The “Rhapsody in Blue” sequence of Fantasia 2000 is so good, it brought tears to my eyes. Set in 1930s New York, the animation style pays tribute to caricaturist Al Hirschfield. It’s animation with a story, people as well as cute animals, and it provokes more response than a chuckle, or an “isn’t that sweet?”I preferred Fantasia 2000 to the 1940 original. Although it has a similar structure, and the sequences cover similar themes, the animated pieces set to classical music are shorter, and - thanks mainly to “Rhapsody in Blue” - a little more varied. Other highlights include Donald Duck’s paean to love on Noah’s Ark, accompanied by Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance”, and the yo-yo flamingoes, set to Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” (music highly suited to Disney animation). Less successful are an overlong sequence of whales flying through space (to Respighi’s “Pines of Rome”) and some gratuitous linking material (from the likes of Steve Martin, Bette Midler and Angela Lansbury). “The Sorceror’s Apprentice” (featuring Mickey Mouse) from the original Fantasia is included, but it would have been nice if they’d taken the time to clean up the print a little.
The biggest disappointment is that Fantasia 2000 screens first in Australia in regular cinemas - where is the IMAX print?P.S. After six months, Fantasia 2000 finally arrived in Sydney’s IMAX theatre. It was worth the wait - most of the sequences improve with the enormous screen and booming soundtrack (the opening abstract Beethoven piece is marvellous). Only
“Rhapsody in Blue” suffers; it’s easier to absorb all the story elements on the smaller, flatter screen.