Review by: Doug Nau
Directed by: Samuel Armstrong (Toccata and Fugue in D Minor)
James Algar (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)
Paul Satterfield (The Rite of Spring)
David D. Hand (Meet the Soundtrack)
Ford Beebe (The Pastoral Symphony)
Norm Ferguson (Dance of the Hours)
Wilfred Jackson (Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria)
Produced by: Walt Disney
Written by: Joe Grant
Narrated by: Deems Taylor
Starring: Leopold Stokowski
& The Philadelphia Orchestra
Score Composed by: Johann Sebastian Bach
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Ludwig van Beethoven
In this Review for Walt Disney 3rd animated feature film Fantasia which was once initially titled The Concert Feature his most ambitious undertaking ever I will review and tell you about each segment and rate them.The film consists of eight animated segment set to pieces of classical music as conducted by Leopold Stokowski, orchestra performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra, Deems Taylor provides the live-action introductions to each segment. When Fantasia was initially released in 1940 it was not an instant success got mixed reaction from critics and It failed to generate a profit or large commercial audience at first, and the limitations in reproducing Fantasound left Disney in financial straits. It didn't make profit and popularity until its re-release to theaters in 1969 and rose to classic status it is today. The segments in the film included:
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor: ***/5
The first segment in the film features Live-action shots of the orchestra illuminated in colors, backed by superimposed shadows. The number segues into abstract animated patterns, lines, shapes and cloud formations synchronized to Johann Sebastian Bach "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. The segment is full of colorful abstract patterns, while not quite one of my favorite segments but still great to see all the patterns, shapes, and lines beautifully flows in sync with the music.
Nutcracker Suite: ****/5
The second segment in the film with a music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky presents with selection of pieces from the ballet and depicts the changing of the changes of the seasons from summer to autumn to winter with no plot. It features a variety of dances are presented with Fairies, Fish, Flowers, mushrooms, and leaves, including "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", "Chinese Dance", "Dance of the Flutes", "Russian Dance", "Waltz of the Flowers". I love this segment because i adore the colorful eye-candy delight and sprightly beautiful segment, and I really liked the dancing mushrooms guys in the Chinese dance part, and also the fishes Arabian Dancing fishes part charming to.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: *****/5
The third segment in the film with music is composed by Paul Dukas and based on the 1797 poem "Der Zauberlehrling" features Mickey Mouse as an apprentice of Sorcerer Yen Sid, who attempts to perform some of his master's magic trick before knowing how to control them. This is by one of the most memorable and endearing of all the segments in the film. It is one of the best segments in the film and a signature classic Mickey short.
The Rite of Spring: *****/5
The fourth segment in the film with music composed by Igor Stravinsky is a visual history of the earth's beginnings is depicted to sections of the ballet, from planets formation to first living creatures followed by the reign and extinction of the dinosaurs. This is one the most incredible display of dynamic animation in any animation I have ever seen with the dinosaurs fighting each other is quite amazing artistry. This is one of my very favorite segments in the movie and one the greatest achievement in animation history.
Meet the Soundtrack: ****/5
After intermission, we are introduced the animated soundtrack in the fifth segment in the film, in which he demonstration of how sound is rendered on film, initially a straight white line can change into different shapes and colors based on the sounds played is very brilliantly done and very entertaining to watch.
The Pastoral Symphony: ****/5
The sixth segment in the film with music composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, features mythical ancient Greek world of centaurs, fauns, cupids, and other figures from classical mythology. A gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus, the god of wine, is interrupted by Zeus who creates a storm and throws lighting bolts at the attendees. I really enjoyed this segment I mostly liked the Winged-Horses were so adorable especially the baby horses. The backdrop of the is set in Mount Olympus is depicted in a lush and colorful landscape.
Dance of the Hours: *****/5
The Seventh segment in the film with music composed by Amilcare Ponchielli, is a comic ballet featuring Madome Upanova and her ostriches students; representing the dancers of the morning,Hyacith Hippo and her hippo servants; representing dancers of the daytime, Elephanchine and her elephant troupe; representing the dancers of the Evening, Ben Ali Gator and his rival Alligators; representing dancers of the night. The finale sees the chaotic chase that ensues between all of the characters seen the segment until they eventually decide to dance together and end with the palace collapsing in on itself. This is also one of the entertaining and witty segments with the dancing Ostriches, Hippo, Elephant, and Alligators.One of my favorite segment in the film.
Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria: *****/5
The eighth and finale segment in the film is a combination of two musical pieces composed by Modest Mussorgsky (Night on Bald Mountain) and Franz Schubert (Ave Maria) features Chernabog the demon devil summons evil spirits restless souls from their graves. The spirits dance and fly through the air until driven back by the sound of an Angelus Bell as night fades into dawn. A chorus is heard singing Ave Maria as a line of robed monks is depicted walking with lighted torches through a forest and into the ruins of a cathedral. Chernabog is a crowning achievement with villains as he is the most dynamic Disney villain in history.
So overall this is Walt Disney's crowning achievement and a masterpiece in artistry and its brilliant mix of classical and visual storytelling is nothing I've ever seen done before. This movie displays some of the best animation I've ever seen. This was way beyond its time when it was initially released and is nothing like anything that ever been achieved in animation and visual storytelling. Anyone who enjoys classical music and artistry in animation is astonishingly display in full glory in this fantastic movie.
1. Toccata And Fugue In D Minor
2. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
3. The Rite Of Spring
4. A Night On Bald Mountain
5. Ave Maria