Welcome Back! Fantasia is a huge project, and I didn’t want to break it up into two, but I had to. The first review goes into the introduction, history, the making of Fantasia, the animation, the music, the credits, the originals, and fun facts. The second one focuses on the awards/accomplishments, controversy/complaints, the setting, characters, and then the actual review. If you haven’t read the first review and would like to, here’s the link: https://whenyouwishuponastarblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/fantasia-part-1/
“The first roadshow opened at the Broadway Theatre in New York City on November 13, 1940. The Disneys had secured a year’s lease with the venue that was fully equipped with Fantasound, which took personnel a week working around the clock to install. Proceeds made on the night went to the British War Relief Society for the efforts in the Battle of Britain. Ticket demand was so great that eight telephone operators were employed to handle the extra calls while the adjoining store was rented out to cater the box office bookings. Fantasia ran at the Broadway for forty-nine consecutive weeks, the longest run achieved by a film at the time. Its run continued for a total of fifty-seven weeks until February 28, 1942.” (Wikipedia)
Fantasia broke the long-run record at the venue in its 28th week, breaking the record of Gone with the Wind. It attracted over 500,000 people with reservations from cities 100 of miles. Fantasia grossed over 300,000 in the first 16 weeks in New York, over 20,000 in the first 5 weeks in San Francisco. The first 11 shows earned a total of 1.3 million. In the 1960s, is when Fantasia definitely started making a profit.
When originally released, Fantasia had significant critical acclaim and critics thought it to be a masterpiece. “Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times who considered the film to be a magnificent achievement in film which would go down in film history as a landmark film, noting the rapturous applause the film received by the audience during the various interludes. He stated that Fantasia was “caviar to the general, ambrosia and nectar for the intelligentsia” and considered the film to be “courageous beyond belief”.” (Wikipedia)
“Music critic of the newspaper, Isabel Morse Jones, was highly praising of the soundtrack to the film, believing it to be a “dream of a symphony concert”, an “enormously varied concert of pictorial ideas, of abstract music by acknowledged composers, of performers Leopold Stokowski and orchestra players of Hollywood and Philadelphia, and, for the vast majority, new and wonderful sound effects”. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times, also at the premiere, noted that “motion-picture history was made last night … Fantasia dumps conventional formulas overboard and reveals the scope of films for imaginative excursion … Fantasia … is simply terrific.” Peyton Boswell, an editor at Art Digest, called it “an aesthetic experience never to be forgotten”. Time magazine described the premiere as “stranger and more wonderful than any of Hollywood’s” and the experience of Fantasound “as if the hearer were in the midst of the music. As the music sweeps to a climax, it froths over the proscenium arch, boils into the rear of the theatre, all but prances up and down the aisles.” Dance Magazine devoted its lead story to the film, saying that “the most extraordinary thing about Fantasia is, to a dancer or balletomane, not the miraculous musical recording, the range of color, or the fountainous integrity of the Disney collaborators, but quite simply the perfection of its dancing.” Variety also hailed Fantasia, calling it “a successful experiment to lift the relationship from the plane of popular, mass entertainment to the higher strata of appeal to lovers of classical music.” The Chicago Tribune assigned three writers to cover the film’s Chicago premiere: society columnist Harriet Pribble; film critic Mae Tinee; and music critic Edward Barry. Pribble left amazed at the “brilliantly-attired audience”, while Tinee felt the film was “beautiful … but it is also bewildering. It is stupendous. It is colossal. It is an overwhelmingly ambitious orgy of color, sound, and imagination. ” Barry was pleased with the “program of good music well performed … and beautifully recorded” and felt “pleasantly distracted” from the music to what was shown on the screen. In a breakdown of reviews from both film and music critics, Disney author Paul Anderson found 33% to be “very positive”, 22% both “positive” and “positive and negative”, and 11% negative.” (Wikipedia)
Fantasia holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 8.6 of 10 stars. TV Guide awarded it 4 stars. The Chicago Sun-Times rated it 4 stars. Fantasia was ranked 5th at the 1940 National Board of Review Awards in the Top 10 Films category. Both Disney and Stokowski won Special Awards for the film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards.
In 1990, Fantasia was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. “On the 100th anniversary of cinema in 1995, the Vatican included Fantasia in its list of 45 “great films” made under the Art category; the others being Religion and Values.” (Wikipedia) Fantasia is in 3 lists: #58 in 100 Years… 100 Movies in 1998. The 10 Top 10 List ranked Fantasia #5 under Animation.
Fantasia won two honorary Academy Awards: 1 for Walt Disney and 1 for Leopold Stokowski. Fantasia won for the DVD Exclusive Awards in 2001 for Best DVD Overall Original Supplemental Material. (Anthology) It was also nominated. It was nominated for the Hugo Awards. It won the National Board of Review (Top 10 films.) It won the National Film Preservation. It won the New York Film Critics Circle Award. It won the Online Film & Television Association.
Originally, those that a negative view came from the orchestra community; they had a problem with Stokowski’s rearrangements. Others were upset that combining classical music with animation, stating that the visual images would rob the musical piece’s integrity. Few parents complained about paying the prices for the children, and that the Night on Bald Mountain scene scared them. One critic Dorothy Thomson had compared Fantasia to the Nazi regime; the film is “the abuse of power” and a negative “caricature of the Decline of the west.”
During the 1960s, 4 shots from The Pastoral Symphony were removed that depicted 2 characters in stereotypical manners. A black centaurette named Sunflower was polishing the hooves of a white centaurette. A second named Otika appeared briefly.
In 1992, the Philadelphia Orchestra, sued The Walt Disney Company. The Orchestra demanded since they were co-creators, that they deserved half of the estimated 120 million dollars in profit. In 1994, the lawsuit was dropped when the two parties reached an undisclosed settlement.
“Various criticisms of the depiction of the Centaurettes in this film are aimed at the very idea of a group of feminine and beautiful hybrid creatures. However, the Disney staff likely drew the idea from an established tradition about the beauty of the Kentaurides. Kentaurides were depicted in Greek and Roman mosaics from the Hellenistic era onwards, and their human upper part was always depicted as feminine and attractive. In literature, Ovid described the beautiful kentauris Hylonome and Philostratus of Lemnos (c. 190-230 AD) proclaimed, “How beautiful the Centaurides are”.” (IMDB)
Alright, so one of the complaints that Fantasia gets a lot is the racist centaurettes. There honestly isn’t an excuse for it. But, they knew they were wrong and they removed the characters. Should they have put it? No, but it’s not like they can go back in time and change it. The only thing they can do is solve the problem which they did. So, I don’t think it is fair to bring into “Disney’s history of racism” when they have removed the issue.
Also, they did use two beautiful African centaurettes, especially in a time when African people were not kindly depicted in the media or life.
The next controversy is The Night on Bald Mountain scene. I never found it frightening as a child, but like I’ve said I was a weird child. I think it should be included in the movie. It is the climax of the movie, and to remove it; the movie wouldn’t work as well as it does. The movie has been out for nearly 80 years, so if parents feel like it is a problem, than they can skip the scene. If, they somehow never heard of this scene, then the parents should watch the movie before they show it to their children, to see if it is appropriate.
Besides, those two complaints, Fantasia don’t appear to have any other controversies/complaints and receives much praise.
Fantasia is not an actual location or time. It is just pure fantasy.
The Nutcracker Suite:
- The Fairies- Controls nature; different types depict the different seasons.
- Dewdrop Fairies- Make dewdrops in flowers and the webs have different colors (pink, red, green, emerald with yellow, blue and orange). Dance in the “The Sugar Plum Fairy.”
- Summer Fairies- Green and change spring to summer.
- Autumn Fairies- Orange and Grey and change summer to autumn, which results in the leaves falling and changing color.
- Frost Fairies- Ice Blue, turns autumn to winter, icing lakes and rivers.
- Snowflake Fairies- Pale skin and wear crowns, wears snowflakes, makes snow. The fairies of Summer, Autumn, and Winter dance the “Waltz of the Flowers.”
- Hop Low and the Mushrooms- 6 mushrooms dance The Chinese Dance. 1 is smaller and misses the steps of the dance (Hop Low).
- The Dancing Flowers- Blossoms led by a white flower, the others (blue, pink, orange, yellow) circle around. They dance “Dance of the Reed Flutes.”
- Goldfish- Dance the Arabian dance. 1 goldfish is all alone, and then joined by other goldfish (pink, red, yellow with blue spots.)
- Dancing Thistles and Orchids- Perform Russian Dance. Dancing Thistles are Cossacks and the Orchids are Peasant girls. The thistles (white, pink, rose, red, orange, and yellow) dance after the orchids (white, pink, yellow, blue, violet, and orange). Then they dance as couples.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice:
- Mickey Mouse- the apprentice to the sorcerer.
- Yen Sid- The Sorcerer
- Broomsticks- Broomsticks come alive after Mickey transforms them.
The Rite of Spring:
- Main Dinosaurs are Tyrannosaurus Rex (Villain; kills the Stegosaurus)
- Stegosaurus- Herbivore, Fight scene with T-rex.
- Other species included: Anklyosaurus, Triceratops, Troodon, Archaeopteryx, Brontosaurus, Ornithomimus, Parasaurolophus, Trachodon, Plateosaurus, Massospondylus, Lambeosaurus, Corythosaurus, Diplodocus, Kritosaurus and Gryposaurus, Psittacosaurus, Hypsilophodon, Coelophysis, Brachiosaurus, Yaleosaurus, Chasmosaurus, Camptosaurus, Oviraptor, Camarasaurus, Ceratosaurus, Trilobite, Jellyfish, Polypterus, Aphetoceras, Eusthenopteron, Pterichthyodes, Cladoselache, Placochelys, Elasmosaurus, Tylosaurus, Pteranodon, Lunaspis, Dimetrodon, Nothosaurus, Hallopus, Kannemeyeria, and Dimorphodon.
The Pastoral Symphony:
- Bacchus- God of Wine.
- Jacchus- Bacchus’s unicorn donkey.
- Brudus- Black-haired blue centaur with purple horse legs. Falls in love with Melinda.
- Centaurs- Male centaurs that come in different hair and skin colors, falls in love with centaurettes.
- Melinda- Blonde-hair blue centaurette with pigtails. Falls in love with Brudus.
- Centaurettes- Female centaurs that come in different hair and skin colors, falls in love with centaurs.
- Zebra Centaurettes- Female African Centaurettes that help take care of Bacchus . They are half zebra and half Nubian.
- Cupids- Winged baby creatures that help the centaurettes fall in love and get ready.
- Fauns- Horned creatures that are half goat and half human; play the flute.
- Iris- Goddess of the Rainbow
- Apollo- God of the Sun
- Morpheus- God of the Night and sleep
- Diana- Goddess of the Moon
- Zeus- King of the Gods. Villain in this segment.
- Vulcan- Blacksmith of the Gods and provides Zeus’s thunderbolts.
- Unicorns- Horses with horns on the head; good friends with the Fauns.
- The Pegasus Family- Winged Horses; Focuses mainly on the Father Pegasus (Black), Mother Pegasus (White), and their 5 children (Pink, Blue, Orange, Yellow, and the main one black).
Dance of the Hours:
- Madame Upanova and Ostrich Class- Madame is a pink dressed ostrich, and the others are blue dressed. Likes grapes and dances in the morning.
- Hyacinth Hippo and Hippopotamus Servants- All wear pink and dance in the afternoon. Main hippo sleeps while the servants are made to dance by the alligators. The main alligator falls in love with Hyacinth and dances with her.
- Elephanchine and Elephant Partners- Wear Ballet slippers and dance during the evening; dances with bubbles.
- Ben Ali Gator and Alligator Rivals- Prince of the alligators and wears feather on head. Falls in love with Hyacinth and they dance. The other alligators force elephants to dance. They dance during the night time.
Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria:
- Chernabog- Massive Nocturnal Devil who takes people’s hearts and holds power over restless souls. Walt Disney refers to him as Satan himself.
- Chernabog’s Minions- Evil creatures summoned by Chernabog, including vulture, ghosts, demons, spirits, walking skeletons, goblins, imps, satyrs, zombies, fire women, hags, harpies, and werewolves.
- Monks- Appear with light, cross the meadow, towards the light showing that good always conquers over evil.
Before the Film:
This is one of my favorite Disney movies. Surprisingly, I’ve never met an actual person that has seen it. I know a lot of people online that have seen it and liked it, but I’ve never met a real person. I loved watching this film when I was little, but I was also a weird child. I’ve heard that many people dislike it and children find it boring. So, I would recommend not watching the film as a whole, but as segments. Like, one day watch The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, another day watch The Pastoral Symphony, and so on.
I already own the movie, but I don’t see it on YouTube. I recommend buying the movie though. I bought the whole anthology series so it was kind of pricey, but you could find it for cheap by itself for 14.98. http://www.ebay.com/itm/DISNEYS-FANTASIA-DVD-ANIMATED-MOVIE-VERY-GOOD-E-106-/222161628534?hash=item33b9dd6d76:g:8wYAAOSwOVpXaa01
We start off with the first segment: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. We begin by using color and showing the musicians playing their instruments. They use lightning, rain, wind, and other various shapes combined with the music. It ends with a beautiful colorful finish.
The next segment is The Nutcracker Suite. We are introduced to the fairies. They’re bright and different colors. They change the flower and spider web colors. It’s a really beautiful piece. We then meet The Mushrooms who do The Chinese Dance. Hop Low (the tiny mushroom) tends to be off-beat compared to the others, but keeps trying his best. Then, comes along the flowers that transform into blossoms, and dance away onto the waterfall. We meet the goldfish. It focuses on mainly 1 goldfish, but they all dance the Arabian dance. Then we meet the thistles and orchids. The thistles dance and then the peasant orchids dance together. Next, we are introduced to some new fairies. They change the seasons.
The next segment is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. We meet Mickey carrying two buckets full of water to the well. Yen Sid (the sorcerer) is tired and he goes to bed. Mischievous Mickey Mouse gets the bright idea to wear the Sorcerer’s hat and bring the brooms to life to do his chores. The brooms throw the water in the well until it floods, while Mickey is sleeping. The brooms keep throwing the water in, as Mickey continues to dream until Mickey is woken up. He tries to stop the brooms by cutting them down, but that doesn’t work and they continue their job. Yen Sid comes along, and stops everything, disappointed in Mickey Mouse. Mickey runs to continue his chores while Yen Sid spanks him with a broom.
The Rite of Spring is the next segment. We are introduced to “evolution.” We start off with the sky and then we come across some erupting volcanoes filled with hot lava. Then we see cells and other similar microcosms. After, a very long wait, we are finally introduced to some dinosaurs. We meet all kinds of species of dinosaurs. The two biggest stars are the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Stegosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus looks for his prey where he sees his perfect match, the Stegosaurus. The other dinosaurs run away, as they watch the great battle. They fight it out, the Stegosaurus desperate to live. But, the tyrannosaurus rex proves to be a great foe, and destroys the stegosaurus, devouring him. Then we come across the next scene which is a hot desert. The dinosaurs trudge along, but no food or water, they all die. This scene represents the extinction of the dinosaurs. Earthquakes swallow up the ground, new landforms are created, and a giant flood swallows everything up. Then darkness forms and it is pitch black.
The next segment is the intermission. Basically, the orchestra leaves to take a break. The orchestra comes back, and plays their music. We are then introduced to the soundtrack character. The host explains what he does, and we see what the soundtrack does in animation form.
The Pastoral Symphony is the next segment. We first meet some colorful unicorns frolicking in the pastures. They join the fawns playing their flutes. We come across the lovely Pegasus family. The Pegasus family includes the mother and father, and their five colorful children, particularly the little black Pegasus. His brothers and sisters eat some grapes, while the black Pegasus tries to learn to fly. Mother Pegasus gets her baby after he’s fallen, and helps him fly. They swim in the water to the other Pegasus’s. The next scene is beautiful half-naked women bathing, but they’re not just any kind of women. They’re centaurettes- the body of a horse and the top half of a human. The cupids help get them dressed up as the centaurs appear. The lovely blue centaurette makes the first move, the blue centaur catching it, and giving it back to her. The centaurs and centaurettes become couples and go off to do their own thing. Only two are alone, Melinda and Brudus, but the cupids unite them and they fall in love. The next scene is a party filled with wine where we meet Bacchus (the God of Wine) and Jacchus, his pet unicorn-donkey. Bacchus becomes drunk, playing around, and chasing the centaurettes around. Until, Zeus comes around, and decides to play with them. Zeus causes it to rain and decides to try to strike them with lightning, until he grows tired. He goes to sleep as Iris and Apollo comes out, bringing the sun and rainbow, making everything happy again. Everyone comes out, the little Pegasus’s play in the rainbow as the fawns play their flutes, and everyone is happy.
The second to the last segment is the Dance of the Hours. It is morning time and we meet Madame Upanova and the other ostriches. They dance, and are hungry for lunch. Madam feeds her friends, and as she is about to eat, the others become greedy and try to take hers. They fight over the grapes and drop it in the water. Bubbles appear and they fearfully run away. From, the bubbles, comes along Hyacinth Hippo and the other hippos. It is the afternoon. They dress and dance until Hyacinth gets tired, and falls asleep on a couch. As, the evening approaches, along comes the dancing Elephanchine and the other elephants. They dance and blow bubbles until they are blown away. The night begins and Ben Ali Gator and the other Alligators appear. They see Hyacinth sleeping, and want her. But, the one that wins her is Ben. They dance a beautiful duet. All the animals with a little nudging from the alligators dance together until the building crashes and falls apart.
The last segment is The Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria. We are introduced to the devil himself, Chernabog, and all of his many frightful minions. He conjures them up, and it’s like they are there with you. The demons dance over the pit of hell, and Chernabog in a scene, where it seems like he is staring right at you throws his minions into the fire. Chernabog is about to wreak havoc when you suddenly hear bells and the light comes in. The demons are sent back, and Chernabog goes to sleep? The Ave Maria shows the monks walking with their lights to the sun. It signifies that the light will always defeat the dark.
The Toccata and Fugue segment is a great introduction piece. It sets the tone of the movie, the bright colors, the shapes, and so on. I’m not really a big fan of abstract art, but it really fits the piece. I liked when they made the light combine with the water. I thought it was very beautiful.
The Nutcracker Suite has some of the most beautiful music. It’s an enchanting piece and very creative. You can’t take your eyes off the screen. The animation is beautiful and it is a very well-done piece.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the only piece in Fantasia that has an actual story/plot. It’s one of the most memorable and it’s very cute. It helped Mickey’s popularity.
The Rite of Spring while can be long, will leave you at the edge of your seat. The fight scene will send you through an emotional rollercoaster, from happiness to fear to sadness. The animation is stunning, especially the t-rex. The t-rex is truly terrifying.
The Pastoral Symphony which happens to be my favorite segment. The absolutely stunning and the characters are very compelling. The music is pretty. It is a scene that I find the most intriguing.
The Dance of the Hours is amazing. Ballet is art, and when you combine it with animation, it is brilliant. The characters are enchanting, and it is a delightful piece.
The Night on Bald Mountain is one of the last segments, and I honestly forgot how impressive it was. The demons look 3-D like, and like they’re going to pop out at you. The scene can be quite frightening, but it is worth it.
Both the animation and music are beautiful.
It would have been nice to see the early mammals, ice age, and humans in The Rite of Spring. It would’ve been cool to see how they would’ve done a saber tooth tiger and a mammoth. But, I understand that they couldn’t because of creationists. It wouldn’t be worth all the trouble they would cause.
I don’t find the beginning necessary. In three minutes, you are just watching the orchestra come to their instruments and set up, which isn’t really interesting.
While the other segments, are pretty fast. Once, you come to The Rite of Spring, it feels endless. It is a brilliant piece, but at times can feel long and at parts wondering when will it end.
The Intermission I find pointless. I understand using it when it was in the theater, but I don’t find the importance it in the DVD. It is very boring and honestly I skipped half of it.
Fantasia is a beautiful movie combined with art and classical music. Fantasias helped by showing what animation can really do. Animation isn’t only for children, but also for adults. Toccata and Fugue is a good beginning piece. It helps you get a feel for the movie, and introduces an art form that isn’t as well known. The piece is simple, but charming. The next segment is The Nutcracker suite. We meet all kinds of interesting characters. The art is absolutely stunning. The music fits the piece very well, and contains some of classical music’s best work. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice reinstated Mickey’s popularity, and without it, Mickey might’ve not ended up being as popular as he is. The story while quite simple is very entertaining. The Rite of Spring while an enchanting piece, it is also very long. The scene can fill you with many emotions and makes you want to know what happens next. The Intermission isn’t really a necessary part for DVD viewers. The Pastoral Symphony is an exquisite piece. The characters are the best part. You are enchanted the entire time, and don’t want it to end. The art is spectacular. Ballet plus animation plus animals equals astounding, and that is what The Dance of the Hours. It is a great piece and probably the second most memorable pieces. The Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria is absolutely stunning. It’s extremely impressive. It’s absolutely terrifying, and it looks like Chernabog is looking right at you. The Ave Maria segment is beautiful. The message is quite clear that light will always defeat dark. The music is stunning and the art is absolutely magical. Fantasia is absolutely brilliant and it is truly marvelous as to what they created. It is a work of art and a must watch. Overall, I rate it an A+.
My favorite character is this little guy. He’s charming, adorable, cute, adorable, and did I mention adorable? I’ve loved him since I was little. I just think he is one of the cutest things.
My favorite song; how can I choose only one? The entire soundtrack is absolutely amazing. After, watching the movie, and listening to the soundtrack twice, I finally chose 1 song: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It was a difficult decision, but there’s just something about Toccata. It has this appeal to it. It’s sweet, but also “aggressive.” It is an absolutely brilliant piece.
My favorite scene is The Pastoral Symphony. I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology. So, it would only come natural that I would choose this scene. I like all the characters, particularly the pretty blue centaurette and the Pegasus’s. Ever since I was little, I just always found this scene to be the most interesting.
What did you think of the movie? What was your favorite scene?
We have begun a new decade full of Disney Magic. We start off with the next Disney movie, Dumbo. I’m pretty sure most people have seen it, and how could you not love that adorable elephant. Well, I hoped you enjoy. Thank you for reading and I bid you Adieu until next time.
(I do not own pictures, videos, etc. My information came from my own knowledge of the film, the Fantasia DVD and bonus DVD, Wikipedia, IMDB, and DisneyWiki.)