|By Mira Harber
If you have children (and even if you don't) run, don't walk, to see
"Fantasia 2000." This movie is a voyage into the discovery of color and
sound through exciting classical music and gorgeous animated story telling.
Before I go any further, I must explain that any movie that helps expose
people (especially children) to the world of classical music already has
me on its side - and this movie is a winner in every way.
Sixty years ago Disney released the original "Fantasia." It was always
intended to be a perpetual movie in progress, with different music and
images, but nobody has attempted an update until now. There are seven new
sequences of music ranging from the powerful opening movement of Beethoven
"Symphony #5" (you know, da-da-da-DAAAAAA,) to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in
Blue." Each segment is introduced by a celebrity host, beginning with Steve
Martin. Quincy Jones, James Levine, Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones and
even Bette Midler, all introduce the new segments and they each have something
to say - classical music is a blast and it's for everyone, young &
The animation and colors used in "Fantasia 2000" are gorgeous - brilliant
blues, stunning shafts of light and the SOUND - it's an absolutely fantastic
experience. Of particular interest to smaller children are Donald &
Daisy Duck, and two of each animal entering Noah's Ark, all set to the
stirring strains of Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance." New York City and
its perpetual motion lifestyle is shown from many walks of life - from
people riding the subway, to musically inclined construction workers, to
Fifth Avenue society types, to ice-skaters at Rockefeller Center - all
set to "Rhapsody in Blue." The Hans Christian Anderson story "The Steadfast
Tin Soldier," is complete with a valiant one-legged wooden soldier, beautiful
dancing ballerina, and malevolent Jack in the Box - all perfectly set to
some rousing Russian music (Shostakovitch's "Piano Concerto#2").
And don't worry - the original Sorcerer's Apprentice featuring Mickey Mouse
as the wonderfully meddling apprentice, is included in "Fantasia 2000"
- in fact, it's the only musical segment from the original version.
What particularly appealed to me, in addition to the new selections of
music, was the inspired and completely unusual way in which the music was
animated. The Italian composer Resphigi wrote a number of pieces inspired
by Rome. The most famous of these pieces, "The Pines of Rome", is performed
here - but not to animation of old Italy. Instead I heard the delighted
gasps of childern in the audience when they saw families of dolphins and
whales frolicking in the blaze of blue light going from artic waters to
the Milky Way. Can you tell I liked this movie? I'll say it again, run,
don't walk and make sure you, and any children in your, life catch "Fantasia