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Toon Talk: Fantasia and Fantasia 2000
Page 2 of 2

 

FANTASIAS

: The Awards

Fantasia

(1940):

The film won two Special Academy Awards:

  • To Walt Disney, William E. Garity and J.N.A. Hawkins for “their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures through the production ofFantasia”.
  • Leopold Stokowski (and his associates) for “their unique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized music in Walt Disney's production Fantasia, thereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form”.

The New York Film Critics Circle honored Walt Disney with a Special Award for Fantasia.

In 1990, Fantasia was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Fantasia has been twice recognized by the American Film Institute:

  • #58 in “AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies: The Greatest American Movies of All Time”, 1998.
  • #5 Animated Film in “AFI’s 10 Top 10: America’s 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres”, 2008.

Fantasia 2000

  • The film won three Annie Awards (Eric Goldberg for Character Animation, Ted Kierscey for Effects Animation and Susan Goldberg for Production Design) and was nominated for two more, including Best Animated Theatrical Feature.
  • The Producers Guild of America honored Fantasia 2000 with its Vision Award.
  • The Fantasia 2000 soundtrack album was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Destino

(2003):

  • Academy Award nominee, Best Animated Short Film.
  • Annie Award nominee, Best Animated Short Film.
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Special Citation.

I have a confession to make: I actually prefer Fantasia 2000 to its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong, the original Fantasia is a landmark in film animation, but, at over two hours, it’s also a bit of a slog. In contrast, F2K is a lean 75 minutes, and every segment is a knock out, both visually and emotionally (although I could have done without Penn and Teller). Favorite moments include the soaring whales of Respighi’s “Pines of Rome”, the ever Steadfast Tin Soldier of Shostakovich’s “Piano Concerto No. 2”, the rebirth of the Sprite in Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and all of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, Eric Goldberg’s delightful tribute to master caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.

As well as the two original DVD commentaries (one by executive producer Roy Disney, conductor James Levine and producer Don Ernst, the other by the directors and art directors of each segment), bonus features on Disc 2 include “Musicana”, a look at an earlier attempt for a second Fantasia, this one developed during the 1970’s with an international concept, using native music from different countries in each segment. The Disney BD Live-enabled “Virtual Vault” is also available for those with an internet connected Blu-ray player.

The big draw here though is the first ever home video release of Destino, the acclaimed animated short that was, literally, years in the making. Originally conceived as a collaboration between famed surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney in 1945, the project was eventually scrapped and all but forgotten. Again, Roy Disney came to the rescue, soon after Fantasia 2000, and oversaw the long-delayed production of Destino.

A true piece of surrealism, Destino is a great introduction to the form for novices and a sublime smorgasbord for connoisseurs. Quite simply, it is unlike any other Disney short ever, which is likely the cause for it being abandoned originally. Beautifully animated under the guidance of French director Dominique Monféry, Destino is like a “Dalí’s Greatest Hits”, filled as it is with such signature motifs of his as ants crawling out of an open wound, faces composed of various, dissimilar objects and (of course) clocks. What does it all mean? That’s up to the viewer to decipher, but as someone who has seen a lot of surrealist films, believe me when I say that Destino is the most accessible.

Destino was originally scheduled for DVD release a few years back under the short-lived “Disney Legacy” banner. It was to be a two-disc set… for a seven minute short. So there was a lot of padding created for it, including the feature length (!) documentary “Dalí and Disney: A Date with Destino”, included here. The doc spends a lot of time drawing parallels between the lives of the Spanish artist and the American moviemaker; the bulk of the later will be nothing new to even the most casual Disney enthusiast. On the other hand, the Dalí sections will help fill in your knowledge of Salvador, especially his brief cinematic involvements, such as the infamous Luis Buñuel film Un Chien Andalou (a.k.a. An Andalusian Dog) and the dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound.

The final third of “A Date with Destino” finally gets around to the making of Destino, both in the 1940’s and the 2000’s. Present during both time periods was Disney Legend John Hench, who provided immeasurable help when it at last came time to make the short; be sure to pay attention to his comments, as he reveals hints behind the meaning of some of Dalí’s bizarre symbolism.

In addition to all the Fantasia Anthology bonus material that was left out, there were at least two more features that were to be included on the cancelled Destino DVD that could have easily seen the light here. According to a 2008 press release, "Encounters with Walt" detailed the “surprisingly diverse group of celebrities and artists who were attracted to Walt Disney's early work”, while “The Disney That Almost Was" took a look at some of the studio's many unfinished projects. One unfinished project was a thirdFantasia, to be titled Fantasia 2006, which was to include not only Destino, but also One by One, The Little Matchgirl and Lorenzo. The former two found their way onto the Platinum Editions of (respectively)The Lion King and The Little Mermaid as bonus shorts, while the later, although an Oscar nominee, has yet to debut on DVD.  There inclusion here would have also been most welcome.

Why Disney chose to ignore all this rich material that surely would have made this a truly “Special Edition” is almost as puzzling as Destino itself.

Toon Talk Rating: B+

Coming Soon:

  • 28 years later, it’s time to go back to the video arcade for Tron: Legacy, opening in theaters December 17.
  • Toon Talkproudly presents: the Toon Talk Top 10 of 2010!

Discuss It

-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics

Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ... In addition to his Toon Talk reviews, Kirby is the creator of Movie Dearest, a blog for movie fans.

Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.

The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted December 9, 2010

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