Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fantasia 2000 (1999)

Weak, but ambitious follow-up to the 1941 Walt Disney classic presenting several animated vignettes set to immediately recognizable, iconic classical music. While the essential elements of Fantasia have been transplanted here, somewhere between the obviousness of the music (only Ave Maria and The Nutcracker Suite were as universally familiar as the choices here), the rotating star introductions (Steve Martin, ok, but Bette Midler, Penn and Teller, and Quincy Jones?), and the thin nature of the stories themselves (i.e., Donald Duck as Noah building his ark), the classiness, energy, and profundity of the original are lost in this installment. Only one segment, a tribute to New York set to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," brings anything new and interesting to the proceedings, for the '41 Fantasia did not concern itself with urbanity and modern civilization. Even with the tune and animation heavily evoking Woody Allen's Manhattan, the jaunty, stylized animation provides a depiction of New York City that manages to be truly signature and exciting. If one or two of the other pieces managed to impress as much as the Gershwin segment, this would have been a thoroughly worthwhile and rewatchable endeavor. As is, it exists as merely a pale tribute to Walt Disney's original ambition of a continuing series of abstract, elemental animated films set to classical music.

Skip it, save for the following segment.

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