A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the dark, scary images in this film, combined with some thundering, ominous musical selections, may be frightening to very young or very sensitive viewers. There are several evil characters: an overpowering jack-in-the-box with glaring eyes and scary teeth, some marauding rats, soaring and threatening eagles, raging fires, giant waves, and one Penn & Teller trick depicting an axe and a severed hand (immediately shown to be pretend). In addition, a young whale is momentarily separated from its parents, and Donald Duck loses track of Daisy for a period of time to their great dismay. Fantasia 2000 is a sequel to Fantasia, which was originally made in 1940 and has been released numerous times. This newer film is a shorter, modern version with computer-generated images, a faster pace, more humor and more of the slick animation today’s audiences expect.
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What's the story?
FANTASIA 2000 begins with glimpses and sound clips from the original floating into view, and then suddenly we are in the midst of Beethoven's Fifth, accompanied by an abstract battle between groups of triangles. Then Steve Martin comes on to make a joke, and we're off to the next episode, whales in moonlight, to Respighi's "Pines of Rome." The light on the water, the stillness, the dignity and grace of the whales in the water and as they float up into the sky are magnificent. Other segments include a rollicking Al Hirschfeld-inspired look at 1930's New York, to the music of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," a very romantic "Steadfast Tin Soldier" set to Dimitri Shostakovich's second piano concerto, and a mystical tale about death and rebirth in the forest, to Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite." From the original, we get Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, even more sensational on the huge screen, with glowing colors and dazzling detail. And Donald finally gets his chance, as Sir Edward Elgar's famous "Pomp and Circumstance" accompanies not a procession of graduates to their diplomas but a procession of animals to Noah's ark. Celebrities like Angela Lansbury, Quincy Jones, and James Earl Jones provide smooth transitions.
Is it any good?
Disney called the original Fantasia "a grand mixture of comedy, fantasy, ballet, drama, impressionism, color, sound, and epic fury," and that well describes the very worthy successor. This charming film is funny, imaginative, and really dazzling, and probably a better entertainment choice for young kids than the original.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: June 16, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: November 30, 2010
- Cast: Angela Lansbury, Bette Midler, Steve Martin
- Directors: Hendel Butoy, James Algar, Paul Brizzi, Pixote Hunt
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 75 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
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