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  • Writer's pictureCollin Souter

Week # 51: "Fantasia 2000"

(Originally published on 12/20/22)


Fantasia 2000

Run time: 74 min.

Release Date: December 17, 1999

Where/when I first saw it: At Lincolnshire IMAX, sometime in 2000 (late in its run)

How I watched it today: Blu-ray, Sunday evening

At the close of the 20th century, roughly 80 years after Walt Disney produced his first animated short, the Disney studios finally produced a film that harkened back to the roots of their animated feature films while also giving a modern update to the “Fantasia” format. Utilizing both 2-D animation and computer animation and showcasing it (in its original release) in a stunning IMAX presentation, the artists freed themselves from the fairy tale/literary adaptation formula of the previous 10 years to go back to doing what it had always done best: visual storytelling through an artform that allowed for limitless possibilities.

These animators and directors were very well up to the task, utilizing the IMAX format to create an animation spectacle that had never been seen on quite that scale before, with a killer soundtrack to boot. I wish I could see it in this format again. The blu-ray can only do so much. Even the guest introduction segments have an appealing color palette. The film really feels like an event every time I watch it.There are so many images that belong on a 2-story screen… the majestic flying humpback whales in “Pines of Rome,” the fluid, poetic chaos of “Rhapsody In Blue,” Donald Duck saving countless animals in “Pomp and Circumstance” and the spiritual savior of the forest soaring to the heavens in “Firebird Suite.”

One could argue that “Fantasia 2000” comes up a bit short in the surrealism or abstract art department that the first one braved with the greatest of ease. With only a 74 minute runtime, this film mostly plays it safe by having most of the pieces telling a fairly straightforward narrative. The host segments also seem more lighthearted than before. These are all valid criticisms, but in the moment of watching the film, they hardly ever occur to me. Watching it this time, after spending a year viewing all the Disney animated features in chronological order (starting with “Steamboat Willie” in January and ending with this and “Dinosaur” in late December), it is a breath of fresh air to not hear any Lite FM songs and to see Mickey and Donald again as well. It’s like coming back home to where I started with this project.


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