Fantasia – 1940
Fantasia is a classic 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney. The movie features 8 animated “cartoon” segments set to classical music and includes introductions to each piece by host Deems Taylor, an American composer and music critic. Seven of the eight pieces were performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Stokowski.
Walt Disney conceived of Fantasia as a two-hour and twenty minute roadshow film which he envisioned being updated and added to on a regular basis. However, the original version did not do well financially, so the idea of adding to it was scrapped. Fantasia was eventually drastically cut to a running time of 81 minutes in 1942 when it was picked up by RKO.
The 1940 version is an innocent but avant-garde cartoon whimsy with nymphs, fairies, centaurs and other fantastic creatures as well as Mickey Mouse.
Fantasia – 2000
In 2000 a new version of Fantasia was released which continued the tradition of pairing classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. The 2000 version of Fantasia includes various introductions by celebrities including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones and Angela Lansbury.
The 2000 version of Fantasia incorporates more modern animation techniques and includes animated whales and Biblical characters. Most of the music from the new Fantasia is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with James Levine conducting all numbers except The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which used the original Fantasia recording conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
Fantasia – Noah’s Ark & Donald Duck
Although it is hard to pick a favorite from the new version, I was impressed by the combination of Biblical story and humor in the story of Noah’s Ark & Donald Duck set to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
A special 4-Disc Special Edition Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack and a 2-Disc Special Edition DVD of Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 was released on November 30, 2010 in the U.S. The 4-Disc combo pack includes a Blu-ray and a DVD of Fantasia 2000 and a Blu-ray and a DVD of Fantasia. This Disney combo pack of Fantasia is definitely worth considering for your holiday movie shopping.
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