Blu-Ray Review: Gorgeous Edition of Disney’s Timeless ‘Fantasia’

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CHICAGO – Disney has been slowly opening their vault doors to the world of Blu-ray with amazing releases for “Sleeping Beauty,” “Pinocchio,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” and “Beauty & The Beast.” The slow release pattern is about to become more of a steady flow as “Fantasia,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Bambi” all hit HD in just over three months. “Fantasia” is the first and it’s another beauty.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Disney/Buena Vista have released “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” in one 2-movie collection and, since both films also come on DVD, it’s technically a four-disc combo pack. It’s going to be a musical Christmas. Of course, the original “Fantasia” is the draw here (as the less said about the wildly-inferior sequel the better) and it looks good and sounds even better. HD video is often praised but the improvements in audio on Blu-ray are sometimes underrated. Hearing the beautiful music of “Fantasia” in an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is something to treasure. You’ve never heard “Fantasia” like this.

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 30th, 2010
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 30th, 2010
Photo credit: Disney

Released the same year as “Pinocchio,” the third film in the Disney canon must have been truly remarkable when it hit theaters seventy years ago. Not only were people nowhere near as used to seeing animation scored to music as they are in 2010 but just hearing classical pieces this beautifully-rendered was a rare occurrence.

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 30th, 2010
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 30th, 2010
Photo credit: Disney

“Fantasia” has always been more interesting to me as a historical document than as a film I still enjoy (like I do “Pinocchio” or “Snow White”) but it’s undeniably important in the legacy of Disney. This was a passion project for Walt and its existence was a turning point for the company. Whether or not it was a success in the ’40s is debated, but it had become a beloved property by the ’60s and is still copied to this day. Music comes to life in “Fantasia,” more so than ever in HD.

In 1999, Disney tried to pay homage to “Fantasia” with “Fantasia 2000,” a similarly-structured film that was met with modest response but has not held up nearly as well as the original. “Fantasia 2000” isn’t that “bad,” it’s just lesser when it’s included in the same package as the original.

More interestingly, Disney has finally included the great “Destino” on this release, a wonderful piece of short animation that was nominated for an Oscar in 2003. I was lucky enough to see “Destino” on the big screen at the Chicago Film Festival back then and this collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali is a beauty. There’s also a documentary about the history of the unusual short.

We’ve simply reached a point where every Disney Blu-ray catalog release is a must-own. Until they really mess up a transfer (unlikely) or skimp on special features (also unlikely) or get down to releases like “The Emperor’s New Groove,” they’ll continue to be that way. So buy “Fantasia” and put money aside for “Bambi” and “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s going to be a fun winter for animation fans.




Special Features — “Fantasia”:
o All-New Digital Restoration On Feature Film
o DisneyView
o Disney Family Museum
o The Schultheis Notebook — Newly Discovered Document Reveals Movie Secrets
o Interactive Art Gallery
o Audio Commentaries
o DVD Version of the Film

Special Features — “Fantasia 2000”
o “Destino”
o “Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino”
o “Musicana” — Walt’s Inspiration For a Sequel to “Fantasia”
o Disney’s Virtual Vault — BD-Live Featurette
o Audio Commentaries
o DVD Version of the Film

“Fantasia/Fantasia 2000” was released by Disney on Blu-ray and DVD on November 30th, 2010.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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