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Western Animation / Fantasia 2000

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The return of the ultimate in sight and sound.

Fantasia 2000 is a 1999 American animated anthology film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 38th film in the Disney Animated Canon, the first entry released after the conclusion of the Disney Renaissance (and consequently can be considered a transitory film marking the shift from The Renaissance Age of Animation to The Millennium Age of Animation), and the sequel to the 1940 film Fantasia. As with its predecessor the film consists of animated segments set to pieces of classical music, with The Sorcerer's Apprentice being the only segment that is featured in both films. The soundtrack was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Levine. A group of celebrities introduce each segment in live-action scenes including Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Bette Midler, Penn & Teller, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, and Angela Lansbury.

Production began in 1990, and the film featured computer generated imagery, as well as hand-drawn backgrounds in certain sequences. Peter Schickele worked with Levine on the musical arrangement of each musical piece.

Fantasia 2000 premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 17, 1999 as part of a five-city concert tour, with performances in London, Paris, Tokyo, and Pasadena, California. An exclusive release in IMAX theaters followed from January 1 to April 30, 2000, becoming the first animated feature-length film issued in the format. It had its nationwide premiere on June 16, 2000.

The sequences in this one include:

  • Symphony No. 5, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven.note  Like Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, this is an "abstract" sequence, featuring butterfly-like triangles flitting about.
  • Pines of Rome, composed by Ottorino Respighi. note  This one features a family of humpback whales that fly.note 
  • Rhapsody in Blue, composed by George Gershwin. In this sequence, several city people in 1930s New York go about their lives, set to the lively jazz-inspired music of Gershwin with visuals inspired by the drawings of Al Hirschfeld.note 
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major (first movement), composed by Dmitri Shostakovich. Basically, this one is Hans Christian Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier set to music, and it would be the last time Disney adapted one of Andersen's works until Frozen (2013) 13 years later. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major is also the first and only piece of music in this film composed after the original Fantasia's original theatrical release.note 
  • The Carnival of the Animals, Finale composed by Camille Saint-Saëns. This one centers on a flamingo playing with a yo-yo, much to the disapproval of his peers.note 
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice,note  back by popular demand.note 
  • Pomp and Circumstance, composed by Edward Elgar. This scene is based on the story of Noah's Ark, featuring Donald Duck as Noah's assistant and Daisy Duck as Donald's wife.note 
  • Firebird Suite, composed by Igor Stravinsky. A sprite brings spring to a forest, only to accidentally awaken the fierce Firebird.note 

Previews: Trailer

Fantasia 2000 provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: Duke for the other characters in "Rhapsody in Blue." His quitting his construction job means that Joe gets his construction equipment, and a spot on the night shift. Rachel's ball bounces off him as he's navigating traffic, leading to her parents seeing her in danger and coming to her rescue. Joe in turn accidentally saves John from his wife by picking her up with a crane hook.
  • Accidental Pervert: Implied by offscreen dialogue and sound effects. Before Mickey Mouse has found Donald Duck in the shower, he accidentally walks in on Daisy Duck in her dressing room while she was getting dressed, causing her to shriek. Mickey quickly apologizes to her and closes the door.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the original Hans Christian Andersen story The Steadfast Tin Soldier, both the Tin Soldier and the Ballerina he loves die in a fireplace. In the adaptation for Fantasia 2000, they both live. The main reason for this change in the Disney adaptation is because the writers of the film actually did not want to cause any Soundtrack Dissonance considering the fact that the musical piece accompanying this scene is an optimistic-sounding one.
  • Agony of the Feet: A hippo steps on Donald Duck's foot. Donald Duck hops around clutching his hurt foot, his beak open in a scream that the audience doesn't hear over the music.
  • All the Other Reindeer: The other soldiers don't like the one-legged Tin Soldier because his missing leg makes him clumsy.
  • Alone Among the Couples: Donald and Daisy both during the Noah's Ark sequence. As each believes the other drowned in the flood, the two mourn their loss while staring longingly at all the other animal couples on the boat (all while narrowly missing seeing each other).
  • Animalistic Abomination: As an Elemental Embodiment of volcanic destruction, the Firebird is less like what its name suggests and more of a landscape-devouring Blob Monster that seems to prefer an avian form.
  • Animated Actors: In one of the commentaries of Fantasia 2000, Mickey Mouse commentates with Roy Disney on Sorcerer's Apprentice; apparently it took over forty takes to dance down the stairs and they had to borrow brooms from Warner Bros. in addition to bringing in the whole union. During Pomp and Circumstance, Donald Duck comes in near the end asking where the song they promised him for working with all those animals is, which results in the commentary room flooding. "Does anyone remember where we parked the ark?"
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The toys in The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
  • Annual Title: The 2000 in the title relates to the fact that it was released in the year 2000. At 12:00 midnight on the first day of the year, no less.
  • Artistic License Physics: In "Rhapsody in Blue", the girl knocks her ball horizontally out the window, yet it falls straight down, hitting the steps. As if that weren't enough, she and her nanny rush down the steps so quickly that they almost beat gravity and arrive at the front door an instant after the ball hits.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The Sorcerer's Apprentice is presented in its original aspect ratio. However, the sequence afterward where Mickey shakes hands with Stokowski was switched to widescreen to seamlessly have Mickey run up to Levine.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: The baby whale in the Pines of Rome sequence. D'awwww.
  • Bald of Evil: The jack-in-the-box in The Steadfast Tin Soldier is actually bald, which the ballerina finds quite amusing.
  • Bible Times: "Pomp and Circumstance" is a retelling of the Noah's Ark story.
  • Birds of a Feather: The Tin Soldier initially thinks that he and the Ballerina could be this because he first sees her balanced on one foot, with her other leg hidden by her skirt. He's crestfallen when she stands up straight, but she accepts his flower and flirts with him anyway.
  • Black Comedy: "Pomp and Circumstance" has a unicorn, dragon, and gryphon(?) sitting aside and laughing at the idea that God will flood the Earth while the other animals are boarding the ark. What follows is pretty obvious.
  • Break the Cutie: The sprite. She gets better, though.
  • Brick Joke: Overlaps with The Stinger, as after the credits, Steve Martin is still waiting for the camera to come back to him as the production logo forms.
    Steve Martin: "Camera back on me. Uh, camera back on me, please. Anyone, hello? Hello? Could someone give me a ride home?
  • Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: In the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment, the main characters watch two skaters and imagine themselves living out their dreams; for the Henpecked Husband John, that means flying like a bird.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Daisy's falling pendant, introduced during the beginning of the storm in pomp and circumstance, reunites both Donald and Daisy at the end when she loses it again.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In "Carnival of the Animals," the background is green when Our Hero has the upper hand and yellow when the Snooty Six do.
  • Continuity Nod: Besides the actual discussion on the first film, 2000 begins with a speech on the "types of music" that is taken straight from the first film.
    • The ending of the first film, with its Mood Whiplash, Dark Is Evil/Light Is Good structure set up between Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria, is mirrored in the ending for 2000, where the horror and evil of the Firebird is contrasted within one song by the sprite and her glorious restoration of spring.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Eric Goldberg was one of the four main artistic directors on 2000; he animated the flamingos and Rhapsody in Blue. That's him drawing at the light table, and handing James Earl Jones the sheet of paper.
    • A posthumous, animated creator cameo is done with George Gershwin in the Rhapsody in Blue segment. Gershwin is the man playing the piano, upstairs from the little girl's piano lesson.
  • Damsel in Distress: The Ballerina in the "Steadfast Tin Soldier" does get in one good shot with a rubber ball when the Jack-in-the-Box attacks, but there's otherwise not a lot she can do to defend herself, especially not once she's trapped under a drinking glass. Even when the Jack-in-the-Box frees her, she visibly tries to get away from him but he's bigger and stronger.
  • Dirty Cop: A brief but rather funny example in Rhapsody in Blue. Jobless Joe picks up an apple that seems to have fallen from a fruit stand, and heavily considers eating it himself (being broke and starving), but ultimately chooses to leave it. Just as he's about to put it back, a policeman arrives and calls him out for stealing... and then proceeds to eat the apple himself once Jobless Joe is gone.
  • Disney Death:
    • One of the little butterfly...things in the "5th Symphony" video has its wing broken while trying to protect its baby from a swarm of evil bat...things, and soon afterward gets swarmed, leading us to assume it died. In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment at the end, however, it turns out to be alive.
    • The Spring Sprite seems to have perished during the Firebird's attack, but the stag later finds her alive (but broken-hearted, and it takes his encouragement for her to return to form).
  • Disneyfication: The adaptation of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, though that was mostly from the original ending not matching the music. Check out the storyboard reel on the DVD for that.
  • Disney Villain Death: Shown in The Steadfast Tin Soldier when the Jack-in-the-Box falls into the fireplace.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: During the Firebird Suite, a noble-looking stag watches as his once-peaceful forest home burns to the ground.
  • Don't Sneak Up on Me Like That!: When the one-legged soldier accidentally knocks his fellow soldiers over from behind, as they spring upright, they defensively point their rifles at him before realizing it was just him, so they turn around and resume marching.
  • Easter Egg: If you've got time to kill, watch the Rhapsody in Blue sequence with your finger on the pause button, to see all the names hidden in the background elements. It's a Shout-Out to Al Hirschfeld, who hid the name of his daughter Nina in his drawings from time to time.
  • Explosive Breeder: The horde of baby bunnies exiting the Ark.
  • Eye Awaken: The Firebird.
  • The Faceless:
    • During "Pomp and Circumstance", we never get a clear view of Noah's face from the front.
    • Also, most of the humans in Piano Concerto No. 2 (or The Steadfast Tin Soldier, whatever title you prefer).
  • Fertile Feet: The Spring Sprite in Firebird. More like fertile fingertips. And tears.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Mickey and Minnie are seen for a split second on the ark in Pomp and Circumstance.
  • Furry Confusion: Lampshaded most brilliantly in Pomp and Circumstance, when Donald does a double take at a pair of realistically-drawn ducks boarding the Ark.
  • Grande Dame: John's wife in Rhapsody in Blue.
  • The Great Depression: The implied setting for Rhapsody in Blue, or around that era at the least.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: The Jack-in-the-Box in The Steadfast Tin Soldier sequence has a jester's hat with bells on the tips.
  • Henpecked Husband: John, the fourth main character in Rhapsody in Blue.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In Rhapsody in Blue, since every taxi passes right by, Duke grabs a kid's scooter and immediately charges off on it, though at least he had the decency to give him some money. A fistful of cash, to be exact.
  • Hot Wings: The Firebird.
  • Human Traffic Jam: As the rest of the toy soldiers march in single file, the one-legged soldier hurries to catch up, hops Too Fast to Stop, and accidentally bumps into the last soldier in line, knocking them all over onto their faces.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: A hippo steps on Donald Duck's foot. Donald Duck hops around clutching his hurt foot, his beak open in a scream that the audience doesn't hear over the music.
  • Imagine Spot: The skating rink scene in Rhapsody in Blue, where all the characters imagine what their fantasies would be.
  • Jump Scare: The chord when the Firebird first opens its eyes.
  • Kiss Up the Arm: On Noah's Ark, the female dove holds out her wing for the male dove to gently peck his way from her outstretched wingtip towards her shoulder. Donald Duck, angry and emotional from being Alone Among the Couples, interrupts by grabbing and throwing the male dove.
  • Lighter and Softer: 2000 has each musical segment introduced by a celebrity guest, and most of the introductions take a somewhat comedic tone, which when contrasted with Deems Taylor's narration of the original causes 2000 to come across as less adult-oriented. The segments themselves often veer into more zany territory than the original film's, with a lower amount of atmospheric or somber pieces.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Rachel (the little girl) in Rhapsody in Blue. Unlike most Lonely Rich Kids, though, what she longs for is not friends her own age, but to spend quality time with her hard-working parents.
  • The Marvelous Deer: In the Firebird Suite, it's an elk that awakens the nature spirit and encourages her when she despairs after the eruption.
  • Missed Him by That Much: In "Pomp and Circumstance", Donald goes out looking for Daisy just as she comes in looking for him, and they subsequently spend the entire voyage of the Ark narrowly missing each other and each believing the other has drowned.
  • Monochrome to Color: The "Firebird Suite" segment has the forest after the Firebird destroys it shot in dull ashen grey. The color returns once the Sprite restores it.
  • Murder by Cremation: At the end of the Steadfast Tin Soldier segment, the evil Jack-in-the-Box is flung into a fire while attempting to kill the titular tin soldier. To be fair, all the tin soldier had to do was put up his rifle when the Jack-in-the-Box was flying at him with his sword; Jack's own momentum carried him the rest of the way. (Though it's pretty clear that's what the soldier was going for.)
  • Mythology Gag:
    • To past Disney films and characters, especially "Pomp and Circumstance".
      • The snake that's about to eat the mice towards the end of "Pomp and Circumstance" looks an awful lot like Kaa from The Jungle Book (1967).
      • And the elephants are Winifred and Hathi!
      • The lions resemble Simba and Nala from The Lion King (1994). The shot over the bird's back revealing the ark also mirrors the similar shot of Zazu revealing Pride Rock.
      • The frilled lizards come from Frank in The Rescuers Down Under.
      • The hippo that stomps on Donald's foot during the exit from the arc seems to have ditched her tutu since the last time we saw her.
      • A duo of penguins are right out of Mary Poppins.
    • John the Henpecked Husband from "Rhapsody in Blue" bears a passing resemblance to Snoops from The Rescuers. This is not a coincidence since both characters were modeled after late animation historian John Culhane.
  • Nature Spirit: The sprite in Firebird Suite.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The sprite in the Firebird Suite accidentally awakens the titular firebird, which almost kills her and the forest.
  • Noah's Story Arc: There's a segment where Donald Duck is a deckhand on Noah's ark responsible for getting the animals onboard, including two non-anthropomorphic ducks.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The animation for Pines of Rome is about as far from pines or Rome as it's possible to get. Violinist Itzhak Perlman lampshades this in his introduction to the sequence.
  • No Power, No Color: As an embodiment of life and nature, the Spring Sprite is a vibrant green. However, after the Firebird burns down her forest, she turns grey, representing both the predominant colour in the now devastated landscape and her own despair.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Don't ask how Rachel's parents made it from their skyscraper offices to rescue her from ongoing traffic. We just know they managed to get to the street in seconds, if not minutes.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the Firebird Suite, the sprite has a moment of horror when she accidentally awakens the Firebird and brings about the complete destruction of the forest.
    • The doorman in Rhapsody in Blue as well, when he notices the patrons of the building about to exit en masse.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile:
    • Donald Duck tries to send a male dove to look for signs of land. When the dove slacks off and returns to his sweetheart, Donald Duck roughly grabs him. The dove has a terrified grin on his face before Donald Duck throws him.
    • After the sorcerer cleaned up the flood from Mickey Mouse's magical mishap, the sorcerer glares at Mickey, who pastes a sheepish grin on his face as he returns the sorcerer's "borrowed" hat and a broom. The smile doesn't save Mickey from being swatted on the behind with the broom.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: The nature spirit in Firebird brings the springtime.
  • Painting the Medium: In the theatrical release, when Mickey searches for Donald, he goes from one speaker to the next in a comedic demonstration of the Fantasound technique.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Inverted in Pomp and Circumstance, where Donald wears red clothing, while Daisy wears blue. As does Noah and his wife.
  • The Power of Love: Parental love, no less; Rachel's parents see her chasing her ball into the busy New York streets, going Oh, Crap! at the same time. Cue a cut to the cars stopping, and they're holding her high above any impact point, panting and out-of-breath.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: Duke, the construction worker in the Rhapsody in Blue sequence, eventually quits his job, during The Great Depression no less, to pursue his dream of being a jazz drummer.
  • Rays from Heaven: At the beginning and the end of Pomp and Circumstance.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Firebird is based on the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens (but with more lava than a pyroclastic flow). It also includes the hollowed-out volcano post-eruption and could possibly allude to the incredibly fast regrowth of the forest decimated by the Mount St. Helens eruption (though not as fast as the animation, or course.)
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: When the clerk at "Le Pampered Pooch" presents John with the bill, it unfolds repeatedly until it touches the floor. The actual amount isn't seen, but John's reaction tells enough.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Firebird is awfully similar to Studio Ghibli's green aesops. The DVD commentary by the animators did acknowledge Miyazaki as a source of inspiration.
    • The appearance of the volcano at the end of "Firebird" is based on Mt. St. Helens.
    • The whole concept of Donald and Daisy narrowly missing one another in "Pomp and Circumstance" was partially inspired by Sleepless in Seattle.
    • "Pomp and Circumstance" borrows a number of gags from the Silly Symphony "Father Noah's Ark", including the animals falling from side to side in a big pile as the Ark is rocked by the waves, and a multitude of bunnies exiting the Ark.
    • Much of the text that makes its way into the animated sequences are shoutouts to the creators. In the "Steadfast Tin Soldier" sequence, "Ernst's Fish" is a reference to producer Don Ernst.
    • Rhapsody in Blue for a 12-minute number, is nearly Reference Overdosed. Sequence director Eric Goldberg's name pops up very often, noticeably on the plaque for the "Goldberg Hotel". The "Ninas" that Al Hirschfeld (the artist whose style inspired the look for the number) added in his drawings are present in the animation as well. Hirschfeld, his daughter Nina, his wife Susan, and writer Brooks Atkinson are among some of the people rushing out of the Goldberg Hotel. The original song's composer, George Gershwin, shows up in the sequence as himself, playing the piano one floor above Rachel during her piano lesson.
  • The Sky Is an Ocean: The end of Pines of Rome is a literal example.
  • Space Whale: Pines of Rome features a pod of humpback whales that emerge from the ocean, fly above the land, among the clouds, and finally leap outside the stratosphere into space. No explanation is given - it's something they simply can do.
  • Standard Snippet: Most of the music, although Rhapsody in Blue is stuck in this state, thanks to United Airlines commercials.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: The Spring Sprite sheds some.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: At the end of Rhapsody in Blue, Duke is stuck between working as a builder or play the drums. He chooses to play the drums by throwing away his hat and kicking his drill off the building, where they eventually land on Jobless Joe.
  • Treated Worse than the Pet: John from Rhapsody in Blue is a cheerful, fun-loving man, but his tyrannical wife drags him around to spend his money on stuff for her equally nasty dog and carry the packages. By a stroke of luck, he finds himself free from both, at least for one night, when the woman is accidentally caught by a construction crane hook.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: James Earl Jones asks "Who wrote this?" after animator Eric Goldberg hands him a synopsis of the "Carnival of the Animals" segment.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: At one point during the Steadfast Tin Soldier segment, the Ballerina, upset at the Jack-in-The-Box wanting to apologize for what happened to the Tin Soldier with a bouquet of roses, rejects his apology and still decides to wait for the Tin Soldier to come back instead.
  • World-Healing Wave: The nature spirit in the Firebird suite gives a glorious example of this.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The firebird in the Firebird suite.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The Steadfast Tin Soldier is menaced by frightening rats with glowing red eyes.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: One of the triangle-butterfly-things pulls this in Symphony No. 5, fighting off some of the evil bat-things and getting injured so its smaller friend can escape. The ending reveals that it survived, though.


Video Example(s):


Despairing in the ark (Fantasia 2000)

Thinking that their partner was drown, Both Donald and Daisy despair over their loss of their love while they look at the amounts of couples in the ark

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AloneAmongTheCouples

Media sources: