8:00 PM, 29th March, 2001
Walt Disney used the phrase "concert feature" to describe the original Fantasia. It's a good description. He wanted to make a film that was exactly like a concert of classical music, except that each piece of music was part of an animated cartoon. That is what Fantasia is like; beyond that, it's impossible to describe. If you've seen it, you'll know that it's unique, marvellous, ingenious, magical((mdash))one of the best films of all time((mdash))and you'll realise that you have no choice but to watch the sequel, however bad it may turn out to be. And if you haven't seen it... well, you probably won't find Fantasia 2000 so painfully disappointing. You may even enjoy it.
It contains 65 minutes of new footage. (And ten minutes of old footage((mdash))namely, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a high point in the original which it would be worth trudging all the way to the Coombs theatre to see, wherever you live, even if we were screening nothing else.) The original was over two hours long. The sequel is shorter because of comparative incompetence: the original directors knew what Fantasia was about, the new ones are just guessing. The best of the new directors is Eric Goldberg, who animated the genie in Aladdin. He's responsible for a snippet of Saint-Sans's Carnival of the Animals. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is the only new sequence in Fantasia 2000 that can be called a success. It's worth seeing; as is, of course, The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The rest you'll just have to endure.