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Western Animation / Fantasia

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"What you're going to see are the designs and pictures and stories that music inspired in the minds and imaginations of a group of artists."
Deems Taylor

Fantasia is a 1940 animated film from Walt Disney collaborating with celebrated conductor Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra and the third entry in the Disney Animated Canon. It's a surreal, yet classic blend of animation and Classical Music, often considered to have been ahead of its time back in the day. Another way to describe it as is Silly Symphonies: The Movie.

The film consists of animated sequences synchronized to classic pieces of music. They are as follows:

  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor, attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach. This sequence features abstract images, shapes and forms moving in time to the music.
  • The Nutcracker Suite, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Surprisingly, this features no characters from the Nutcracker ballet,note  but original sequences based on the Seasons featuring dancing fairies, fish, flowers, leaves, and even mushrooms (not a samba, however).
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice, composed by Paul Dukas. The most famous scene in the entire film. This sequence features Mickey Mouse as a sorcerer's apprentice, who borrows his master's enchanted hat and decides to try out its powers. He finds out, however, that the magic is a little too much for him to handle.
  • The Rite of Spring, composed by Igor Stravinsky. This sequence showcases the evolution of life on Earth, from the formation of the planet to the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to the theories of the time.
  • The Pastoral Symphony (Symphony No. 6), composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. During this part of the film, mythical creatures such as centaurs, cupids, satyrs, unicorns, and Pegasi prance around, and attend a festival for the god Bacchus/Dionysus, only to have it interrupted by Jupiter/Zeus and Vulcan/Hephaestus.
  • Dance of the Hours, composed by Amilcare Ponchielli. In this comedic sequence, ballet-dancing anthropomorphic animals (ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators), representing the times of day (morning, noon, evening, and night) dance in time to the music in a loose adaptation of its original ballet, La Gioconda.
  • Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria, composed by Modest Mussorgsky and Franz Schubert, respectively. The first half of this sequence is probably the most frightening sequence in Disney animation, featuring Chernabog (who is essentially the Devil, instead of an actual Slavic Pagan deity note ) raising the dead from the grave. The sequence leads to a contrasting sequence to the calm tune of Ave Maria, featuring a procession of pilgrims walking through a forest, with the rocks and trees evoking a cathedral, to witness the dawn.

A sequel was made in 1999: Fantasia 2000.note  Unlike most Disney sequels, this one was actually in accordance with Walt Disney's intent; the original idea was to update the film every year, animating one or two new songs every time and rotating older ones out of the print to make room for the fresh material. In addition, the prestige of being in a Fantasia film meant that Disney had no trouble lining up celebrities to introduce the various sections of film.

Disney had once planned an international-themed follow-up to Fantasia called Musicana. This would have entailed various shorts from various countries with the music styles of those countries. It was ultimately shelved.

Sequences proposed for this film included:

  • A sequence about jazz in the Deep South that would have a jazz party where all the audience and performers were frogs, including caricatures of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, with the party getting interrupted at the end by a river boat passing through.
  • A sequence set in the Andes to the songs of Yma Sumac themed around the folklore of the Aztecs and Incas.
  • An African sequence that told the story of a monkey who stole a diamond from the African rain god.
  • A retelling of The Emperor's Nightingale that featured Mickey in the role of the nightingale's owner; he would have taught the emperor the value of the nightingale versus its mechanical counterpart.
  • A sequence set to Sibelius' Finlandia that told a story of a battle between an ice god and a sun goddess, their conflict shaping the Scandinavian landscape.
  • An animated rendition of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves with the characters depicted as various exotic birds, set to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scherezade.

Disney later planned another international-themed follow-up, called Fantasia/2006, and later Fantasia World. After the cancellation of its theatrical release, some of the completed shorts received limited or direct-to-video releases. In 2010, Walt Disney Home Video announced plans to include the feature on the Fantasia Special Edition* 2-Movie Collection Blu-Ray, but by the time the Collection reached stores, they decided to only include one short.

The sequences prepared for this one include:

  • Destino, composed by Armando Dominguez. The long-awaited result of a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí, this short depicts Dahlia, a woman dancing her way through Dalí-inspired environments and the doomed love the god Chronos has for her. Premiered at a 2003 French film festival, and became available to own on the Fantasia Blu-Ray collection.
  • The Little Match Girl (Nocturne from String Quartet No. 2 in D Major, composed by Alexander Borodin). Disney relocates the Hans Christian Andersen story to Russia, but otherwise adapts it to a surprisingly faithful extent. Premiered at a 2006 French film festival, and included on the 2006 Platinum Edition DVD and 2013 Diamond Edition Blu-ray of The Little Mermaid (another Disney-produced adaptation of an Andersen story) as well as the 2015 Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection.
  • One By One, composed by Lebo M. This short features South African children preparing and flying colorful kites to the accompaniment of a re-written version of a song initially included on the The Lion King spin-off album Rhythm of the Pride Lands (and later used as the entr'acte number in the musical). Included on the 2004 Special Edition DVD and 2011 Special Edition Blu-ray of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
  • Lorenzo, (Bordoneo y 900, composed by Osvaldo Ruggiero, arranged by Juan Jose Mosalini.) A cat is jinxed into having a tail with a separate personality. Premiered during the theatrical release of the 2004 Kate Hudson movie Raising Helen, and released on Blu-ray and DVD as part of the August 2015 Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection.

A platform game for the Sega Genesis loosely based on the first movie was released on 1991, though it's widely regarded as mediocre at best. A 2014 rhythm music game by Harmonix, Fantasia: Music Evolved has been released for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Yen Sid is also a major character in the Kingdom Hearts and Epic Mickey series.

In 2010, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence was expanded into an In Name Only live-action fantasy adventure film starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel aptly named...The Sorcerer's Apprentice. A Live-Action Adaptation of "Night On Bald Mountain" sequence was put in development, being written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless the creative team behind Dracula Untold, but it was later scrapped.

Not to be confused with the American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, or the name of the fantasy world in the film version of The Neverending Story, or with Tales of Phantasia.

Compare later Disney films Make Mine Music and Melody Time which both feature music-based shorts, even using a few of the unused ideas from Fantasia. Contrast Allegro non Troppo, the 1977 Bruno Bozzetto answer to Fantasia, which hovers comfortably somewhere between Affectionate Parody and Take That! (and is just as breathtakingly beautiful). Compare also the 1943 Merrie Melodies short A Corny Concerto, also an Affectionate Parody of Fantasia, and Opera Imaginaire for a French opera version.


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    Both films provide examples of 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Or rather, Conspicuous Live-Action. The snowflakes at the very end of the "Nutcracker" segment were actually filmed in live-action with the animated sprites composited on top of them, evoking the same kind of jarring contrast.
    • The sequel took advantage of all the changing technologies that occurred since the original by blending traditional animation with CG, most noticeable in the "Pines of Rome" when the 3D whales go against the 2D seagulls, or in "Piano Concerto No. 2" with the 3D tin soldier going against 2D sewer rats.
  • Adaptational Context Change: Most of the content in the sequences has nothing to do with what the original was about, if anything. For example, "The Rite of Spring" is about the Earth up until the end of dinosaurs, rather than primitive human rituals. "The Pastoral Symphony" has a mythological Greek setting while the original symphony is just about a pastoral setting.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • Rhapsody in Blue does this to everyone no matter their race, keeping with the cool tones of the style. This also applies in "Pastoral Symphony" for everyone, notably the centaurs.
    • In the original theatrical release, there was a centaur named Sunflower, with glossy black donkey parts, brown human parts, and a stereotypical blackface head. Her function was to serve the others — polishing their hooves, bringing them refreshments, and so on. She was removed from theatrical rereleases after 1969 and is missing from home video releases.
  • Animal Gender-Bender:
    • Pomp and Circumstance seems to feature two male ostriches being led into the Noah's Ark.
    • The Male-colored ostriches in "Dance of the Hours" were obviously intended to be female.
  • Animation Bump: Both are considered this for Disney. The 1940 version included dynamic backgrounds, color shifts, changes in lighting, translucent paints and numerous effects shots that had simply never been done before (lightning, waves, stars, lava, earthquakes). The 2000 version had combination of traditional animation and CGI (that was actually started back before production on Toy Story began), as well as watercolor cells for the Carnival of Animals and pastel backgrounds in Beethoven's Fifth.
  • Awe-Inspiring Dinosaur Shot: The "Rite of Spring" segment is probably the Trope Maker. While some perilous scenes are shown, the dinosaurs make their appearance in a rather harmonious tone, and with the herbivores doing what any normal animal would be doing, such as Brontosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Anatosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Ornithomimus grazing through leaves and waters, playing and looking after one another. All seems well, that is until rainfall occurs, and immediately a Tyrannosaurus shows up.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy:
    • Mainly the centaurettes and the cherubs in the "Pastoral" Symphony.
    • The forest sprite in the Firebird segment. It's entirely possible that this character doesn't even have a sex.
    • Averted by the Succubi in Night On Bald Mountain. Then there's the shots of the flying harpies.
  • Creepy Good: Yen Sid the sorcerer actually looks pretty sinister. But come on, if Mickey Mouse is willing to be his apprentice he can't possibly be a bad guy.
  • Dangerously Garish Environment: To some extent, Bald Mountain. At the climax of the infernal festivities, numerous demonic minions dance maniacally against rainbow-colored flames from hell, with some even mutated by Chernabog himself or being set on fire alive for his amusement.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chernabog from the original; the Firebird from the sequel may also qualify. Chernabog, if interpreted as evil, is an identifiable evil, motivated by sadism and boredom. The Firebird, however, is a force of nature; it is nigh-incomprehensible in motives, just laying waste to everything in front of it. Of course, as a fire spirit, it is in fire's nature to burn and destroy.
  • Episode Discussion Scene: Each of the two films begin in live-action with the conductor explaining the premise and structure of the film: a series of animated shorts set to classical music.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Chernabog covers himself in fire near the end of Night on Bald Mountain. The Firebird may also qualify, as it is a destructive force.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Both movies feature a monstrous character with glowing eyes: the first movie has the Satanic Archetype Chernabog, the second one has the Firebird, the personification of a volcano.
  • The Great Flood:
    • The Rite of Spring segment actually ends with the entire Earth being flooded by a massive tidal wave caused by a solar eclipse.
    • Retold in Fantasia 2000 in the re-imagined "Noah's Ark" adaptation of Pomp and Circumstance.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Hyacinth Hippo and Ben Ali Gator in the "Dance of the Hours" segment.
    • Also implied between the elk and the forest sprite in the Firebird segment.
  • Leitmotif: Done retroactively with some of the narrative segments.
  • Mickey Mousing: Done in reverse - all animation in the short was created to match existing pieces of classical music.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: None of the shorts feature any dialogue, or even sound effects for that matter - it's just music and animation. The only ones talking are the narrators introducing the shorts.
  • Mind Screw: Many examples throughout the movie.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In the last sequence of the original Fantasia the whole "undead being raised" thing in Night on Bald Mountain ends with churchgoers singing Ave Maria in a sharp contrast to the first part of the segment.
    • In Fantasia 2000 the humor in Rhapsody in Blue is interspersed with scenes that remind you that it takes place during the thirties, which can be a bit depressing.
    • Pomp and Circumstance does this a few times where it starts off with a hilarious slapstick sequence where Donald tries to get the animals to board the ship, but changes to sad when Donald and Daisy both think the other was killed in the flood, then goes back again to slapstick.
    • The Firebird Suite begins with sweet, gentle lilting music as the Sprite awakens, greets the new day with her animal companion, and begins spreading the growth of spring; switches to trepidation and unease as she discovers the dormant volcano, only to explode into full-out nighmarish horror when she unwittingly releases the Firebird which destroys her home; and then after a deeply sorrowful My God, What Have I Done? moment, returns to celebration, joy, and awe as she draws upon her powers stronger than ever to completely restore the land.
  • No Name Given: In many of the numbers with original characters, the main characters' names are never mentioned in the movie, but according to Word of God, they do have names.
    • For example, in Rhapsody in Blue they are, in order of appearance: Duke, Jobless Joe, Rachel, and John. Rachel and John are named after Eric Goldberg's youngest daughter and animation historian John Culhane, respectively.
    • The same goes for Carnival of the Animals, where the yo-yo playing flamingo is called "Our Hero" and the other flamingos are named "The Snotty Six."
    • The little mushroom in The Nutcracker Suite is named Hop Low.
    • The leads in Dance of the Hours are Madamoiselle Upanova (ostrich), Hyacinth Hippo, Elephanchine,note  and Ben Ali Gator.
    • In The Sorcerer's Apprentice the eponymous sorcerer is called Yen Sid.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Some of the sequences in the original. The intro to the "Pomp and Circumstance" segment brings up this trope as well.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The point was to introduce children to not only to classical music, but to post-modernism as well.
    • Averted with Rhapsody In Blue, which they had to get permission from the Gershwin estate to use. They probably didn't have much difficulty.
    • Averted with The Rite of Spring, as Igor Stravinsky was still alive at the time of the 1940 film's production, and the development team had to get permission from him, also without any difficulty.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The T-Rex in Rite of Spring has devilish ones, as do the Sewer Rats in "Steadfast Tin Soldier."
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Mickey shaking hands with Leopold Stokowski, and in the sequel, adjusting James Levine's lapel.
  • Scare Chord: Built into some of the pieces, and taken full advantage of by the animators.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Most of the sequences in both movies, with Firebird and Pines of Rome showing some particularly stunning backgrounds.
    • Even for the 40s, many pieces, even the deleted "Clair de Lune", had beautiful backgrounds.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Firebird (well, maybe sleeping evil). More so with the "Cutterflies" in the 5th Symphony. Chernabog is sealed in a timed can, since he gets let out of the peak of Bald Mountain once a year on St. John's Eve.note 

    The original 1940 film contains examples of 
  • Acrofatic: The elephants and the hippos in the Dance of the Hours segment are particularly light on their feet and athletic.
  • Actually Quite Catchy: While the orchestra tuning in their instruments at one point a bassist slowly builds up a swing tune and the rest turns it to a brief jam session.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The introduction to the Pastoral makes reference to "Pegasus and his family." The traditionally white Pegasus is instead portrayed as black with the white coloration going to his mate.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The ostriches, hippos and elephants flirt a bit with the gators, despite the implication the gators want to eat them.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the characters' names are only known from supplementary material: namely Jackus the donkey/unicorn, Yen Sid the sorcerer, all the named characters in Dance of the Hours, and Chernobog (unless he is, as Deems Taylor identifies him, Satan after all.) A lot of the less familiar-looking animals from The Rite Of Spring are only named in concept art as well, such as Troodonnote , Hallopusnote , Kannemeyerianote , and Hypsilophodonnote .
  • Arcadia: The Pastoral Symphony was composed by Beethoven as a love letter to the countryside of central Europe. Fantasia transplants the setting to an ancient Greece populated by satyrs, centaurs, cherubs, pegasi, unicorns, and deities, but it is still set in an idyllic countryside of meadows, forests, streams, and lakes.
  • Anachronistic Animal: The film features a Dimetrodon, a creature that lived before dinosaurs evolved. The famous fight between the Stegosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex is another example, given that the T. rex and Triceratops (which is also present in the sequence) existed in the Cretaceous, millions of years after the Stegosaurus (in fact, the T. Rex lived closer to today than it did to when Stegosaurus did).
  • Ancient Grome: The Pastoral Symphony sequence shamelessly muddles together Greek and Roman mythology. Deems Taylor's introduction names Zeus and Artemis alongside Bacchus and Vulcan (Dionysus & Hephaestus, respectively).
  • Aquatic Hadrosaurs: The "Rite of Spring" segment from features several species of hadrosaurs, namely Parasaurolophus, Corythosaurus, Edmontosaurus, and Kritosaurus. They are depicted as swamp animals feeding on aquatic plants and run away in the water when a T. rex approaches.
  • Aquatic Sauropods: In "The Rite of Spring", sauropods are depicted as living in swampy environments and eating aquatic plants. Notably, the Brachiosaurus are shown completely submerging themselves in the water to escape from the T. rex.
  • Art Evolution: Freddy Moore completely redesigned the Mickey model sheet for this film (particularly changing the eyes), giving the appearance that is still used today.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The ostriches in the "Dance of the Hours" sequence are supposed to be female...but the plumage is that of a male ostrich. Female ostriches are brown.
    • A flagellate protozoa in an early part of the Rite of Spring sequence is shown using its flagellum as a feeler rather than a propulsion organ. The animator may have only looked at microscopic still photos, though.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Rite of Spring, filled with dinosaurs from different Mesozoic periods and sometimes-questionable anatomy. In fact, Tyrannosaurus lived closer to when humans live today than he did to when Stegosaurus lived. According to commentary on the Blu-Ray release, the fight was originally to have between the T. rex and a Triceratops, but the Stegosaurus was switched in as the animators felt the thagomizer would make the battle more interesting. Going by the 1940s understanding of dinosaurs, however, it's pretty accurate (apart of course from the Anachronism Stew)—in fact, the "T. rex" was drawn with three fingers, making it look more like an Allosaurus, which did live in the Jurassic alongside Stegosaurus. On the other hand, it is too bulky and lacks the brow horns Allosaurus is also known for having. There is also a glimpse of the vastly out of place Dimetrodon, a synapsidnote  living a good 100 million years before the dinosaurs evolved. But this creature has a tendency to be mashed up with dinosaurs anyway.
    • In 1955, an educational version of the Rite of Spring segment was made for the Disneyland TV series, with narration providing accurate (well, accurate for the time) facts about the animals in it. The opening to it states that "in the interest of dramatic storytelling, certain liberties have been taken with chronological progression".
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: In the Rite of Spring sequence, Plateosaurus and Kannemeyeria (both herbivorous) are portrayed eating clams. Becomes a case of Accidentally-Correct Writing in the case of the plateosaurs, since primitive sauropodomorphs are believed to have been at least somewhat omnivorous.
  • Astronomic Zoom: The Rite of Spring goes from floating balls of gas in outer space all the way down to single-cell organisms.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Chernabog's awakening. Seriously, that's what criminals see when Batman emerges from the shadows.
  • Battle in the Rain: The fight between the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus in The Rite of Spring.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Chernabog, though it may take some time for you to notice. He's not just your average, bat-winged demon. His facial structure too is reminiscent of that of a bat, notably his mouth.
  • Belly Flop Crushing: In the last movement of the "Dance of the Hours" section, a hippo leaps into the arms of her alligator lover, only to squash him because she's more than he can handle. Word of God has it that the entire "Dance of the Hours" section is meant to suggest a performance by an amateur ballet company, i.e. it might have funny moments due to the dancers' limited skill, but isn't being played for laughs.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Hyacinth Hippo, whom Ben Ali Gator falls for almost instantly. The other hippo ballerinas count as well, considering how eager the gators are to dance with them.
  • Birds of a Feather: The centaurs and centaurettes in the Pastoral Symphony sequence all pair up with a partner of the same color.
  • Bloodless Carnage: In the Rite of Spring sequence, dinosaurs fight and kill each other with their teeth and spiked tails, but not a single drop of blood is apparent. Admittedly, the T-Rex seems to kill the Stegosaurus by twisting and breaking its neck (Truth in Television for many large carnivores even today), but there still should have been some blood.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • All of the home video releases censor the Pastoral Symphony sequence to remove the presence of Sunflower, who is depicted as a very stereotypical African American (rat tail hairs, subservient to another centaur, and being stylized as a donkey instead of a centaurette). The home video releases worked around her by digitally zooming in on the footage of the centaurettes she was near, and slightly rearranging one scene to cover up that they excised a brief scene with her that was impossible to pan away from. For other shots where it was both absolutely impossible to pan away from her and too crucial to remove, they digitally edited her out altogether, resulting in oddities like a red carpet that she pushed now magically rolling out on its own. The only way the original footage can be seen now is by finding bootlegs of very old TV recordings of Fantasia.
    • Whereas the original Fantasia segment has Yen Sid swatting Mickey with the broom after his little stunt, at least one of the storybook adaptations avoids this. The sorcerer simply tells Mickey not to start what he can't finish.
    • Likewise, the animators actually storyboarded the scene where Mickey chops the broom to pieces with an axe. In the final film, it happens off-screen and the viewer only sees it via a Shadow Discretion Shot.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The female centaurs are paler shades of their male mates' colors.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Nicely averted in Rite of Spring, when chunks of rock that look like any other part of the background get loosened and carried away by lava.
  • Crashing Dreams: Mickey dreams of waves crashing against a cliff, only to awake to the watery doom around him.
  • Dance of Romance: With hippos and gators.
  • Dark Is Evil: In the Night on Bald Mountain sequence, everything connected with Evil and Death is portrayed by the darkness, fires of Hell etc etc. during a dark and gloomy night.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Pegasus father from "Pastoral Symphony" is black in color, with a gothic and almost sinister appearance. He is, however, kind and caring.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Sorcerer's Apprentice goes to black-and-white when Mickey chops up the broom, then gades back into color when the splinters come back to life as new brooms.
  • Deranged Animation: Night on Bald Mountain gets very trippy with the evil spirits summoned by Chernabog zooming through the screen.
  • Dog Walks You: During the storm in the "Pastoral Symphony" sequence, Dionysus/Bacchus is trying to drag his unicorn/donkey, Jackus, toward shelter, but Jackus is resisting. One flash of lightning later, Jackus is the one dragging Dionysus/Bacchus along behind him.
  • Door-Closes Ending: The "Dance of the Hours" segment ends with the palace doors slamming so hard they're knocked off their hinges.
  • Double Take: An elephant does one when she realizes that the bubble she just blew has a goldfish in it.
  • Downer Ending: The Rite of Spring. If it hadn't been for the Executive Meddling, Walt Disney would have kept the happier ending where a band of early humans start a bonfire and dance in celebration of their discovery.
  • Expy: In "Dance Of The Hours", all the main dancers are expys for the main characters from the opera La Gioconda.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: "Rite of Spring" shows the extinction of the dinosaurs (or rather how they believed it went at the time) in all of its brutal reality. But they are realistic-looking, non-anthropomorphic ones, so it's okay.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: "Rite of Spring" features an extremely brutal fight between a Tyrannosaurus and a Stegosaurus, ending with the Tyrannosaurus killing and eating the Stegosaurus.
  • Fan Disservice: Chernabog's nude female minions with their faces twisted in agony.
  • Fatal Forced March: The fate of the dinosaurs at the end of "The Rite Of Spring," doomed to die while searching for water in an endless desert.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: "Pastoral Symphony" features a few cutesy satyrs, playing pan flute music while frolicking around.
  • Finger-Snap Lighter: Chernabog creates flames in his hand, which he then twists up into demons.
  • Forging Scene: In the "Pastoral Symphony" sequence, Vulcan/Hephaestus forges thunderbolts for Jupiter/Zeus to hurl at Bacchus/Dionysus.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Everything Chernabog does is purely to have fun.
    • Zeus and Vulcan breaking up the celebration in "Pastoral Symphony" for no apparent reason also counts.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: As is typical for Disney, the Pastoral is a huge aversion. They make no effort to hide intoxication, or the fact that Dionysus/Bacchus and the unicorn he is riding are drunk.
  • Ghastly Ghost: The "Night on Bald Mountain" segment plays this trope completely straight. You have hordes of spirits that ride skeleton steeds and some flying shrouds with glowing eyes on the inside.
  • Ghibli Hills: The Pastoral Symphony is set among verdant hills and gentle streams.
  • Gone Behind the Bend: During the "Dance of the Hours" segment. Ben Ali Gator is chasing Hyacinth Hippo, who hides behind a column that is far too narrow for her to hide behind. Ben runs around the column a couple of times but can't seem to find her, until she comes from behind and tramples him.
  • Good Hurts Evil: The mountainous devil Chernabog and his army of spirits are driven away by the light of "the sacred" at the beginning of the Ave Maria section.
  • Grapes of Luxury: A couple of centaurs enact this trope during the Pastoral Symphony scene while being fanned by cherubs. Later, during Dance of the Hours, the ostriches fight over a bunch of grapes before one of the hippos eventually gets it.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The Elephant scene in "Dance of the Hours" features them floating in bubbles - staying afloat until the bubble pops.
  • Green Gators: Ben Ali Gator is a dark green alligator.
  • Hellish Horse: In Night on Bald Mountain sequence some of the skeleton knights raised by Chernabog ride some of these. One of them looks an awful lot like the Horned King! Funny enough...there was some recycled footage from Fantasia in The Black Cauldron.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Twice near the end of Rite of Spring, as the Tyrannosaurus rex is walking with the other dinosaurs tired and dehydrated then roars weakly and collapses down a sand dune, then a minute or so later as the camera pans across the dinosaur skeletons. When it come to the skeleton of the T. Rex, it suddenly zooms in on it as the music descends mockingly. Not even the once terrifying predator could escape death.
  • Hot as Hell: A rather literal example in Night on Bald Mountain. Chernabog holds a flame in his hand, and turns it into three naked women, made of fire, who proceed to dance. It then gets immediately subverted horrifyingly as Chernabog turns these women into increasingly horrific forms including a pig, a goat, a wolf, a group of pale aquamarine imps with yellow eyes and blue tinted very male demons with horned heads with beaked mouths.
  • Huge Girl, Tiny Guy: The hippos and the alligators in Dance of the Hours.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The male and female centaurs in the Pastoral Symphony.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: The animators never seemed to agree on the number and colors of the many baby unicorns and pegasi in the Pastoral Symphony segment; at one point near the end of the first movement, as the pegasus foals fly down to a lake, several of them enter the water one color and emerge a different color, begging the question of just what is in the water.
  • Intermission: The original roadshow version included one. Later versions re-edited the footage of the orchestra leaving for intermission and then returning for the opening and closing of the film. The (NTSC) DVD and, later, Blu-Ray versions restored the original intermission footage.
  • Jerkass Gods:
    • Zeus, in the Pastoral Symphony, disrupts Bacchus' party with a storm and deliberately threw lightning bolts at them. It's even worse if one goes by the myths, in which Bacchus is Zeus' son.
    • Chernabog incinerates or crushes his demonic minions simply for a moment's amusement.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While more antagonists than outright villains, the appearance (and build-up) of Vulcan and Zeus in the Pastoral Symphony changes the tone from whimsical to dramatic. Justified, as their sequence accompanies the fourth movement of the Symphony which depicts a violent thunderstorm.
  • Large Ham: Chernabog is a rare non-speaking example, with an overly dramatic body language.
  • Light Is Good: Ave Maria, being a contrast to the Night on Bald Mountain sequence, has this as one of its main themes. Sunlight and glowing candles are depicted as being associated with Heaven and all things holy.
  • Limited Animation: The Ave Maria sequence has barely any animation at all—most of the movement is done by the camera.
  • Long Take: Ave Maria ends with a 160-second one.
    • This is a multiplane camera shot, and ended up having to be reshot twice; on the first take the camera was inadvertently fitted with a wide-angle lens, causing unwanted peripheral details to be visible; on the second, an LA earth tremor shook the planes out of alignment. Third time was the charm.
  • Lower Half Reveal: The Pastoral Symphony sequence opens with a panning view of young women bathing waist-deep in a natural pool. Then one of them walks up out of the pool, revealing that she's a centauress.
  • Mama Bear: The mother Pegasus flies out in the middle of a storm in order to rescue one of her children.
  • Mushroom Man: The dancing mushrooms in the Nutcracker's Chinese Dance segment, whose caps resemble Asian rice hats.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Promotional art for Fantasia often seems to imply that Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice faces off with Chernabog. The two appear in different segments and do not interact. Critics in 1940 actually complained about this.
  • Nipple and Dimed: The original actually did this in a few scenes, with some very brief flashes of naked breasts that they could not get away with today. Specifically, Chernabog's rather ugly harpy minions flash their breasts at the audience a few times. Left uncut on all re-releases and on Disney+.
  • Old-Fashioned Fruit Stomping: In the "Pastoral Symphony" segment, a group of satyrs dance around in a vat full of grapes, pulping them with their hooves while preparing for a festival honoring the wine god Bacchus.
  • One-Word Title: Fantasia.
  • Opposites Attract: The Pegasus mother and father. The father's coloration makes him look very gothic, almost sinister while his wife's coloration makes her look angelic.
  • Orwellian Retcon: Sunflower, the little black centaur servant, has been cut from modern releases due to being a racist caricature. Even the Disney+ edit of the movie, which opens with a content warning about Values Dissonance, doesn't show Sunflower.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: In the Pastoral Symphony scene, there are both female and male centaurs with rather good-looking, non-beastly human halves. A duo of African centaurs with zebra-like horse parts also show up. The original release also featured a small black centaur servant, but she was cut from later releases due to Values Dissonance.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Chernabog. Just look at him and try to tell us he wouldn't blend in on a church roof.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: The fairies in the Nutcracker Suite segment are shown changing leaf colors and putting rime frost on plants and water surfaces to change the seasons.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: In "Pastoral Symphony", the Pegasus family has a black father and a white mother. The male centaurs usually have somewhat darker tones than the females, as well.
  • Pegasus: Several appear in "Pastoral Symphony".
  • Punny Name:
    • Bacchus/Dionysus' unicorn/donkey in the "Pastoral Symphony" sequence is named Jackus (i.e., jackass).
    • The lead ostrich in the "Dance of the Hours" sequence is named Mademoiselle Upanova (up and over).
  • Random Events Plot: The Nutcracker Suite. Fairies creating morning dew ("Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"), dancing mushrooms ("Chinese Dance"), blossoms on a flowing river ("Dance of the Reed Flutes"), long-tailed goldfish ("Arabian Dance"), dancing thistles ("Russian Dance"), and fairies ushering in the changing colours of autumn and the first frosts and snow of winter ("Waltz of the Flowers")... it's just one thing after another.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The T-Rex in Rite of Spring, with good reason - it is the top predator in the age of dinosaurs, killing a Stegosaurus on-screen.
    • Averted with the father Pegasus, however, whose red eyes bely a protective personality.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: "Dance of the Hours" plays with this. The alligators are used to represent Night, and they often seem to be acting antagonistically, but at the same time, the short makes it clear that it's all a show and the other animals aren't really in danger.
  • Roadshow Theatrical Release: The only animated Disney film to receive such a treatment note . The DVD and Blu-Ray releases were a recreation of the original roadshow version.
  • Saved by the Church Bell: In the penultimate segment, the church bell prompts the retreat of Chernobog the Dark God and his ghouls; the bell denotes his doom.
  • Satanic Archetype: Night On Bald Mountain was originally introduced as starring Satan himself when Fantasia first premiered. His name was later changed to Chernabog (an obscure Slavic Pagan deity) in what was a reverse Jesus Taboo, but the change was not pulled out of thin air. (See Shown Their Work.)
  • Sensory Abuse: Rite of Spring, true to its original composition, features many sudden loud noises and beats that can be quite jarring to audiences not in the know about it.
  • Shipper on Deck: The cupids from the Pastoral Symphony play matchmaker for a lonely centaur and a lonely centaurette. They both hit it off.
  • Shoe Shine, Mister?: Sunflower is a Blackface centaur shining hooves for white ones. Certainly doesn't help the severe Values Dissonance.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • At the time Fantasia was made, the only well-known version of Night on Bald Mountain was the one streamlined and rearranged (the All Music Guide says "bowdlerized") by Rimsky-Korsakov. However, it was the third version. The first version by Mussorgsky ("St. John's Eve at the Bald Mountain") was about a witches' sabbath on St. John's Evenote , mentioned Satan explicitly and was rejected by the organizer of the festival for which it was written. The second and most obscure version of the music was heavily reworked, called "Dream of the Young Peasant Lad" and intended to be part of an opera which he never finished. According to the All Music Guide, "as a boy dreams on a hill, he is threatened by inhuman voices and finds himself mocked in the realm of shadows. The voices warn of the Devil and the "Black God" Chernobog; as the shadows fade, both appear. Chernobog is glorified, a Black Mass is sung, and a Witches' Sabbath breaks out. As a church bell intones, Chernobog disappears and the demons writhe in agony. A church choir sings, the demons fade away, awakening the boy." Sound familiar?
    • For the Dance of the Hours sequence, the animators studied hours and hours of ballet footage to be sure to create an accurate parody.
  • Sinister Nudity: Among the various demons that Chernabog summons to serve him during "Night on Bald Mountain" include harpies, which are all topless and can be seen tossing damned souls into the flames.
  • Solid Clouds: The cupids from the "Pastoral Symphony" segment sleep on clouds.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Silly Symphonies shorts, which had ended the year before. Like them, it sets symphonic music to animated visuals, some of which are indeed very silly.
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: One centaurette is pushed on a swing by her mate.
  • That Russian Squat Dance: Performed by thistles.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Hyacinth Hippo is comically obese whereas her partner Ben Ali Gator is very slim, short, and flexible. He can't even lift her over his head while they're dancing without great difficulty.
  • That's No Moon: Okay, Night On Bald Mountain needed a demon god, as they were basing the scene from an unfinished opera, but why not make him so big, he's literally the peak of the mountain?
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The Rite of Spring section includes a total eclipse happening at the end. When it nears totality, a huge earthquake happens with mountains forming and tsunamis wreaking havoc on the desolate land, coinciding with the music. By the time it reaches totality, the eclipsed sun sets over the barren Earth, so who knows how long the eclipse would have lasted. Likely Truth in Television, as the moon was closer to Earth 66 million years ago.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Due to sexist hiring practices of the time, there are only two women in the orchestra, both playing the harp.
  • Unicorn: Some little technicolour ones are among the first creatures we see in the Pastoral. When Bacchus shows up later, he's riding on a unicorn donkey.
  • Villain Protagonist: Chernabog is the central character of the "Night on Bald Mountain" short.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Chernabog, although the rest is covered by the mountain peak.
  • Weakened by the Light: Chernabog is driven to submission by daybreak.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Chernabog and his minions vanish when the churchbell rings.
  • Zebras Are Just Striped Horses: The "Pastoral Symphony" sequence features a pair of African centaurs whose equine half is that of a zebra.

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which appears in both films, provides examples of 
  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: Mickey, as the Apprentice, sets a magic broom to the task of fetching water from a well and pouring it into a cauldron, then goes to sleep and wakes to the room flooded with water since he never told the broom to stop. Then he finds he can't stop it and when he tries chopping the broom to bits, every bit becomes a new broom, all "programmed" to fetch water and throw it into the cauldron. It takes the return of the Sorcerer himself to stop the brooms (and save the apprentice from drowning).
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Even though the building got flooded during his absence and he's the one who had to clean up the mess, the Sorcerer can't help but smirk after Mickey's little adventure, even while he whacks Mickey's behind with the broom.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: While the story is adapted fairly faithfully, Yen Sid's anger at his apprentice is not in the original Goethe poem.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A comic adaptation added in an opening in which Mickey, wanting to be a sorcerer like Yen Sid (who in the movie, has no onscreen name), comes to his castle.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: All because Mickey doesn't know the spell to give the enchanted broom an off switch.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Mickey enchants some brooms to help him out with his chores. It doesn't go according to plan.
  • Asteroids Monster: Mickey chops up the broom to make it stop fetching water; the splinters reanimate and create new brooms to fetch more water.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Mickey's Sorcerer appearance is almost as famous as him wearing his red shorts and oversized yellow shoes!
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The iconic hat gives Mickey magic powers, or at least amplifies his own puny ones.
  • Crashing Dreams: In the middle of the segment, Mickey falls asleep and dreams he's a powerful wizard able to command the heavens and the tides. As the tides are crashing around him, he falls out of his chair and wakes up to see that the room is overflowing with too much water.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Yen Sid does this to Mickey. This was actually based on something Walt often did.
  • From Bad to Worse: Mickey chops up the broom to make it stop flooding the building. This duplicates the broom and exponentially increases the rate of flooding, to the point of almost drowning Mickey.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Mickey enchants a broom to do his chore of filling the cauldron with water for him. It works too well, and the enchanted broom becomes an Absurdly Dedicated Worker (see above).
  • Hat of Power: The sorcerer's wizard hat that Mickey borrows.
  • Hope Spot: Not knowing how to stop the out of control broom magically, Mickey simply grabs a nearby axe and forcefully chops up the broom into hundreds of pieces. Just when he thinks his troubles are over, however, each broom piece starts to twitch, and then the pieces reconstitute themselves into hundreds of new brooms.
  • Inept Mage: Mickey. As explained in the opening, he knew enough about magic to animate the broom and have it fetch water... but not enough to make it stop.
  • Monochrome to Color: All color disappears after Mickey hacks the living broom to bits, with the color gradually reappearing when the bits turn into new brooms.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Literally, as Mickey tries to destroy the water-bucket-carrying broom with an axe, only for each splintered piece of wood to grow into another full-sized water-bucket-carrying broom.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Mickey's face when he stops in the middle of walking away, and realizes that the broom he just chopped up into hundreds of pieces reconstituted into hundreds of brooms.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Mickey does it when handing back the wizard hat to his master.
  • Parting the Sea: In the climax of "Sorcerer's Apprentice", when Mickey is in danger of drowning due to the excess water the brooms keep fetching, the sorcerer arrives and waves his hands to part the flood waters, until the whole castle is dry.
  • Power Glows: Both Yen Sid and his Hat of Power.
  • Power Incontinence: Mickey finds it quite easy to animate his master's broom and have it fetch water for him, but he isn't experienced enough in magic to know how to make the broom stop fetching water, and when he tries to chop the broom into pieces, all that does is create more brooms with more buckets, and poor Mickey soon finds himself in way over his head— literally, as the room starts to flood.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Both Mickey and Yen Sid wear classic wizard robe. Yen Sid's hat is Hat of Power (see above) which Mickey wore that caused chaos.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The sorcerer is officially named Yen Sid, backwards for Disney.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Mickey's chopping up the broomstick is shown only as a shadow on a wall.
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: The Trope Namer, for the plot follows Mickey trying to use his master's powers for his own convenience, only to discover that he's unable to control it when things spiral out of control.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Mickey's last line when meeting Stokowski ("Well, so long! I'll be seeing ya!") is taken from Brave Little Tailor. The original line in the short ended, "I hope."
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: The sorcerer's hat is adorned with star and moon symbols.


Video Example(s):


Dance of the Hours

It's love at first sight for Ben Ali Gator, and although Hyacinth Hippo plays coy at first, soon they are courting each other in a magnificent ballet.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / InterspeciesRomance

Media sources: