JAMES ALGAR, GAETAN BRIZZI, PAUL BRIZZI, HENDEL BUTOY, FRANCIS GLEBAS, ERIC GOLDBERG, DON HAHN, PIXOTE HUNT
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1999. Walt Disney Pictures, Concepts by Joe Grant, Elena Driskill, Stories by Eric Goldberg, Gaetan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Story development by Perce Pearce, Carl Fallberg, Screenplay by Don Hahn, David Reynolds, Irene Mecchi, from a story by Hans Christian Anderson. Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt. Produced by Donald W. Ernst. Production Design by Pixote Hunt. Film Editing by Jessica Amdinder-Rojas, Lois Freeman-Fox, Julia Gray, Craig Paulsen, Gregory F. Plotts.
Stunning second collection of classical music pieces set to animation, with a new slew of musical numbers chosen and celebrity introductions that include Steve Martin, Bette Midler and Quincy Jones. It’s not as impressive an achievement as Disney’s original, but that’s probably because Fantasia of 1940 was a milestone of picture and sound quality for its time, not to mention something no one had ever seen the likes of before. The effect is now quite tame, so the filmmakers rightly concentrated their efforts on bringing forth different and more varied stories than the ones seen originally, instead of trying to top the technological experience. A lovely ‘Pines of Rome’ sequence featuring flying whales is a standout, not to mention a killer ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ done in the animation style of Al Hirschfeld, but the real topper is the finale number based on the “Firebird Suite” by Igor Stravinsky (whose ‘Rite of Spring’ had been featured in the original) that displays the circle of life in the natural world. The only complaint to be really made is that it’s too short a film to compare to its predecessor, and had the film dared to use longer pieces it might have made a stronger impression.