(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Fantasia 2000. Three pieces of music from the film serve as the background music throughout; "Symphony No. 5" in the beginning, "Pines of Rome" in the middle, and "The Firebird Suite" during the final thought)
Doug (vo): Well, the sequel to one of my favorite films of all time has finally come out: Fantasia 2000. This is what Walt Disney originally wanted to do. He wanted to continue the Fantasia legacy by having new movies come out. But since the first one didn’t do so hot, they’ve decided to scrap that idea. However, the popularity for Fantasia kept building, and they decided to finally do a sequel years later. [A clip of the "Firebird" segment is shown] It’s fantastic, it’s brilliant! [A clip of Steve Martin introducing a segment is shown] It’s...stupid and lame. [A clip of the "Pines of Rome" segment is shown] It’s new and inspiring! [A clip of the "Carnival of the Animals" segment is shown] It’s...old and it’s been done. [A clip of the "Piano Concerto No. 2" segment is shown] It’s a creative, magical experience! [A clip of Mickey Mouse talking with conductor James Levine is shown] It’s...a complete sell-out by every means of the word. So, as you can imagine, my emotions run pretty high with this movie. But, in keeping with the Disney tradition, the stuff that’s good is really, really good.
Story and reviewEdit
Doug (vo): I guess the best way to go about it is just to talk about the segments.
[Footage of the film's first segment is shown]
Doug (vo): It starts off with Beethoven’s "5th Symphony", and they’re trying to do what they did with the first film by having the abstract art try to match the music. At times, it does, but for the most part, it’s trying to tell a story, like how there’s this mama butterfly and this baby butterfly and they try to get away from these evil black butterflies. And, yeah, if it’s trying to go abstract, why are you trying to put a coherent narrative to it? And on top of that, sometimes, the coherent narrative doesn’t match the music, so it doesn’t even work in that sense. But it’s got a few good visuals in there.
[Footage of the film's second segment is shown]
Doug (vo): Next, we have the "Pines of Rome", with the flying whales. This is awesome. The CG makes the size and weight of the whales just look gigantic. It matches the music perfectly, and on top of that, it just builds and builds at the end. In fact, this probably would’ve been better as the last one, but, you know, what can you do?
[Footage of the film's fourth segment, "Piano Concerto No. 2", is shown, telling the story of the Steadfast Tin Soldier]
Doug (vo): The story of the Tin Soldier is okay, though, like most Disney films, they change the ending around. It matches the music, it manages to be a cute little fairy tale.
[Footage of the film's third segment, "Rhapsody in Blue", is shown]
Doug (vo): "Rhapsody in Blue" is a new take, not only in music, but in style, too. They take sort of an Al Hirschfeld style to the whole thing, and, yeah. It works really well. It matches the music nice and it’s good to see Disney try something new, especially with Fantasia.
[Footage of the film's fifth segment, "Carnival of the Animals (Finale)", featuring flamingos, is shown]
Doug (vo): The flamingo with a yo-yo...yeah, just say that out loud. There’s a flamingo with a yo-yo that’s the focus of one of the musical segments in a Fantasia movie. Well, you can guess my problem. It’s cute, but really, you could see that on Tiny Toons or something. It doesn’t seem like Fantasia-related.
[A clip of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is shown briefly, before showing footage of the film's seventh segment, "Pomp and Circumstance", starring Donald Duck]
Doug (vo): They replay "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice", that’s always fun. And then we get Donald’s Ark, which, again, is funny and cute, but let’s face it. Every time you hear that music, you’re gonna think of graduation, and it’s kind of distracting. [The "Pomp and Circumstance" music played in the segment is heard] It gets a few laughs, though, so I guess it works fine.
[Footage of the film's eighth and final segment is shown]
Doug (vo): And the last one is the "Firebird Suite". Again, some of Disney’s best animation here, mixing some of their classic style of animation, but also mixing some new stuff. Is it me or does that Sprite look very anime-ish? Well, this one matches the music great, it looks great, and it’s a nice finale, though, again, the whales would’ve been a little better, but I’m just nitpicking.
[Various celebrities that serve to introduce all of the film's segments are shown]
Doug (vo): Unfortunately, we also have celebrity appearances. That’s Steve Martin probably at his worst.
Steve Martin: Could I have my violin, please? [Gets a violin] Ah, thank you. All right, boys, let's-- [Tries to play his violin, but accidentally drops his bow. The camera moves away from Martin as he is still heard speaking] Oh! Ooh, sorry. Could I have another stick thingy, please?
Doug (vo): We also have Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Penn and Teller...oh, for God's sake. Penn and Teller? Really?! That’s like when they invited Beavis and Butt-Head to the Oscars, just something doesn’t seem right here. Some of them can add a little bit of class and dignity, but most of them are just spending time either congratulating what a great movie it is even before it’s done, and the rest of them are just making really painful jokes.
Steve Martin: [off-screen] Oh, and camera back on me. Camera back on me.
[An arrow points to a woman in the orchestra]
Doug (vo): Yeah, the look on that woman’s face says it all.
[The DVD cover of the original Fantasia is shown, as well as another clip of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"]
Doug (vo): The original Fantasia had a dignity to it, like they were gonna treat the audience seriously, like, "Hey, this was for adults. We’re not gonna talk down to you. This is some of the greatest music ever written, we worked really hard on this, and we’re gonna treat it that way." [Cut back to show Steve Martin dropping his violin bow] Here... [Acts like a cheerful announcer] "It’s Steve Martin! Do-wee-do-do-ti-do-ti-do!"
Doug (vo): So, on the whole, Fantasia 2000 is pretty hit-and-miss, but to be honest, the only major miss would probably be the celebrities. I can’t think of any musical segments where I was just like, "Wow, that was awful." I mean, even the ones that aren’t very good are just not very good by Fantasia standards, but they’re still fine on their own. And as I said before, the stuff that’s good is incredibly good. This is some of Disney’s best animation in years. It allows them to just be creative, do what they want, just let the animation breathe. There’s a sense that there wasn’t as many limitations to this, and you know what? It really does show half the time. The other half, not so much. So, honestly, despite its flaws, I still highly recommend it. Is it the first film? No. Do any of them meet the power or seriousness of the first film? No. But some of them do come close. Overall, I really like it. Yeah, I hate sitting through the celebrities and some of the other musical segments as much as you do, but the payoff is just too good of a payoff. I say, definitely check it out. Just have the fast-forward button on standby.
[The final shot of the "Pines of Rome" segment, showing the whales diving into the water in the sky, is shown as the final note of "The Firebird Suite" is heard]