Classic Music Meets Classic Animation – Review of Fantasia

25th February, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on Classic Music Meets Classic Animation – Review of Fantasia

Simply put, Fantasia is a different kind of movie. Growing up, I thought it was extremely boring. When I got into high school and was a member of the band, classical music was more interesting to me. The movie wasn’t so bad then. All these years later, I wondered if my viewing would revert to when I was a child or a teenager. I’d say it was somewhere in between. The animation and music definitely build upon each other, but it took me getting used to it again. At the beginning, I couldn’t believe how long it was dragging on. But by the end, it felt like it had ended so fast.

Disney put a lot of money into the animation of Fantasia, and it shows. Some sequences are very impressive. Modern animation studios would never dream of traditionally animating them now. I can think of a few shots that look almost as if they were done with the 3D CGI technology of today.

For animated sequences without any dialogue, some of the characters are surprisingly memorable. I think my personal favorite is the little mushroom from the Nutcracker Suite segment. I also was touched by the plight of the Stegosaurus in The Rite of Spring. When the carnivore (supposedly a Tyrannosaurus, but it had three rather than two fingers—any seven-year-old boy could tell you that such is not a Tyrannosaurus) bit its head and shook it, I was actually horrified. That poor Stegosaurus. . .

Speaking of violence, I understand that the movie might not be of as much interest to children as Pinocchio or Snow White, but I was a little surprised. Honestly, the violence wasn’t too bad (just that poor Stegosaurus being bit on the head), but Night on Bald Mountain is a little frightening. And there is nudity in several segments. I recognize that there is a difference between nudity and sexuality, but I am still surprised that the film is only rated G. Add to that the fact that one of its re-releases (1969) was marketed to the hippie crowd who used psychedelic drugs to enhance the movie (if you call it an enhancement). I’d also bash on the racism from the centaurs, but Disney has cleaned that one up in recent years (or at least tried to).

In any case, Fantasia deserves the acclaim that has followed it throughout the ages. It has been lauded as Walt Disney’s most artsy endeavor. And I think I agree. But that doesn’t change the fact that I studied literature in college—not art or music. I liked Fantasia, but it just doesn’t rank high on my list.

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