Fantasia 2000

USA 1999

Reviewed by Brian Sibley


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Eight animated sequences illustrate classical music. Beethoven's 'Fifth Symphony' includes abstract butterfly shapes. Respighi's 'Pines of Rome' depicts a fantasy of flying whales. Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' plays out a saga of 30s New Yorkers. Shostakovich's 'Piano Concerto No. 2' dramatises Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier'. Saint-Saëns' 'Carnival of the Animals' features a yo-yoing flamingo causing mayhem. Dukas' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' has Mickey Mouse as a would-be magician who brings a broom to life and wreaks havoc. Elgar's 'Pomp and Circumstance' marches are set to the biblical story of the flood with Donald Duck as Mr Noah's assistant. Finally, Stravinsky's 'Firebird Suite' illustrates a woodland sprite facing the destructive fury of a volcanic eruption.


When Walt Disney released Fantasia in 1940, he described it as "an experiment in seeing music and hearing pictures". It was a revolutionary project for which he had big ambitions. He planned to revise the film regularly with new sequences, but for various reasons, this plan was never fulfilled. Now Walt's nephew, Roy E. Disney, and the Disney animators have dreamed up Fantasia 2000. But in revisiting the premise something vital has been overlooked: although the music and the accompanying visualisations in the first film were undoubtedly eclectic, the diverse sequences were held together by a continuity of style and an overarching vision, both of which are missing from Fantasia 2000. True, the film includes both the comic and the pastoral, just as its predecessor did; but the themes running through the old Fantasia - the struggle between light and dark, the war between chaos and order, the ultimate triumph of goodness - find only a pale equivalent in this new version. In fact, Fantasia 2000 has less in common with the subtle structure of the original, than with the scrambled look of Disney's later compilation movies, Make Mine Music (1946) and Melody Time (1948), where anything and everything co-exist, rather like attractions at a theme park.

A vague attempt has been made to replicate certain aspects of the earlier version, such as beginning with the image of an orchestra, here assembled in a celestial Hollywood Bowl which creates itself in some distant spiral of the galaxy and recalls the heavenly courtroom in A Matter of Life and Death. The Fantasia 2000 programme begins with a homage to its predecessor: an 'abstract' sequence - in the first film, Bach's 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor', here the opening three minutes of Beethoven's 'Fifth Symphony'. But there is no challenge in these abstractions, which are little more than geometric shapes clearly intended to represent butterflies. The Beethoven is one of several computer-animated sequences which sit uneasily with those created in traditional line animation and which - particularly in the unappealing segment featuring a Shostakovich-scored version of Hans Andersen's 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier' - exhibit neither the personality nor the technical finesse found in the stunning Toy Story movies.

The film also suffers from a chronic unevenness of pace: Respighi's 'Pines of Rome' opens breathtakingly with the explosion of a supernova over a shimmering Arctic sea. Towering icebergs are illuminated by the shifting rainbow light of the aurora borealis, as a family of whales breach the icy waters and fly. The viewer is then abandoned to a tediously slow section in which a cute baby whale gets separated from its parents in an ice-cave. By the time the child is finally liberated and the whales continue their flight to the stars, the magic has been overtaken by chronic boredom. In contrast, the frenetic finale of Saint-Saëns 'Carnival of the Animals', accompanied by the irritating exploits of a yo-yo playing flamingo in a wishy-washy water-coloured pondscape, are so fast and furious they are over almost before they have begun.

Initially Fantasia 2000 was to contain a number of sequences from the first film, however, after various changes of plan, the only item revived from Fantasia 1940 is 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice', a sequence which began life as a short cartoon and from which the whole Fantasia project eventually sprang. While the screen quality of the 'Sorcerer' falls well short of today's standards (and particularly in the big-screen IMAX format the film was originally released on), the wit and invention are as fresh as ever.

Originally, at the end of this sequence, Mickey (speaking with the voice of Walt Disney) exchanged mutual congratulations with conductor Leopold Stokowski (correctly pronounced "Stokoffski") before scampering off again. In Fantasia 2000, a re-dubbed Mickey now thanks a "Mr Sto-cow-ski" before joining James Levine to introduce the next sequence, a conglomeration of Elgar's 'Pomp and Circumstance Marches', illustrating the story of Noah's Ark with Donald Duck given the job of rounding up the animals. If it's odd to follow one musical joke with another, it's unwise to set such contrasting animation cheek-by-jowl, the confident, polished artwork from 1940 beside the shamefully sloppy animation with which the Elgar sequence opens - the animals processing to the ark, two by two, in an unimaginative reworking of the stunning opening to The Lion King. Fortunately the sequence is switly saved by a succession of great gags: Donald moving a reluctant hippo by whacking it with a porcupine and a group of mythical creatures laughing at the foolishness of the animals going aboard the ark.

Perhaps the two most successful sequences in the film are those which, ironically, hark back to earlier times. A brilliant evocation of 30s New York, set to Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue', draws on the graphic style of the celebrated caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, and recreates the city's stoops, crowded subways, skyscraper building-sites and fashionable hotels with bustling crowds of Algonquin Round-Tablers rushing in and out of revolving doors. The interweaving dreams of a group of 'blue' city folk are told in strong lines and vivid, flat colours that are fashionably retro and recall the limited animation pioneered by UPA studios in the 50s in such films as 'Gerald McBoing Boing'.

The other sequence that securely links the two Fantasias is the concluding interpretation of Stravinsky's 'Firebird Suite' filled with classic Disneyesque effects. The spirit of the forest soars across a snowy landscape, bringing new life in the form of a spreading carpet of flowers and greenery, only to confront the explosive force of the volcanic Firebird in a sequence of exquisite beauty and raw natural violence, images of the kind which abounded in the first Fantasia. It is a reminder that, after all these years, memories of the first Fantasia can still conjure magic in the mind. And will the same be said of Fantasia 2000 in 60 years' time? It's possible, but unlikely.


Pixote Hunt
Hendel Butoy
Eric Goldberg
James Algar
Francis Glebas
Gaëtan Brizzi
Don Hahn
Donald W. Ernst
Jessica Ambinder Rojas
Lois Freeman-Fox
©Disney Enterprises, Inc
Production Company
Walt Disney Pictures
Executive Producer
Roy Edward Disney
Associate Producer
Lisa C. Cook
Co-associate Producer
David Lovegren
Artistic Supervisors
Artistic Co-ordinator:
David A. Bossert
Visual Effects:
David A. Bossert
Mitchell Guintu Bernal
Dean Gordon
Alex Topete
Computer Generated Imagery:
Steve Goldberg
Shyh-Chyuan Huang
Susan Thayer
Mary Jane 'M.J.' Turner
CAPS Supervisors
Scene Planning:
Annamarie Costa
Animation Check:
Karen Somerville
Janet Bruce
2D Animation Processing:
Gareth P. Fishbaugh
Colour Models:
Ann Marie Sorensen
Paint/Final Check:
Carmen Regina Alvarez
Shannon M. Fallis-Kane
Digital Film Print:
Christopher W. Gee
Technical Co-ordinator:
Ann Tucker
Production Co-ordinators
Jennifer Booth
Kirsten A. Bulmer
Camille Cavallin-Fay
Stephanie L. Clifford
Wish Foley-Cohen
Jeanne Leone-Sterwerf
Jeffrey Moznett
Victoria Jeela Stevenson
Scene Planners
Scott McCartor
Thomas Baker
S.J. Bleick
John R. Cunningham
Cynthia Goode
Mark Henley
Ronald J. Jackson
Mary Lescher
Production Manager
Angelique N. Yen
Director of Production
Dana Axelrod
Senior Managers
Production CAPS:
Gretchen Maschmeyer Albrecht
Scene Planning/Camera:
Joe Jiuliano
Patsy L. Bougé
Lori Korngiebel
Michael Kenji Tomizawa
Ruth Lambert
Mary Hidalgo
Additional Artists:
Oliver Thomas
Joe Ranft
Tom Sito
Digital Film Printing/
Opticals Camera
William Aylsworth
Bill Fadness
Michael F. Lehman
Stanley E. Miller
Brandy Hill
John Derderian
John Aardal
David J. Link
Jennie Kepenek Mouzis
Tony Poriazis
Bruce Tauscher
Chuck Warren
Christine Beck
Visual Effects
Rhythm and Hues
Visual Effects
Kristine Brown
Kristin Fong-Lukavsky
Joey Mildenberger
Ron Pence
Phil Vigil
Daniel E. Wanket
Graham S. Allan
Richard M. Barnes
Michael S. Blum
Michael C. Bolds
Brad Brooks
Letha L. Burchard
Mark Roy Carlson
Loren Chun
Lawrence Chai
Peter L. Chun
Ben Croy
Elena Driskill
Norbert Faerstain
Robert Falco
Scott Garrett
Mark W. Gilicinski
John D. Hoffman
Kevin John Hussey
Le Hua
Bill James
Michael Jedlicka
Maria Gomez De Lizardo
Mark Jankins
Kevin E. Keech
Mark R. Kimball
Li-Ming Lawrence Lee
Brad Lowman
MaryAnn McLeod
Thomas Moore Jr
Robert A. Mortensen
Jack Muleady
Troy R. Norin
Alan A. Patel
Carlos Quinonez
Todd Scopio
James J. Sepe
Jeffrey L. Sickler
John Stimson
Charles Stoner
Joe Suzow
Scott S. Terek
Laurie Tracy
Mark M. Tokunaga
Derek Elliott Wilson
CGI Digital Production Managers
Toni Pace Carstensen
Jinko Gotoh
Doug Nichols
CGI Lighting Artists
Michelle Lee Robinson
Yuriko Senoo
CGI Technical Directors
Robert Rosenblum
L. Cliff Brett
Umakanth Thumrugoti
Tal Lancaster
Peter Palombi
Neil Eskuri
Mark Hall
Jason Herschaft
Craig L. Hoffman
Jim Houston
Darren Kiner
Christina C. Lau
Stanley Lippman
Andrea Losch
Mira Nikolic
Chiara Perin-Colajacomo
Tina Price
Ruth Ramos
Francine 'Freddi' Rokaw
Sergi Sagas-Rica
Kevin Sheedy
Michael Takayama
Timothy Tompkins
James Tooley
Carolyn Wiegley
Darlene E. Hadrika
Heather Pritchett
Mary Ann Pigora
CGI Modellers
Kevin Geiger
Paul Giacoppo
David Mullins
Brian Wesley Green
CGI Additional Artists
Roger L. Gould
Thomas C. Meyer
Nathan Detroit Warner
Tod Worden
Supervising Animation Director
Hendel Butoy
Animation Additional Artists
Tony Anselmo
Ruben A. Aquino
Roberto Casale
Alain Costa
Dave Kupczyk
William John Thinnes
Visual Development
Jean Gillmore
Fara Rose
Sherri Vandoli
Tanya T. Wilson
Bruce Zick
Timothy B. Gales
Dolores Pope
Michelle A. Sammartino
Supervising Effects Animator
Ted C. Kierscey
Effects Animators
John Allan Armstrong
Bruce Heller
Jeff Howard
Tom Hush
Gordon Baker
Graham Bebbington
Joan Doyle
James Menehune Goss
Paul Lewis
Brice Mallier
Madoka Yasue
Sari Gennis
3D Effects Animators
Michael Kaschalk
Roberta Kirkpatrick
Tonya Ramsey
Amie Slate
Effects Airbrush Artist
John Emerson
2D Animation Digital Mark-up
Corey Dean Fredrickson
Lynnette E. Cullen
Gina Wootten
2D Animation Processors
David Braden
Jo Ann Breuer
Val D'Arcy
Kent Gordon
Michael Alan McFerren
David J. Rowe
Stacie K. Reece
Richard J. McFerren
Robert Lizardo
Layout Journeymen
Mac George
Kevin Nelson
Jeff Beazley
James Beihold
Allen C. Tam
Kevin R. Adams
Billy George
Scott Caple
Karen A. Keller
Daniel Hu
Blue Sketch
Madlyn Zusmer O'Neill
Cyndee La Rae Novitch
Noel C. Johnson
Monica Albracht Marroquin
Backgrounds Journeymen
Barry Atkinson
Allison Belliveau-Proulx
Mannix Bennett
Miguel Gil
Carl Jones
Michael Kurinsky
Dan Read
Maryann Thomas
Christophe Vacher
Daniel Cooper
Kelvin Yasuda
Additional Artists:
Sunny Apinchapong
John Watkiss
Additional Artists:
Marek Buchwald
Ray Chen
Colour Model Mark-ups
Cindy Finn
Christine Ng Wong
Grace H. Shirado
Debra Y. Siegel
Sherrie Cuzzort
Beth Ann McCoy-Gee
Bill Andres
Additional Editing
Ellen Keneshea
John Carnochan
Curtis Freilich
Title Design
Brian King
Music Performed by
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Music Conductor
James Levine
Special Arrangements
Bruce Coughlin
Executive Music Producer
Peter Gelb
Recordings Producer
Jay David Saks
Music Production Supervisors
Tod Coope
Andrew Page
Music Production Manager
Tom MacDougall
Music Production Co-ordinator
Deniece LaRocca
Music Editors
Kathleen Bennett
Mark Green
Additional Music Editing
Earl Ghaffari
Music Recording Engineer
Shawn Murphy
Editing Engineer
Kenneth Hahn
Additional Recording Engineer
Joseph Magee
Music Consultant
Chris Montan
"Destino" by Armando Dominguez
Sound Design/Supervision
Gregory King
Co-sound Designer
Yann Delpuech
Re-recording Mixers
Terry Porter
Shawn Murphy
Mel Metcalfe
Dialogue Supervisor
Darren King
ADR Supervisor
Darren King
Foley Artists
John Roesch
Hilda Hodges
Film Extract
Fantasia (1940)
Voice Talents
Wayne Allwine
Tony Anselmo
Russi Taylor
Sequence Credits
Symphony No. 5
Pixote Hunt
Story Development
Kelvin Yasuda
Wayne Carlisi
Raul Garcia
Art Director
Pixote Hunt
"Symphony No 5" by Ludwig Van Beethoven
Steve Martin
Pines of Rome
Hendel Butoy
Story Development
James Fujii
Francis Glebas
Original Concept
Brenda Chapman
Christopher Sanders
Linda Bel
Darrin Butts
Darko Cesar
Sasha Dorogov
Sergei Kouchnerov
Andrea Losch
Teresa Martin
Branko Mihanovic
William Recinos
William Wright
Visual Development
Francis Glebas
Kelvin Yasuda
Character Design
Tina Price
Rick Maki
Art Directors
Dean Gordon
William Perkins
"Pines of Rome" by Ottorino Respighi
Itzhak Perlman
Rhapsody in Blue
Eric Goldberg
Patricia Hicks
CAPS Supervisors
Animation Check:
Barbara Wiles
2D Animation Processing:
Robyn L. Roberts
Colour Models:
Karen Comella
Paint/Final Check:
Hortensia M. Casagran
James L. Russell
Artistic Co-ordinator
Dan Hansen
Production Manager
Loni Beckner-Black
Eric Goldberg
Story Development
Jim Capobianco
Roy Meurin
Visual Effects
Mauro Maressa
Tim Allen
James Baker
Jared Beckstrand
Nancy Beiman
Jerry Yu Ching
Andreas Deja
Robert Espanto Domingo
Brian Ferguson
Douglas Frankel
Thomas Gately
David Hancock
Kim Sang-Jin
Bert Klein
Joe Oh
Jamie Oliff
Mark Pudleiner
Michael Show
Marc Smith
Chad Stewart
Michael Stocker
Andreas Wessel-Therhorn
Theresa Wiseman
Anthony Ho Wong
Ellen Woodbury
Phil Young
Effects Animators
Colbert Fennelly
Michael Cadwallader Jones
Dorse A. Lanpher
Dan Lund
David J. Mildenberg
Rasoul Azadani
Layout Journeymen
Douglas Walker
Antonio Navarro
Jeffrey Purves
Blue Sketch
Bill Davis
Natalie Franscioni-Karp
Backgrounds Journeymen
Gregory C. Miller
Tom Woodington
Art Director
Susan McKinsey Goldberg
Music Editor
Patricia Carlin
"Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin, conducted/supervised by Bruce Broughton, piano: Ralph Grierson
Artistic Consultant
Al Hirschfeld
Quincy Jones
Piano Concerto No. 2
Hendel Butoy
The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen
Tim Allen
Doug Bennett
Eamonn Butler
Darrin Butts
Sandro Cleuzo
Steve Hunter
Ron Husband
Mark Kausler
Kim Sang-Jin
David Kuhn
Roy Meurin
Gregory G. Miller
Neil Richmond
Jason Ryan
Henry Sato Jr
Visual Development
Hans Bacher
Guy Deel
Caroline Hu
Character Design
Sergei Kouchnerov
Gary J. Perkovac
Nik Ranieri
Art Director
Michael Humphries
"Piano Concerto No 2 Allegro, Opus 102" by Dmitri Shostakovich, piano: Yefim Bronfman
Ballet Choreography
Kendra McCool
Bette Midler
Carnival of the Animals
Eric Goldberg
Eric Goldberg
Original Concept
Joe Grant
Conceptual Storyboards
Vance Gerry
David Cutler
Eric Goldberg
Yo Yo Tricks
Mike Gabriel
Water Colourists
Jill A. Petrilak
Emily Jiuliano
Fara Rose
Mary Jo Ayers
Christina Stocks
Jennifer Phillips
Art Director
Susan McKinsey Goldberg
"Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnaval des animaux) Finale" by Camille Saint-Saëns
James Earl Jones
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
James Algar
Production Supervision
Ben Sharpsteen
Story Development
Perce Pearce
Carl Fallberg
Story Development
Joe Grant
Dick Huemer
Animation Supervision
Fred Moore
Vladimir Tytla
Les Clark
Riley Thompson
Marvin Woodward
Preston Blair
Edward Love
Ugo D'Orsi
George Rowley
Cornett Wood
Claude Coats
Stan Spohn
Albert Dempster
Eric Hansen
Art Director
Tom Codrick
Charles Philippi
Zack Schwartz
Music Conductor
Leopold Stokowski
Musical Director
Edward H. Plumb
Symphonic Transcriptions
Leopold Stokowski
Musical Film Editor
Stephen Csillag
William E. Garity
C.O. Slyfield
J.N.A. Hawkins
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Paul Dukas
Film Restoration
Cinesite, Inc
Penn & Teller
Pomp and Circumstance
Francis Glebas
Story Development
Robert Gibbs
Todd Kurosawa
Don Dougherty
Terry Naughton
Patrick Ventura
Stevie Wermers
Lead Character Animator
Tim Allen
Doug Bennett
Tim George
Mark Kausler
Kim Sang-Jin
Roy Meurin
Gregory G. Miller
Visual Development
William Frake III
Derek Gogol
Character Design
Jeffrey R. Ranjo
Peter Clarke
Art Director
Daniel Cooper
"Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3, and 4" by Edward Elgar, arranged by Peter Schickele, choral performance by The Chicago Symphony Chorus, featured soprano: Kathleen Battle
James Levine
Firebird Suite
Gaëtan Brizzi
Written by
Don Hahn
Irene Mecchi
David Reynolds
Gaëtan Brizzi
Paul Brizzi
Concept for Death & Re-birth
Elena Driskill
Lead Character Animators
Anthony DeRosa
Ron Husband
John Pomeroy
Tim Allen
Sandro Cleuzo
David Hancock
Kim Sang-Jin
Greg Miller
Joe Oh
David A. Zaboski
Visual Development
Kelvin Yasuda
Gaëtan Brizzi
Paul Brizzi
Art Director
Carl Jones
"Firebird Suite - 1919 Version" by Igor Stravinsky
Angela Lansbury
Host Sequences [Live Action]
Don Hahn
Story Development
Kirk Hanson
Assistant Directors
Bill Hoyt
Steve Fernandez
Paul Bernard
Terry Ham
Script Supervisor
Mary Mannix
Director of Photography
Tim Suhrstedt
Additional Photography
James Weisiger
Visual Effects Supervisor
Richard Hollander
Digital Supervisor
Eric Hanson
Visual Effects
Rhythm and Hues
Executive Producer:
Lee Berger
Line Producer:
Gary Nolin
Production Supervisor:
Dan Foster
Character Animator
Andreas Deja
Pixote Hunt
Art Director
Alison Yerxa
Costume Supervisor
Susan Kowarsh
Make-up Artist
Linda Barcojo
Renate Leuschner
Sound Mixer
Crew Chamberlain
Buena Vista International (UK)
tbc feet
tbc minutes
Sonic Systems
In Colour
Prints by
107,318 feet
74 minutes 32 seconds
Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS
In Colour
Prints by
6,696 feet
74 minutes 24 seconds
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011