A charming Italian animated feature with an acknowledged debt to 'Fantasia.'The “presentatore” (Maurizio Micheli, standing in for animator Bruno Bozzetto) talks excitedly about his new project, which will combine animation and classic music. All puffed up with his own genius, he’s sure no one has done this before. A call comes through from California, and the presentatore learns that “someone named Prisney or something” has indeed done it before. Undaunted, he goes ahead anyway.
An evolution sequence (played against Ravel’s “Bolero”) begins in a Coke bottle and ends with a unique enactment of the dinosaurs’ extinction — it’s a prankish variation on Fantasia’s famous “Rite of Spring” sequence. Bozzetto’s own Stravinsky interpretation, “The Firebird,” imagines the Biblical serpent eating the forbidden fruit. He also does Debussy and Dvorak. But the segments you’ll remember are Vivaldi’s “Concerto in C” (a bee prepares to picnic in a field and keeps getting interrupted by an oblivious couple rolling around making love) and the stand-out piece, Sibelius’s “Valse Triste,” wherein a lonely, frightened cat explores a post-apocalypse city, remembering the people who once lived there and might have given it a home.Despite the unnecessary, slapsticky live-action scenes, this is a must for animation buffs.