- 2 hr 6 min
Fantasia is a groundbreaking and timeless musical masterpiece that was first premiered in 1940 to critical and commercial acclaim. Directed by Walt Disney and featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski, Fantasia is a stunning visual and audio journey that combines classical music with imaginative animation. The film features eight distinct musical pieces that are brought to life through animation, including Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.
The film is introduced by music critic Deems Taylor, who offers insight into each musical piece and the inspiration behind the accompanying animation. The first segment features Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which is set against a mesmerizing abstract animation that portrays music in its purest form. The piece has no story or characters but instead serves as a visual representation of the music itself.
Next up is Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, which features a whimsical animation that brings the music to life through vibrant colors and charming depictions of dancing flowers and mushrooms. The sequence is both playful and entrancing, with a sense of enchantment that sweeps the audience along with the music.
After the Nutcracker, we are treated to Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours, which is given a comical twist with the depiction of animals, including ostriches, hippos, and elephants, performing ballet. The animation is lively and fun, but it also showcases the incredible skill of the animators, who capture the fluid movement of dance perfectly.
The following segment features Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, a bold and dramatic piece that is met with a similarly intense and powerful animation depicting the creation of the earth and the evolution of life. The animation is vivid and raw, expressing the violent and unrelenting nature of the music in every frame.
The fifth segment is Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, which is accompanied by a serene animation depicting the changing of the seasons. The animation employs a delicate and realistic approach, with each leaf and blade of grass rendered with precision, making it a stunning showcase for the animation team's talent.
Next is a much-loved segment featuring the Sorcerer's Apprentice, set to a score by Paul Dukas. The segment features Mickey Mouse as the titular character, who casts a spell to make a broomstick finish his chores, only to find himself unable to stop it. The animation is both playful and suspenseful, with Mickey's desperation palpable as he tries desperately to contain the chaos he has unleashed.
Following this is Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, which is given a suitably demonic animation depicting the demon Chernabog summoning an army of spirits for a night of revelry. The animation is dark and disturbing, with a relentlessly ominous tone that lingers long after the segment is over.
The final segment is the Ave Maria, set to Schubert's majestic composition. The animation features a procession of robed figures walking to a cathedral through a dark forest and is a calming and beautiful end to the film.
Overall, Fantasia is a testament to the power of music and animation and an enduring masterpiece of cinema. The combination of classical music and innovative animation is still as mesmerizing as it was when the film first premiered over eight decades ago, and it remains an essential watch for anyone with an appreciation for the arts.
Fantasia is a 1940 animated movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 96.