Fantasia 2000

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Fantasia 2000
Fantasia2000 Poster.jpg
IMAX release poster
Directed by See below
Produced by Roy E. Disney
Donald W. Ernst
Written by See below
Starring James Levine
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
See Credits
Music by See below
Cinematography Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas
Lois Freeman-Fox
Julia Gray
Craig Paulsen
Gregory Plotts
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • December 17, 1999 (1999-12-17) (Premiere)
  • January 1, 2000 (2000-01-01) (IMAX)
  • June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16) (Official release)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million[1]
Box office $90,874,570[1]

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.

Program[edit]

The segments in the order of appearance:

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

"Fantasia is timeless. It may run 10, 20 or 30 years. It may run after I'm gone. Fantasia is an idea in itself. I can never build another Fantasia. I can improve. I can elaborate. That's all."

– Walt Disney[6]

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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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[edit]

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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[10] 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.[10] 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[edit]

Most of the film's soundtrack was digitally recorded at the Medinah Temple concert hall in Chicago,[10] with performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra being recorded at Air Studios in London.

Fantasia 2000
Soundtrack album by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra
Released November 30, 1999 (1999-11-30)
Length 59:59
Label Walt Disney Records
Producer Jay David Saks
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Tarzan
(1999)
Fantasia 2000
(1999)
Dinosaur
(2000)

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.[12] 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.[13][14] The soundtrack went on to reach the number one spot on the Billboard classical chart in July 2000.[15] 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.[16]

Release[edit]

Concert tour[edit]

Carnegie Hall, where Fantasia 2000 had its premiere.

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.[17] 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.[18] The animation was presented on a screen above the stage while the Philharmonia Orchestra performed the music under the direction of Levine,[19] who used a video auto-cue to time the music to the images.[20] 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,[21] where Derrick Inouye conducted as part of a New Year's Eve gala event.[22] Each of the seven performances cost over $1 million.[23]

Home media[edit]

Fantasia 2000 was first released for VHS and DVD on November 14, 2000.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] The film has been withdrawn from release after its return to the "Disney Vault" moratorium on April 30, 2011.[27]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

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".[28]

"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.[29]

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.[30] 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.[4] 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".[4]

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."[31] 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.[3] He found the segment with the whales to fail in that the images "quickly become redundant".[3] 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.[3]

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.[5]

Release[edit]

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.[29]

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 3nd 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.[29]

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.[29]

Box office[edit]

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.[18][32] 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.[33][34] 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.[35] It set new records for the highest gross for any IMAX engagement and surpassed the highest weekly total for any IMAX film previously released.[36] Its three-day worldwide gross surpassed $3.8 million, setting further records at 18 venues worldwide.[37] Fantasia 2000 grossed a worldwide total of over $21 million in 30 days,[37] and $64.5 million at the end of its IMAX run.[38] 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.[39] Fantasia 2000 has earned a total worldwide gross of over $90.8 million since its release.[1]

Accolades [edit]

Award Category Name Outcome
28th Annie Awards[40] 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[41] 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

Credits[edit]

Note: All segments performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Levine, except where noted.

Segment Personnel
Live-action scenes
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, I. Allegro con brio
Pines of Rome
Rhapsody in Blue
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Allegro, Op. 102
The Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnival des Animaux), Finale
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4
Firebird Suite – 1919 Version

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Fantasia 2000 (35mm & IMAX)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ Solomon, Charles (December 1999). "Rhapsody in Blue: Fantasia 2000's Jewel in the Crown". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Holden (2001), p. 212-213
  4. ^ a b c Ebert (1999)
  5. ^ a b Berardinelli (2005), p. 55-56
  6. ^ Solomon, Charles (August 26, 1990). "Fantastic 'Fantasia' - Disney Channel Takes a Look at Walt's Great Experiment in Animation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Brennan, Judyr (August 19, 1997). "Coming, Sooner or Later". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ Culhane 1999, p. 8
  9. ^ Hunt, Pixote (2000). Commentary from Creating "Synphony No. 5" from The Fantasia Legacy (DVD). Walt Disney Pictures. 
  10. ^ a b c d "The Making of Fantasia 2000" feature from The Fantasia Legacy (2000) [DVD]. Walt Disney Pictures.
  11. ^ Goldberg, Eric (2000). Commentary from Creating "Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnival des Animaux), Finale" from The Fantasia Legacy (DVD). Walt Disney Pictures. 
  12. ^ Billboard, 8 Jan 2000
  13. ^ CMJ New Music Report 29 Nov 1999
  14. ^ Soundtrack.net
  15. ^ Billboard, 8 Jul 2000
  16. ^ Billboard, 15 Jul 2000
  17. ^ Frankel, Daniel (February 10, 1999). "Disney's "Fantasia 2000" going Imax". E! Online. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Matthews, Jack (December 17, 1999). "'Fantasia 2000' grows to IMAX height". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ Liberman, Paul (December 20, 1999). "Disney Unwraps 'Fantasia' Sequel, After a Long Spell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  20. ^ Cowan, Rob (December 23, 1999). "Return of the Sorcerer's Apprentice". The Independent (London). Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ Disney Magazine, Fall 1999 edition
  22. ^ Dutka, Elaine (January 3, 2000). "'Fantasia/2000' New Year's Eve Gala Draws an Artistic Crowd". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  23. ^ Stewart, p. 346
  24. ^ Billboard, 16 Sep 2000
  25. ^ Perigard, Mark (November 12, 2000). "ON DVD; Disc additions enhance `Fantasia' celebration". Boston Herald. Retrieved February 6, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Fantasia & Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Special Edition". Ultimate Disney/DVDizzy. September 1, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 2 Movie Collection Special Edition". Disney DVD. Retrieved March 18, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Fantasia 2000 - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c d Stewart (2005), p. 346-347
  30. ^ "Fantasia/2000". RogerEbert.com. December 31, 1999. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  31. ^ Stewart, p. 347
  32. ^ Zager, Michael (2012). Music Production: For Producers, Composers, Arrangers, and Students. 
  33. ^ Noxon, Christopher (December 30, 1999). "The 'Sorcerer's' Apprentices". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  34. ^ Noxon, Christopher (December 7, 1999). "L.A. Imax Says No, So Disney Builds Its Own Huge Screen". Los Angeles Times. 
  35. ^ "News Beat - 'Fantasia' B.O. fantastic". New York Daily News. January 5, 2000. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  36. ^ "'Fantasia/2000' smashes house records at IMAX theaters worldwide in its opening weekend". Business Wire. January 3, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  37. ^ a b "'Fantasia/2000' orchestrates nearly $4 million in just three days at 75 IMAX theaters worldwide". Business Wire. January 4, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  38. ^ Watson, Pernell (May 26, 2000). "Fantasia/2000' coming to regular theatres soon". Daily Press. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  39. ^ Natale, Richard (June 19, 2000). "Audiences Dig 'Shaft,' but June Business Isn't Right On". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Legacy: 28th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2000)". International Animated Film Society. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  41. ^ "And the nominees are...". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 5D. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 

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