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Fantasia

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(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Fantasia. The music for The Nutcracker Suite plays in the background)

Doug (vo): Riding high with the success of Snow White and Pinocchio, it’s interesting that Disney decided to do something 100% different for their third film. Fantasia doesn’t have a narrative story. Hell, it doesn’t even have any dialogue apart from the host. It’s just an experiment of taking classical music and combining it with great Disney animation. It’s not one story, it’s several stories, and half the time, they’re not even really stories. The opening is just a collection of abstract imagery that goes along with the music, like what your mind might be thinking when hearing it for the first time. And I friggin' love it. It’s not just one of my favorite Disney films, it’s one of my favorite films, period.

Story and reviewEdit

Doug (vo): Remember what I was saying before with emotional simplicity? You could argue that this is the film that masters it. Whereas I describe both Snow White and Pinocchio as emotional stories, this is what I like to call an emotional experience. It’s not based on narrative as much as moments, and life is made up of very unique moments, so I don’t think there’s really any problem in putting them together in a movie, especially if they do get an emotional response. Sometimes, it creates a confusing response, like the one with the dinosaurs.

[Clips from "The Rite of Spring" segment are shown]

Doug (vo): I never know how to feel watching that. Sometimes they’re threatening, sometimes they’re cute, and then through the course of the piece, they’re just gone. I remember as a kid, I had no idea what to think of that. It’s just sort of something that happened and you draw your own conclusions.

[Clips from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment are shown]

Doug (vo): Some definitely do have a flowing narrative, like the most famous one, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This is actually how the film came about. Disney just wanted to make this short with Mickey Mouse as a magician. But as the expenses for it got bigger and bigger, they finally just shrugged and said, “Hey, why don’t we do a couple of these and just turn it into a flick?”

[Various clips resume showing]

Doug (vo): The result is some booming fantastic music with some booming fantastic animation. I think sometimes, just the falling of leaves can be so much more powerful than the emotional conflict that a character is going through. If the film is done right, it can suck you into something so simple and yet so oddly profound, and Disney animators were great at that. They could find the ballet, the movement, the music, anything that was poetic in, well, really anything, even just the changing of seasons.

[Clips from "Night at Bald Mountain/Ave Maria" segment are shown]

Doug (vo): I stated this before, but my absolute favorite is the ending: both the Night on Bald Mountain and the Ave Maria. Even if you don’t have a religious background, just the very basic emotional levels they have here are really high. The contrast in putting these two together is just brilliant, and the belief that something much darker than you can imagine or more inspiring than you can imagine is definitely there.

[Various clips resume showing]

Doug (vo): Disney wanted to do a lot more of these and have this be a continuing film series, but sadly, the film didn’t make the money that it needed. Oh, it made a lot of money. It was, like, the second or third highest-grossing film that year, but it didn’t matter. The film cost a fortune to make and, financially, it just didn’t make sense to make any more. [Poster of "Fantasia 2000" is shown] They did make one sequel years later, though we’ll get to that one when we come around to it.

Final thoughtEdit

Doug (vo): For this film, though, Fantasia is a powerhouse of art. In fact, it’s actually like going to an art museum, except with motion and music. As you can imagine, though, it’s not as geared for kids as the other Disney flicks. There’s nothing really troubling or bad about it that kids can’t watch. I remember watching Bald Mountain fine when I was young. But with the exception of maybe Sorcerer’s Apprentice, there’s nothing here that’s immediately geared towards them. This was the animated Disney film almost strictly for adults. And while kids could watch it, it wasn’t exactly their film. It was more for the grown-ups, and those who love it really love it, and it still continues to be one of my faves.

[The ending of "The Nutcracker Suite" segment is shown]

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