I much prefer to watch movies twice before I write about them. I get attached to characters much too quickly to not know their fate. The first time I watched Fantasia 2000, I was worried about the little baby whale in “Pines of Rome”. I didn’t like that he got separated from his family. The animation is visually stunning, which I noticed much more this time around without the worry about little while finding his way out of the ice cavern. Also, those birds are mean.
It feels almost wrong to say, but I enjoy Fantasia 2000 more so than the original. The animators really captured my attention, even without dialogue. Fantasia struggled more to do that. The dinosaur sequence always puts me to sleep. The lack of dialogue was more noticeable to me in the original. Whereas in sequences like “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Piano Concerto No. 2”, the story was so clearly laid out visually I didn’t need or notice the absence of sound. Much like the first eight minutes of UP, the plot is so well presented that the dialogue would have cluttered it.
The musical selections were also more familiar, or at least were so to me, than in Fantasia. It was especially interesting to see re-imaginings of overly-used music; the best example being the Noah’s Ark rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance”. The first time I watched it, I was too distracted by the graduation theme to fully focus on the plot. But I remembered as I watched this time how well it fit, and liking it at least some the previous time I watched it.
It would be incredibly hard for me to choose a favorite from Fantasia 2000. The toy soldier and the ballerina always capture my heart, so it must be in the list. The whales are gorgeous, and the aurora borealis backdrop is close to my heart because of my life here in Alaska (though we have yet to see them more than once, despite our efforts. We need to step up our efforts this winter; we’ve been slacking). I love Donald and Daisy’s reunion in the Noah’s Ark number. I’ve always loved “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, but that’s mostly Mickey Mouse love. And the yo-yo-ing flamingo—what’s not to love?!
“The Firebird Suite” reminds me of Bambi, the little deer that captured my whole heart and really inspired this whole project. The stag, standing noble over the land, reminds me of Bambi’s father. He looks so noble and sweet. And the fairy, with her near-death, inspires me still to keep going even when I feel burned out. The nature fairy is so lovely, and the animation so magical, it couldn’t not make the list of favorites. It’s also my Lion King link. The rebirth of Spring so reminds me of the rebirth of the Pride Lands, as rain washes away the literal and figurative ash and new plants grow in its place. Lovely, beautiful symbolism.
Which essentially puts the entire film in my favorites-from-the-film list. Oh, sheesh. But who could blame me? It’s excellent animation and glorious music. If only Walt could have seen the realization of his dream—Fantasia was built upon and changed, and it was truly magical.