I dimly remember seeing Fantasia in theatres as a child. Looking on Wikipedia, I see it was re-released when I was ten years old, so that must’ve been when I saw it. It doesn’t seem that long ago, actually, and seeing it again now it felt just as fresh as it did back when I was a wee little lad.
The original Fantasia dates back to 1940, and it’s an amazing piece of art. Each of the segments in the film is very well done, though the best in my opinion is the mix of “A Night on Bald Mountain” and “Ave Maria”, a song so lovely it almost makes me want to forgive religion for its many sins. Almost. The animation is incredible in all the sequences and the sound, oh, the sound! Everything one can expect from such a film. I’ll also confess to getting a mighty chuckle when the narrator mentions that “The Nutcracker” isn’t performed much anymore. Ah, such a different time.
Fantasia 2000 is also a great film, but flawed on several levels. First, it’s only 74 minutes. If you remove the really pointless celebrity cameos (and they are quite pointless. Who thought Bette Middler talking about music would be a draw to kids?) and the repeat of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from the first movie, you’ve only got about an hour of new content. Second, while that content is generally good, none of it really stands out, except the “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Firebird” sequences. Lastly, there’s the aforementioned celebrity cameos. But despite that, it’s still a good movie and worth seeing.
As for the discs, the movies look and sound just spectacular! There’s really nothing wrong with the transfers, which are crisp, clean and delightful! You also get a raft of extra features, plus DVD versions of the films, though strangely no digital download versions.
This is two great films at a great price. Disney could’ve easily decided to release them separately at a high price. I’m glad they didn’t. It’s a great value!