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A pinnacle of animation and art
Fantasia is more than just another Disney film. Dating from 1940, eg The Golden Age Of Animation, this film is a riotous, exuberant display of Disney's animators' artistic imagination. Disney was always excellent at synching music with animation - look at other works, both shorts and features, from this era to get an idea. This is them showing off. It is one of the greatest works of animation, even cinema as a whole, ever.

The stories, told as they are without dialogue, are pretty basic and there's not a lot of drama involved (despite the thundering soundtrack). The first two shorts don't even tell stories, they're just abstract works of moving art. But they're still fascinating. (The Tchaikovskiy part is my personal favorite.) The Stravinskiy piece midway through the movie starts with an Astronomic Zoom, followed by a depiction of primordial Earth's volcanic activity - and it's riveting. They managed to make astronomical & geological processes interesting. Now that's a work of art. But beyond that there's the classic Dukas segment and the bombastic, spooky Mussorgskiy finale, both excellent in their own right. Picking a favorite from this movie is like picking a favorite chocolate out of a box - they all have something to offer.

What I really like about this movie, however, is the animation. Not many people realize this since they usually watch it at a tender age (and never again), but this is a beautifully animated work. Water splashes like water, everything moves fluidly, lighting changes subtly, every frame is crammed with detail - it can be breathtaking to behold. Keep in mind, this was made in 1940. BY HAND. No other animated work has equaled Fantasias achievement. Its combination of powerful classical music and exquisite animation is flawless. It is the pinnacle of Disney's career and a triumph of the human spirit. Some sequences inspire that much awe in me.

Fantasia 2000 is a great sequel with an interesting jazz piece, a cute sequence with flamingos and a yo-yo, and some majestic bits. But it's shorter and can't quite match up to its predecessor. For one thing, it's done by computer, which looks more polished but less warm and loving. Watch both, but especially the original. It's a jaw-dropping masterpiece.
I'd say my favorite Fantasia shorts are the more majestic ones, especially the Rite of Spring (All three parts). I just like the interesting flow of prehistory, from nothing to beauty to life to battle to death.

I also really like Firebird from Fantasia 2000. It's just gorgeous, and that moment when the volcano's eyes appear always freaks me out.
comment #5758 Scardoll 11th Jan 11
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