Fantasia 2000 is the sequel to Fantasia, the animation and musical anthology film from 1940. As with the previous film, this one combines various classical and non-classical musical works with various experimental animation techniques.
Four of the segments stood out. Pines of Rome, featuring starfaring whales, is a fanciful exploration of family bonds among the whales. While exploring an iceberg-filled ocean, the young whale is separated from its parents for a time when it discovers a hidden cave and does some exploring on its own. At the end, it is reunited with its parents as they join the larger pod and fly off into space.
The Firebird Suite – 1919 Version tells the story of a dryad who ends up being responsible for a volcano erupting due to awakening the firebird. The volcano and firebird proceed to destroy the forest where she lives, and she sorrows for the loss. After a while, she begins regrowing the forest and life begins anew.
The story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, set to music by Shostakovich, tells of the love between a one-legged tin soldier and a beautiful ballerina who is being harassed by an evil Jack-in-the-Box. After being knocked out of a window by the evil-doer, the tin soldier takes a round-about way back to the play room and defeats the Jack-in-the-Box, thereby cementing the adoration of his beloved ballerina. This Anderson fairy tale has always been one of my favorites, and this is my favorite segment of Fantasia 2000.
The final of the four stand-out segments, Rhapsody in Blue, set to music by Gershwin, one of the premier composers of the 20th century. With a cameo appearance by Gershwin, we see a musical day in the life of several Depression-era people in Manhattan. I loved the animation style in this segment. It was unique in the film and exuded the style of the period.
The interludes between segments featured a variety of stars, from Bette Midler to James Earl Jones to Steve Martin, and it was interesting to hear their comments about Disney animation and its effects on their lives and careers. The other segments were interesting to various degrees, but not quite as good as the above four segments. The other segments did not stand out to me or “speak” to me.
The one thing I found very interesting about Fantasia 2000 was how many different styles of animation and techniques are present in the film. Along with the different styles of music, this made the film a treat for the senses. I will definitely be keeping this one in my collection.
Release Date: December 17, 1999 (USA)
MPAA Rating: G
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (very brief smoking and social drinking)
Violence: 2 (some violence, scary images, slapstick violence)