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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> April 2000 >> Fantasia/2000


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
April 2000
IMDB Name:
Fantasia/2000 (1999)
James Algar (segment "The Sorceror's Apprentice")
Gaëtan Brizzi (segment "Firebird Suite")
Paul Brizzi (segment "Firebird Suite")
Hendel Butoy (segments "Pines of Rome", "Steadfast Tin Soldier, The")
Francis Glebas (segment "Pomp and Circumstance, Marches #1, 2, 3 and 4")
Eric Goldberg (segments "Rhapsody in Blue", "Carnival of the Animals")
Don Hahn (host segments)
Pixote Hunt (segment "Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, Allegro con Brio")
animated-feature, musical
MPAA Rating:

Incredible IMAX

Fantasia/2000 is a cinematic experience if for no other reason than because it is an IMAX movie. IMAX combines large film stock, an absurdly huge screen, and a monstrous sound system to create a feeling of immersion. When a screen occupies this much of your field of vision, it's fantastic. If it weren't for the noisier kids in the crowd, you could really lose yourself in both the audio and the video. As far as the audio is concerned, the new recordings of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under James Levine are a near-perfect way to show off the power of the system. Symphony orchestras don't lend themselves to much surround sound unless you pick a piece with some antiphonal stuff, like Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome". Of course, since I saw Fantasia/2000 on the last day that theaters were contractually obligated by Disney to show it, it may no longer be available in IMAX.


Animation opens the doors on some wonderful possibilities for images that would be virtually impossible to do live action. Some of the best segments present the impossible, like the flying whales set to Pines or the playful flamingo set to the conclusion of "Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint-Saëns. The abstract interpretation of the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was enjoyable for its simplicity of concept as well as for the complexity of its execution. I only wish they had done something with the incredible fourth movement, which is not nearly as overused. The Manhattan segment set to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" was dazzling for its stylistic choices that blended the abstract with the down-to-earth so well. Throughout, the quality of the animation is dazzling, and brought to life by the impact of the giant screen. It's a shame that "Sorceror's Apprentice" is made to look so bad in the transfer to the rich resolution of IMAX. It still has as much charm as it once did, but it looks like a relic stretched to fill a screen much larger than that for which it was intended.

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Copyright 2000-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.