During to the recent final death throes of "Now Playing
Video", I obtained a few laserdiscs of "Fantasia" (1940) (or 1941,
depending upon the reviewer). Fantasia combines classical music with
traditional pen-and-ink animation to produce superior art that now
generates continuing high profits for Disney.
The remainder of this review may be somewhat unconventional.
Opinionated, even. Biased, certainly. Tough. You want my review,
that's what you get.
According to one reviewer, "Fantasia" wasn't a big success
when it was first released. However, the drug culture picked it up as
a favorite supplement to, ah, dietary supplements. Semuta, anyone?
(That was a reference to Frank Herbert's novel, "Dune", in case you
were wondering.) Then again, a look at the "Alice in Wonderland" ride
in Disneyland will tell you that Disney's not adverse to making money
from the drug culture... and don't confuse me with facts, such as
maybe the "Alice in Wonderland" ride was built in the '50's -- the
"Alice in Wonderland" ride *is* psychedelic!
There are 8 sections to this puppy, er, caterpillar?:
1. "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", by J. S. Bach.
2. "The Nutcracker Suite", by Tchaikovsky
Shortened and rearranged from the original score, we're led through some
of the seasonal celebrations of nature. Features the ever-popular
Sugar Plum Fairies! The Chinese dance with the mushrooms (major drug
iconography there). The "Waltz of the Flowers" and more!
3. "The Sorceror's Apprentice" by Paul Dukas
Dreaming of greatness, Mickey Mouse invokes a spell that he
cannot master. This section is a clear winner in terms of
easy-to-grasp images and a successful marketing campaign.
4. "The Rite of Spring" by Stravinsky
After the Head Trip throu Space and the Belching Volcanoes,
life begins. Eventually, dinosaurs rule the earth. However, they
fail to construct sufficient resevoirs for times of drought, much to
their chagrin. Clearly, this is a parable on water brokering in arid
Interlude: Jazz Jam
Great little piece. From the little I've seen of how Disney works,
the musicians must have reheased this improvisation for hours...
5. "The Pastoral Symphony", Symphony #6 by Beethovan
The Greek god Baccus hosts a really great orgy, with lots of
alcohol and naked centaurettes. Zeus gets very angry, whether
because of the noise or because he wasn't invited, I don't know, and
breaks up the party with a stunning disregard for civil rights.
By the way, isn't it great how the well-known composers
are listed only by their last name in the sources I'm plagiarizing?
6. "Dance of the Hours" from the opera "La Gioconda" by Amilcare Ponchielli
The ostriches, hippos, elephants and alligators illustrate a
typical non-productive day in the theater. The hippos are too-too
cute. What were those elephants smokin'?
7. "Night on Bald Mountain" by Mussorgsky
Evil goes out on the town, and has a really good time. Eventually,
dawn occurs and some fool starts banging on a loud bell. Evil realizes
that it has the Mother of All Hangovers, and retreats to sleep it off.
8. "Ave Maria" by Schubert:
The pre-dawn processional. Good triumphs over evil, because
day replaces night.
Big deal, the next evening night will replace day again. After all,
without evil there can be no good. I don't get it.
Music by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold
Originally released in "Fantasound", a three channel system:
left, center forward, and right. This was the first movie released in
stereophonic sound. I don't know if we get three channels in the
laserdisc, and if we did, would Bill's mindbreaking multiswitched
sound system know what to do with it?
The original Fantasia was released in a 1:1.33 aspect ratio.
Will we see that same aspect ration on laserdisc?
Craig Milo Rogers