and terrified when Mickey Mouse brought those brooms to life and they marched out of control. I loved the playfulness of the Greek theme, and of course, what child wasn't spellbound by the fairies from the Nutcracker Suite?
The thing is, though, my children were flat-out bored with it ... and I have to confess that while it is a classic in my mind, it was not as riveting recently as I remember it being. I have become spoiled by the quantum leap animation techniques have made since Fantasia stood as the pinnacle of acheivement in animation.
Fantasia is perhaps most appreciated by those who regard it with nostalgia. If you are going to invest in quality movies for your children or if you hope to give them some exposure to classical music, you may want to look elsewhere. This film is too spirited to be a "bedtime" movie, but not spirited enough to hold your average elementary-aged child's attention.
Taking nothing away from this landmark work for what it was (as well as what it is), it's a snoozer for most kids today. Just something to consider.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.