IMAX release poster
|Directed by||See below|
|Produced by||Roy E. Disney
Donald W. Ernst
|Written by||See below|
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
|Music by||See below|
|Edited by||Jessica Ambinder-Rojas
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Running time||75 minutes|
Fantasia 2000 is a 1999 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 38th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and the sequel to the 1940 film Fantasia. As with its predecessor the film consists of animated segments set to pieces of classical music, with The Sorcerer's Apprentice being the only segment that is featured in both films. The soundtrack was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Levine. A group of celebrities introduce each segment in live-action scenes including Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Bette Midler, Penn & Teller, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, and Angela Lansbury.
Roy E. Disney first thought of a sequel to Fantasia in 1974, only to pitch the film to Disney chairman Michael Eisner ten years later. Production began in 1990, and the film is noted for using a combination of computer-generated imagery on top of hand-drawn animation. Peter Schickele worked with Levine on the musical arrangement of each musical piece.
Fantasia 2000 premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 17, 1999 as part of a five-city concert tour, with performances in London, Paris, Tokyo, and Pasadena, California. An exclusive release in IMAX theaters followed from January 1 to April 30, 2000, becoming the first animated feature-length film issued in the format. Fantasia 2000 was opened wide in the United States on June 16, 2000 and has earned $90.8 million in gross revenue worldwide.
The segments in the order of appearance:
- Symphony No. 5 in C minor-I. Allegro con brio by Ludwig van Beethoven. This segment starts without introduction immediately after the opening. Abstract patterns and shapes that resemble butterflies in reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, and pinks in shades, tints, hues and bats in black explore a world of light and darkness which is ultimately conquered by light.
- Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi. A family of humpback whales are able to fly due to a supernova. The calf is separated from his parents when he becomes trapped in an iceberg, but finds his way out with his mother's help. The final section, the Via Appia, gives the impression of the larger pod of adults in migration.
- Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. An episode of New York City in the 1930s in the style of Al Hirschfeld's known cartoons of the time, depicting a day in the lives of four people within the Depression-era bustling metropolis. Featured is an animated cameo appearance of Gershwin himself at the piano.The story follows Jazz Age residents of Manhattan "from every step of the social ladder". Their stories interact in an evocation of the melting pot.
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major-I. Allegro by Dmitri Shostakovich. Based on "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" by Hans Christian Andersen, Shostakovich composed the concerto as a gift for his musically gifted young son's 19th birthday. Roger Ebert summarized the story in one sentence: "A broken toy soldier with only one leg falls in love with a toy ballerina and protects her from a jack-in-the-box with evil designs." In contrast to Andersen's original story, Shostakovich's version has a happy ending.
- The Carnival of the Animals, Finale by Camille Saint-Saëns. A flock of flamingoes tries to force a slapstick member, who enjoys playing with a yo-yo, to engage in the flock's "dull" routines. The segment's host introduces the story with this question: "What would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a flock of flamingos?"
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas. Based on Goethe's 1797 poem "Der Zauberlehrling", the segment is the only one retained from 1940's Fantasia. Mickey Mouse is the apprentice (of sorcerer Yen Sid) who attempts some of his master's magic tricks before knowing how to control them.
- Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Edward Elgar. Based on the story of Noah's Ark from the Book of Genesis starring Donald Duck as first mate to Noah and Daisy Duck as Donald's assistant. Donald musters the animals to the Ark and misses, loses, and reunites with Daisy in the process.
- Firebird Suite – 1919 Version by Igor Stravinsky. The story of the Spring Sprite and her companion, an elk, who accidentally awakes the Firebird, a fiery spirit of destruction in a nearby volcano. The Firebird proceeds in destroying the forest, and seemingly the sprite. The Sprite survives, and the elk encourages her to restore the forest to its normal state. The Sprite is a Dryad-like creature who renews the land after a volcanic eruption. 
Walt Disney had planned to have Fantasia on a continual release with segments being replaced by new ones, so audiences would never see the same film twice. The film's initial failure in revenue, the loss of the European market due to the Second World War, and its mixed critical reaction led to the abandonment of this idea. Following Walt's death in 1966, his nephew Roy E. Disney thought of an update for Fantasia in 1974 and pitched the idea to Disney chairman Michael Eisner ten years later. A project for a sequel titled Musicana came about in the late 1970s that was to explore the world's cultures through their musical compositions, but the idea was shelved in the early 1980s.
Fantasia 2000 entered production in 1990. In September 1991, conductor James Levine attended a meeting with Roy Disney, Thomas Schumacher and Peter Gelb, and was asked to conduct several pieces for a continuation of Fantasia initially named Fantasia Continued. The music selections were collectively decided by Disney, Levine and production staff. Most were decisions driven by the musical preferences of the team, to which Disney chose Pines of Rome. Other pieces were discovered long after the story ideas were set, such as "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", where the visuals were based on artwork done for Fantasia. The Shostakovich piece, however, was presented to the team by an animator late into its production schedule. Composer André Previn reports in his book No Minor Chords that he was approached by Disney to work on a sequel, but declined after he learned that the soundtrack was, at that point, conceived of as an orchestration of songs by The Beatles.
The film was originally scheduled for a mid-1990s release; it was later renamed Fantasia '99 before being changed accordingly when the release date moved into 2000. Three segments from Fantasia were intended to remain in Fantasia 2000, but only The Sorcerer's Apprentice made it into the final release. The late addition of Rhapsody in Blue replaced Dance of the Hours a year before its release and Nutcracker Suite was also included until a few months before its theatrical run. After much of the publicity material had already been produced, plus a number of test screenings, it was removed to shorten the running time.
Design and animation
Director Pixote Hunt decided on the concept to "Symphony No. 5" with a conflict between the "good" multi-colored shapes and the "evil" dark shapes and how it resolves itself. Staff members visited a zoo, a butterfly farm and watched slow motion footage of bats to observe animal behaviors and incorporate them into the shapes. Pastels were used on top of computer animation, with each hand-drawn piece being scanned into a computer system and digitally manipulated.
Rhapsody in Blue was a work already in progress by director Eric Goldberg (lead animator for the Genie in Aladdin, also inspired by Al Hirschfeld's art), when Disney approached him to complete the piece for the film. This decision was ideal given the head start on the work and so that the film could include a work from an American composer. The little girl in the hotel in the segment is based on the Eloise character created by Kay Thompson and the red-haired man is based on John Culhane, the author for the "making of" books for both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. Taking on Rhapsody in Blue also allowed Disney to keep the animators assigned to their feature Kingdom of the Sun (later released as The Emperor's New Groove) busy while Kingdom went through an extensive rewrite. Some press articles written after the completion of Groove reversed the roles, saying that Goldberg first approached Disney for Rhapsody for Fantasia 2000 and was initially rejected, and later the producers came back to him as a result of the need to find something to do with the animation staff while the Kingdom rewrite was going on.
The idea of The Carnival of the Animals came from Joe Grant, who liked the ostriches in the Dance of the Hours segment from Fantasia. He pitched the idea to have ostriches with a yo-yo set to the music, only to have the animals changed to flamingos. Goldberg got his research from his past co-directing partner Mike Gabriel, who would play with a yo-yo as he took a break from work on Pocahontas. A number of real tricks are demonstrated, including the "Walk the Dog", "Rock the Cradle" and the "UFO".
The story of The Firebird is considered an exercise in the theme of life-death-rebirth deities, as well as a stylized interpretation of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens and the subsequent return of wildlife to the devastated region. Disney wished for a segment that was "emotionally equivalent" to the Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria scene in the original Fantasia. The horns on the elk in The Firebird were CGI-rendered on top of hand-drawn animation.
One significant difference in the musical styles between the films is that in Fantasia 2000 the piano features prominently in more than half of the selections, while the original Fantasia score did not employ a piano.
Fantasia 2000 features many technical innovations that would later be utilized in the Disney studio's other animation works, particularly in the use of computers. Both Pines of Rome and The Steadfast Tin Soldier were primarily CGI pieces, completed before Pixar's landmark film Toy Story was released.
Disney felt the need to include live-action interstitial scenes, as seen in the first Fantasia, to have the audience cleanse their "emotional palate", as well as providing some information about a segment coming up. The scenes were directed by Disney animation producer Don Hahn. Instead of using a single narrator like Fantasia did, celebrities from different areas of the art world introduce each segment in Fantasia 2000. Actor Steve Martin briefly discusses the history of Fantasia as a continuing concept and is immediately followed by violinist Itzhak Perlman (though Steve wanted the camera back on him for his own violin performance, breaking the fourth wall even after the film had ended), who introduces Pines of Rome. Quincy Jones leads into the Gershwin number, and Bette Midler gives a history on some cancelled Fantasia segment projects (including Destino) during introduction to the Shostakovich concerto, both featuring on screen the piano players for the respective pieces. James Earl Jones introduces The Carnival of the Animals, Finale with director Eric Goldberg, and, appropriately enough, magicians Penn & Teller make an appearance before The Sorcerer's Apprentice. When this piece concludes with Mickey Mouse's conversation with conductor Leopold Stokowski from the original Fantasia (with Mickey's lines from the original redubbed by his then voice actor, Wayne Allwine), Mickey then moves on to chat with Levine before the latter introduces Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 while Mickey finds Donald. The final sequence of The Firebird is introduced by Angela Lansbury.
|Soundtrack album by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra|
|Released||November 30, 1999|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
|Producer||Jay David Saks|
|Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology|
The film's soundtrack was released on November 30, 1999 on Walt Disney Records in the United States and internationally under the Sony Classical label. With a running time of 60 minutes, the album features Levine conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra on Rhapsody in Blue and The Sorcerer's Apprentice though incidentally, the film version uses a recording of the former conducted by Bruce Broughton. The soundtrack went on to reach the number one spot on the Billboard classical chart in July 2000. A Fantasia 2000 Deluxe Read-Along cassette and CD followed which contains two tracks telling the stories of Pomp and Circumstance and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, with narration by Pat Carroll. Included in the set is a 44-page book containing some of the film's artwork.
Fantasia 2000 was officially announced at a conference held by Disney in February 1999 in New York City where The Carnival of the Animals was screened for the first time. The film premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City on December 17, 1999 for three nights as part of a five-city concert tour. The animation was presented on a screen above the stage while the Philharmonia Orchestra performed the music under the direction of Levine, who used a video auto-cue to time the music to the images. Performances followed at the Royal Albert Hall in London on December 21; the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on December 22; the Orchard Hall in Tokyo on December 27; and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California on December 31, where Derrick Inouye conducted as part of a New Year's Eve gala event. Each of the seven performances cost over $1 million.
Fantasia 2000 was first released for VHS and DVD on November 14, 2000. While it was available as a single-disc DVD, a three-disc set titled The Fantasia Anthology was released that included a digital copy of the film, a restored print of Fantasia to commemorate its 60th anniversary, and a third disc containing bonus features. On November 30, 2010, the film was issued for DVD and Blu-ray in a single and two-disc set with Fantasia and a four-disc DVD and Blu-ray combo pack. The Blu-ray transfer presents the film in 1080p high-definition video with 7.1 surround sound and DTS-HD Master Audio. The film has been withdrawn from release after its return to the "Disney Vault" moratorium on April 30, 2011.
Fantasia 2000 received generally positive reviews from film critics. It holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, but a 59/100 metascore on Metacritic. Its consensus states that "It provides an entertaining experience for adults and children alike".
"Rhapsody in Blue" and the "Firebird Suite" attracted the most positive reception. But by its segmentary nature, quality and reviews were inconsistent. The Noah's Ark section took harsh criticism, for example. 
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times describes some of the animation,like the "Firebird's Suite", as "powerful" though others,like the dance of the abstract triangles, "a little pedestrian", but noted the film was "splendid entertainment" and rated it three stars out of four. Ebert's favorite sequence was the "Firebird Suite", "illustrated by a blasted landscape that slowly renews itself". He also admired "Rhapsody in Blue" and its interlocking stories. He found the style reminiscent of the Madeline picture books by Ludwig Bemelmans.  He found "The Pines of Rome" section suitable for the IMAX format and found effective the sequence showing them "moving through vast underwater ice caverns". He found the tin soldier section to play "wonderfully as a self-contained film". He found the Sorcerer's Apprentice to be "not as visually sharp as the rest of the film". 
In his review for The New York Times, film critic Stephen Holden wrote that the film "often has the feel of a giant corporate promotion whose stars are there simply to hawk the company's wares" while noting the film "is not especially innovative in its look or subject matter." Holden found the "Firebird Suite" segment to leave "a lasting impression of the beauty, terror, and unpredictability of the natural world". He found it to be the best of the seven segments. He found "the Sorcerer's Apprentice" to fit well with the rest of the film. He found the notion of Donald Duck playing Noah's assistant not bad, but ultimately going nowhere. He found the battle between two groups of abstract shapes too abbreviated to amount to much.  He found the segment with the whales to fail in that the images "quickly become redundant".  He found the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment to be the second-best in the film with its witty, hyperkinetic evocation of the melting pot with sharply definded characters. He found the segment with the flamingos cute and the one with the tin soldier to be romantic. 
James Berardinelli found the film to be of uneven quality. He found the dance of the abstract triangles to be "dull and uninspired", the yo-yoing flamingos "wastefull", and the New York City-based story of Rhapsody in Blue interesting but out of place in this particular movie. He found the story of the tin soldier to successfully mix its music with "top-notch animation" and "an emotionally rewarding story". He found the Firebird section to be "visually ingenious". He found Noah's Ark section to be the most light-hearted episode and the one with the most appeal to children, in an otherwise adult-oriented film. The Sorcerer's Apprentice section he found to be an enduring classic. 
The film premiered at Carnegie Hall in December, 1999. For the premiere, James Levine conducted a live performance of the Philharmonia Orchestra. On New Year's Eve, the film was featured at Pasadena, California at a black-tie event with the Philarmonia again performing live. 
Commercial release started on New Year's Day in the IMAX format at 54 movie theaters. Dick Cook, head of marketing and distribution, was attempting to make the film an event movie. But there were serious setbacks. There were a total of 7 premieres in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Each featured Levine and the Philharmonia. Each costed more than a million dollars. Excerpts from the original Fantasia appeared grainy on the IMAX screen. In the "avalanche" of press about the premature arrival of the 3rd millennium, a sequel to a 1940s film drew scant attention. Seating capacity at the IMAX theaters was limited and consequently the revenue was modest. The film earned less than 3 million dollars at its opening weeekend. 
By the time wide distribution started in spring, public interest seemed to have evaporated. The film gad cost 90 million dollarsc and made back roughly 2/3 of them in the United States. Michael Eisner viewed the film as the "folly" of Roy E. Disney. He was convinced that Roy had little, if any, talent. 
Fantasia 2000 first opened to theatres on January 1, 2000 for a four-month run at IMAX venues, becoming the first animated feature-length film shown in the format, along with a six-channel digital sound system. A temporary theatre costing almost $4 million was built for its run in Los Angeles, as Disney was unable to reach an agreement to exclusively show the film at the city's sole IMAX theatre located at the California Science Center. After opening at 75 theaters worldwide, the film grossed over $2.2 million in 54 cinemas in North America in its opening weekend, averaging $41,481 per theater. It set new records for the highest gross for any IMAX engagement and surpassed the highest weekly total for any IMAX film previously released. Its three-day worldwide gross surpassed $3.8 million, setting further records at 18 venues worldwide. Fantasia 2000 grossed a worldwide total of over $21 million in 30 days, and $64.5 million at the end of its IMAX run. Following its release in 1,313 regular theatres in the United States on June 16, 2000, the film grossed an additional $2.8 million in its opening weekend that ranked eleventh at the box office. Fantasia 2000 has earned a total worldwide gross of over $90.8 million since its release.
|28th Annie Awards||Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature||Walt Disney Pictures||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation||Eric Goldberg||Won|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design In an Animated Feature Production||Susan McKinsey Goldberg||Won|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design In an Animated Feature Production||Paul Brizzi, Gaetan Brizzi and Carl Jones||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Storyboarding||Ted C. Kierscey||Won|
|43rd Grammy Awards||Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Media||James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra||Nominated|
|12th PGA Golden Laurel Awards||Vision Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures||Won|
|1st Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Best Family Film||Nominated|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fantasia 2000.|
- Official website
- Fantasia 2000 at the Internet Movie Database
- Fantasia 2000 at the TCM Movie Database
- Fantasia 2000 at AllMovie
- Fantasia 2000 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Fantasia 2000 at Box Office Mojo
- Fantasia 2000 at the Big Cartoon DataBase