Friday, April 1, 2011

Fantasia (1940)

Oh, Fantasia. Some say you are overrated, but I will defend you to the death!
Well, not to the death, but you know.
Fantasia was the first of what was meant to be a series of films made up of animated shorts set to classical music. We only have Fantasia (and Fantasia 2000), but it is actually a beautiful little movie. I think a love of Disney animation and a deep love of music has led to this film holding a very special place in my heart, although as a little girl I just loved the ponies, haha.
The film features music by Tchaikovsky (love!), Bach, and Beethoven among others, and yes, there are cheeky centaurettes, fairies, dancing hippos, elephants, alligators, and ostriches, menacing dinosaurs, and even the Devil (basically). Despite how silly it all sounds, I think what makes this film so special is the amazing animation. From the delicate limbs of the fairies, to the ghosts at the end rising eerily out of their graves, it leaves you in awe of how much they were able to accomplish in 1940. Yes, it's very "Disney", but you also have to keep in mind what made this company so great. Stellar and innovative work, and great imagination and creativity. It's just so...pure. Music and art. Bravo, Walt!
Nerd note: The Fantasia blu-ray has a great commentary track by Disney historian Brian Sibley, full of interesting making-of tidbits...very much worth a listen!
Second nerd note: I don't want to rip into Fantasia 2000 too much, but the only one I really recommend watching is the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment, which is SO amazing.
Third nerd note: I had a dream about Pegasuses (Pegasi? Pegases?) that very much echoed this movie and it was amazing. :)

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