I don’t know how to discuss Fantasia. It’s so unlike other Disney movies (well, other than Fantasia 2000, obviously) since it has no continuous narrative and no original songs. What I find amazing about Fantasia is that it’s only Disney’s third movie. Only the third, and yet it’s so different, so experimental, so brave. Pinocchio was so obviously child-oriented, but Fantasia is really for children and adults, alike.
I figure I should look at each animated sequence separately since they don’t really come together to form a cohesive whole.
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor: This one’s an abstract piece–just images set to music, and I think it’s lovely. There are moments when the music and the light and the animation all come together so beautifully, it gives me chills. That being said, I have a hard time imagining children sitting through the whole thing. Maybe if they’re still babies, they’ll be entranced by the pretty colors, but once they’re old enough to walk away, I’m not so sure.
The Nutcracker Suite: This is probably my favorite part. Fairies! Mushrooms! Fish! Flowers! More fairies! The animators are so great at creating a mood, or rather, extending the mood of the original piece into the animation. Each part of the suite has its own flavor. Also, the images are beautiful.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Mickey! What do I even say? This whole segment is so iconic now, and that’s because it’s awesome. The music and the animation fit together so perfectly, and it’s a fun story. Also, Mickey!
The Rite of Spring: Oy. Okay, so here’s the thing. My interest in dinosaurs starts and ends with The Land Before Time (only the first two, though). I’m also not a big fan of Stravinsky’s discord. I remember being hopelessly bored by this segment when I was younger, and not much has changed. I kind of stopped paying attention.
Pastoral Symphony: Aww, this one’s fun, but not really the greatest thing ever. It’s definitely more child-oriented than some of the other ones. It doesn’t have the same perfect marriage of music and animation as, say, The Nutcracker or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but it’s fun to watch.
Dance of the Hours: Okay, this one’s awesome. Dancing ostriches, elephants, hippos, and alligators (or crocodiles?). Here’s another one where the music works so well with the animation, I almost think the music was written for the animation instead of the other way around. It’s delightful, for both kids and adults, I think.
Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria: DO I NEED TO SAY ANYTHING? Just the opening notes of Night on Bald Mountain scare the crap out of me. It’s one of those things I watched every Halloween, but it never stopped freaking me out. It’s a classic scary Disney scene, dark and beautiful. The Ave Maria sequence is gorgeous, the perfect ending to both the sequence and the movie.
I…don’t know how to discuss Fantasia. It’s an experience, and it just washes over you while you’re watching it. (Except for the dinosaurs. I really can’t stand the dinosaurs.)
So, I thought it’d be fun (fun for me, anyway) to include a clip of my favorite scene (…that I can find on youtube) from each movie. I went back and added them to Snow White and Pinocchio, too, if you want to take a look.
Favorite scene: Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker Suite
Because the part where the fairies dance over the ice, forming pretty patterns, has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. And because it makes me think of Christmas.
Next time: Dumbo!