Written and directed by a slew of people.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 1/20/00
While vacationing in what some might call
the "Sunny Havana of the East Coast"--Buffalo, NY--I decided to try
and catch "Fantasia 2000" with my kid sisters, Cate "Bill Russell"
Bell and Sydney "Cash Cow" Bell, up-and-coming professional
basketball stars that double as big-time Disney movie fans. After
all, "Fantasia 2000" is one of the few movies that appeals to kids
that I would want to watch, and as opposed to my phat pad in Falls
Church, VA, there is an IMAX theatre only 10 minutes from my dad's
house. So, it was all systems go!
"Fantasia 2000" is the sequel to what many
of you know--and disagree with--to be my favorite Disney movie of
them all, "Fantasia." I believe that there are two schools of
Disney fans: old skool (enjoy "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,"
"Bambi," and my second-favorite Disney movie, "Robin Hood") and new
school ("Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," "Mulan," etc.). But even
with this broad, sweeping bracketing of the mouse movies, "Fantasia"
seemed to be an outlier. The whole premise of both the original and
new versions of "Fantasia" is putting on paper the thoughts of what
might occur if this music (classical and jazz pieces) were to come
to life. This allows the animators to make a short story out of,
say, "Ride of the Valkyries" and have all the characters move to
very set rhythms in truly fantastic settings. So, if you don't like
classical music and you DO like for your animated characters to talk
(because they don't in "Fantasia"), the first and second movies may
not be for you.
In fact, upon further reflection, I suspect
that this is why Disney decided to show this movie in an IMAX format
rather than mass-marketed all across the country during the summer.
Think about it: many cities in the US don't even have an IMAX
theater, and if they do, they are not all showing this movie; in DC,
there's an IMAX theater at the Air and Space Museum, but the museum
could not pick up the movie for its entire four-month run, so Disney
said no. The closest alternative is Baltimore or Richmond!! This
is a little un-Disney to not try and make the most money possible on
a first run of one of its movies (no McDonald's
tie-ins??)--remember, while Disney may love you, go to Epcot Center
and see how much those sodas cost. See how much they love you
then! Maybe Disney still has plans to release this movie to regular
theaters if its four-month trial goes well, but I suspect that
Disney is not confident enough in a 70-minute musical involving only
classical pieces to show it across the nation.
But, I digress. "Fantasia 2000" has seven
new featurettes--plus one from the first movie, "The Sorcerer's
Apprentice" piece--set to music and introduced by some A-list
performers like Quincy Jones, Steve Martin, and Angela Lansbury.
All were reasonably enjoyable to me except for the second segment,
which involved some whales stuck in some icebergs and are eventually
flying through the sky; that one was a little slow for me and the
musical selection was not doing it! But, I was quietly sobbing
during the Gershwin "Rhapsody in Blue" segment (more a product of
the music than of the animation) and the "Life, Death, Renewal"
Stravinsky selection at the end of the movie. Nothing gets me all
teary-eyed like good, classical music! The "Pomp & Circumstance"
segment starring Donald Duck was well done also, casting Donald and
his love Daisy as Noah and his wife aboard Noah's ark. It was also
very interesting to see the varying animation styles featured
throughout the film, although this also brought to my attention how
old the first "Fantasia" is because "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
animation is so grainy. It is sixty years old!
For me, at least, "Fantasia 2000" isn't what
it used to be. I liked the first one more and maybe because I liked
the original for its novelty, even when I saw it 15 years ago. And,
it is not very long--70 minutes, and that is with all of those
celebrities showing up. It also didn't help that there was this kid
sitting next to me that didn't want to give up the armrest, and
(naturally) seemed to be the only kid in the theater that was
coughing, talking to her mom, and chewing on popcorn with her mouth
But, I would recommend seeing this one if
only because of the IMAX experience. If you've never seen a movie
IMAXed before, this is not a bad place to start. The sound and the
screen are simply amazing.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard