“Fantasia 2000” (2000), Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 38th animated motion picture. “The Concert Feature” continued. According to Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney’s nephew and the executive producer of the film, Walt Disney’s original vision was to regularly re-release “Fantasia” in theaters but with new and different segments each time, keeping it a perpetual work in progress.
Following somewhat the original plan, “Fantasia 2000” has seven new animated segments that were created by Disney animators during the 1990s (the “Pines of Rome” sequence was the first to be completed in 1993) and one returning segment from the first “Fantasia”–the iconic “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” starring Mickey Mouse and a bunch of bucket-toting brooms with music by Dukas. The soundtrack is provided by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine. The new musical selections include pieces by Beethoven, Gershwin, Shostakovich, Respighi, Saint-Saens, Elgar and Stravinsky. The film has multiple celebrity narrators, including Maestro Levine. The Disney animators also created an absolutely spectacular animated backdrop for the orchestra this time around–it has to be seen to be believed.
“Fantasia 2000” was the first animated feature-length film to be formatted and exhibited in the IMAX large screen format. Seeing this film in IMAX was a real treat, especially for this animation fan. The Blu-ray Disc set released in 2010 (along with the original “Fantasia”) is beautiful, but I believe both films are best experienced in a large theater equipped with a killer sound system. Hopefully, Disney will provide the opportunity again someday.