The Fantasia Anthology (DVD-2000)
Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski
Pictures has just released a special three-DVD boxed set called The Fantasia Anthology.
The set includes the original Fantasia, Fantasia
2000 and a supplemental disk called The Fantasia Legacy.
Both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 are available singly. For the Legacy disk, you must buy the set.
When Fantasia was released to theatres in 1940, it was not a commercial success. It did
indeed play in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco at single theatres for over a year as a novel cinematic experience,
but its general release, devoid of its special Fantasound surround sound process, did not fare well. It was not until later releases, specifically in the late 1960’s and beyond that it became a popular,
celebrated feature achieving legendary status.
himself never lived to see the commercial and artistic success of Fantasia—but
it had been his wish to see Fantasia continue, with new animated segments from
time to time.
Fantasia had featured
classical music interpreted in animation by the imagination and creativity of the Disney artists. The film pioneered the use of stereophonic sound nearly 20 years before the first stereophonic phonograph
records were released to home consumers. It featured bravura performances by
Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra and some of the most brilliant animation the world has ever known. Fantasia was a totally unique film experience.
year, Disney released Fantasia 2000—the sequel to Fantasia that Walt Disney had hoped for. The new Fantasia featured new segments and premiered in the gigantic IMAX film format
Like its predecessor, it was an absolute smash in its limited release in IMAX, but did not fare well in general release,
where its placement among the summer films did not favor it’s further success.
An excellent film, Fantasia 2000’s quality can now be appreciated
anew on DVD.
are some of the extras on the supplemental DVD and on each disc of the two films? Well,
for one, the lost Clair de Lune animated sequence from the original Fantasia as well as the music for this segment conducted by Stokowski. This
segment has never been seen or heard in its entirety before. And there are also the uncompleted sequences from the original
film featuring Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and Sibelius’ Swan of Tuonela.
also two elaborate “making-of” documentaries, one for Fantasia, one
for Fantasia 2000. Other extras include
unused animation, alternate endings, special effects work, behind the scenes footage and Walt Disney himself speaking about
various segments from the film and illustrating their creation. In fact, audio
commentaries on Fantasia include both the spoken and written words of Disney himself. Other commentaries are provided by Roy Disney, conductor James Levine, and others
associated with the restoration, film history and production of the films. Rare
archival interviews, award-winning shorts, trailers, storyboards and abandoned concepts round out the extras.
about the individual film discs themselves? In a word, Fantasia on DVD is stunning. The remastered and restored picture
is the best transfer this film has ever had and the soundtrack music fidelity has been improved even over its earlier video
extra is additional footage of Deems Taylor introducing each segment as well as the original intermission. All of this footage has remained unseen since 1940. While
the Deems Taylor footage had survived, the sound track for the footage has been lost—so the entire Taylor narration has been re-recorded by another speaker.
As for the
Fantasia 2000 disc, the picture and sound transfer is also superlative and the
film is presented in its intended 1.85 to 1 screen aspect ratio.
Fantasia was one
of the most influential films of the 20th century and this collectors set presents it in its pristine glory—along
with its striking successor—Fantasia 2000. Walt Disney Pictures presents
a special three-DVD collectors’ edition boxed set of great music, technical secrets, and terrific animation that will
elate your spirit: The Fantasia Anthology!