Fantasia 2000 Review

Image for Fantasia 2000

60 years after the original, Disney created a new Fantasia with all-new animated creations sitting alongside a spruced up Sorceror's Apprentice.


When Walt Disney released Fantasia in 1940, he hoped to continually revise the format in order to combine new segments with old favourites. Now, 60 years on, his nephew Roy has resurrected the idea to celebrate the millennium. But, like the original, the sequel is a curates egg, with moments of hilarity and beauty alternating with the pompous and the banal.

The eco theme informing the opening recurs throughout the picture. But neither the sight of geometric butterflies fluttering frantically to the strains of Beethoven's Fifth, nor the concluding renewal fantasy enacted to Stravinsky's Firebird have the abstract grace of the original's Toccata and Fugue. Even less successful is the winsome dance of the flying whales to Respighi's Pines Of Rome, which is further marred by the impersonality of the computer-generated imagery.

In contrast to these more impressionistic pieces, three episodes tell simple stories. Mickey Mouse returns in a newly digitised version of The Sorceror's Apprentice, while Hans Christian Andersen's fable of the Steadfast Soldier is unfussily related to the accompaniment of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto #2. Finally, Donald and Daisy Duck have a charmless adventure onboard Noah's Ark, which is not improved by the replacement of Donald's trademark bluster by Elgar's Pomp And Circumstance.

The real invention is saved for a day in the life... segment inspired by the cartooning of Al Hirschfeld and underscored by Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue. But, while this New York portmanteau exploits the urban vibrance of the music, it is also guilty of some dubious racial and sexual caricaturing. Free of any such lapses is the gleefully silly episode in which a mischievous flamingo causes havoc with a yoyo to Saint-Saens' Carnival Of The Animals. Dressed up in IMAX, Fantasia 2000 is a breathtaking spectacle. But bereft of its scale, it hardly justifies the 60-year wait.

Although this is slightly more successful than the original, it's still a mixed bag of delights. However, it is more kid friendly - especially with the addition of a Donal Duck short.