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Fantasia & Fantasia 2000: 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray + DVD Review - Page 2 of 2

Fantasia (1940) movie poster
Fantasia 2000 movie poster
Fantasia

Theatrical Release: November 13, 1940 / Running Time: 125 Minutes / Rating: G

Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norm Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield / Writers: Joe Grant, Dick Huemer

Cast: Leopold Stokowski (Himself), Deems Taylor (Original Narrator), Walt Disney (voice of Mickey Mouse), Corey Burton (Redub Narrator)

Segments: "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", "Nutcracker Suite", "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", "The Rite of Spring", "Intermission/Meet the Soundtrack", "The Pastoral Symphony", "Dance of the Hours", "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria"
 

Fantasia 2000

Theatrical Release: January 1, 2000 / Running Time: 75 Minutes / Rating: G

Directors: James Algar, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Don Hahn, Pixote Hunt

Hosts: Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn Jillette, Teller, James Levine, Angela Lansbury / Voice Cast: Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Russi Taylor (Daisy Duck)

Segments: "Symphony No. 5", "Pines of Rome", "Rhapsody in Blue", "Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102", "Carnival of the Animals, Finale", "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", "Pomp and Circumstance: Marchs 1, 2, 3 and 4", "Firebird Suite: 1919 Version"

Buy Fantasia & Fantasia 2000: 2 Movie Collection from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD ComboDVD

Diane Disney Miller introduces us to the Walt Disney Family Museum, a celebration of her father's life and his company's legacy. The valuable insight of photographer and effects supervisor Herman Schulthesis is showcased in "The Schulthesis Notebook."

BONUS FEATURES

The many extras are evenly divided among the Blu-ray's two discs. Fantasia opens up with an impressive three audio commentaries. The first, by film historian Brian Sibley, is newly recorded for this set. Sibley's comments are different than one would expect as he doesn't give us a real overview of the production the way other commentaries would. Instead, he views the film as an outsider, commenting on filming techniques and the significance of certain artistic choices.
It has a bit of a film school vibe, which is fine given the other viewpoints found in this set. If there's one caveat, it's that Sibley spends a bit too much time simply narrating what's on screen, but his analysis still enlightens.

Fantasia's other two commentaries are ported over from its 60th Anniversary DVD. The first is track of selected Walt Disney comments hosted by historian John Canemaker. Walt's portions are a mix of real archival interview snippets and a convincing impersonator reading off some of his printed comments. These are utterly fascinating as Walt is quite the frank interviewee. He reminisces about working with Leopold Stokowski, the training his animators went through, new tools that were developed for the picture, and even his thoughts on the film's reception. Canemaker's comments fill in some of the gaps and gives context to some of the things Walt references. This track is so strong that it makes you wish every feature under Walt's supervision had one.

The last commentary bring back Canemaker, this time accompanied by Roy E. Disney, historian Scott McQueen, and conductor James Levine. Canemaker manages to provide additional notes, and the others offer good remarks as well. Roy Disney looks at the film from an inspirational point of view, explaining how it moved and motivated him to create Fantasia 2000. McQueen focuses on the film's release history, the different edits made throughout the years, and the restoration efforts done back in 2000. Levine, of course, considers the musical score and how the visuals accentuate it. All four men keep the track lively and informative.

The new video supplements begin with "The Disney Family Museum" (4:05, HD), a piece hosted by Walt's daughter Diane Disney Miller. She explains how the concept came about and what efforts went into not only acquiring different artifacts but also presenting them in a creative manner. Disappointingly, the featurette starts off as if Miller's going to give us a complete guided tour, but that's abandoned after just the first room. The museum looks to be an absolute treat, but in the end, this comes across as a commercial for it.

"The Schulthesis Notebook: A Disney Treasure" (13:50) takes a look at photographer Herman Schulthesis' notebook that was compiled during the production of Fantasia. It reveals many of the visual effects found in the film such as the orchestration shadows, the snowflakes in "The Nutcracker Suite" and the volcanic smoke and lava in "The Rite of Spring." We also hear a little about Schulthesis' life, his mysterious disappearance, and the restoration efforts once the notebook was discovered. It's a fascinating look at a rare piece of Disney history.

A piece of concept art for the goddess Diana is one of many found in the Interactive Art Gallery. The Interactive Art Gallery holds this dramatic piece of art of Noah's Ark for the sequel's "Pomp and Circumstance" sequence.

The supplements on the Fantasia disc end with an interactive art gallery for both films. With a new user interface, you can view the images either in a "Flow View" that allows them to rotate before you or a "Thumb View" so you can see several at once. You can also rate the images and sort them by rating, favorite them, and have music (the Pastoral Symphony) playing throughout.

There are galleries for "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" (23 stills), "Nutcracker Suite" (67 stills), "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (44 stills), "The Rite of Spring" (13 stills), "The Pastoral Symphony" (50 stills), "Dance of the Hours" (17 stills), "Night on Bald Mountain" (38 stills), "Pines of Rome" (26 stills), "Rhapsody in Blue" (29 stills),

"Piano Concerto Allegro, Opus 102" (25 stills), "Carnival of the Animals, Finale" (26 stills), "Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3, and 4" (18 stills), and "Firebird Suite - 1919 Version" (37 stills). It's a satisfying collection, and the presentation makes things more interesting than usual.

More of a playback mode than a supplement, DisneyView allows us to watch the original film with artwork from Harrison Ellenshaw filling in the black bars on the sides of the frame with designs that blend with the on-screen action. While it seems strange that anyone bothered by black bars would find these less intrusive, I do admit they're tastefully done and work better than expected.

Over on Fantasia 2000's disc, we get the two commentaries that were recorded for the movie's DVD. The first features Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, and producer Don Ernst. The three share their experiences making the film, citing the different aspects of the original film that inspired them, the alternate versions drafted of each segment, and what the compositions chosen mean to them personally. The commentary's very easy to listen to and provides a satisfying collection of anecdotes.

The other track features the directors and art directors for each sequence. They include Don Hahn, Pixote Hunt, Hendel Butoy, Dean Gordon, Bill Perkins, Eric Goldberg, Susan Goldberg, Michael Humphries, Roy Disney, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, and Carl Jones. The constant changing of participants means the track never drags, and each one gives a satisfying reflection on making his segment and why certain aesthetic choices were made. In a fun and surprising move, Wayne Allwine shows up in character as Mickey Mouse to comment on "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" while Russi Taylor's Minnie and Tony Anselmo's Donald make cameo appearances. Their portions are charming and a better fit than you'd think.

"Musicana" displays various pieces of preliminary artwork for the original Fantasia sequel including this sketch of Mickey drawn for "The Emperor's Nightingale." "Dali & Disney: A Date with 'Destino'" tells about the lives of both visionaries and the short period in which they worked together.

The first of the new extras on Fantasia 2000's disc, "Musicana" (9:20, HD), looks at a Fantasia sequel pitched in the 1970s as a pet project for Woolie Reitherman and Mel Shaw. We hear about some of the proposed segments, including "The Emperor's Nightingale" starring Mickey Mouse, "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" told with pigeons, and a New Orleans jazz segment with bayou frogs (sound familiar?). This absorbing piece looks at both how the project began and how it fell by the wayside.

"Dali & Disney: A Date with Destino" (1:22:18, SD) is a lengthy documentary on Walt Disney and Salvador Dali's famed Destino collaboration. Before learning the evolution of the project, we're given fairly detailed biographies of both men with comparisons, contrasts, and a discussion of the problems working together. The documentary ends with the 21st century resurrection of the short, the nightmare it was to establish a proper order to the original storyboards, and the techniques used to bring the segment to life. It's a blunt, informative, and interesting look at how two visionaries nearly brought their respective talents together.

Two potential lovers are separated by an immense barrier in the much-hyped Walt Disney and Salvador Dali short "Destino." An interview with animator Frank Thomas serves as the introduction to "The Nutcracker Suite" section of the Virtual Vault BD-Live supplements.

At long last, we finally get to see Destino itself (6:31, HD). Finished in 2004, this Academy Award-nominated short tells the stories of a woman searching for her identity in life and a man trying to break free of the things that constrict him. That's about as close as I could get to describing the story since a great deal of it, expectedly, is open to interpretation. A fascinating experiment in surrealism, there's no emotional hook to really latch onto.
As such, it's something worth seeing and respecting more than sincerely enjoying.

Both Blu-rays and DVDs open with trailers for Bambi: Diamond Edition, Cars 2, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2. The menu's "Sneak Peeks" listing adds promos for Disney Movie Rewards, The Lion King: Diamond Edition, Alice in Wonderland: 60th Anniversary Edition, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Incredibles on Blu-ray, and Disney Parks. The Blu-rays add another for Disney Blu-ray 3-D while the DVDs add two for Disney Blu-ray Combo Packs and for "Phineas and Ferb": A Very Perry Christmas.

Almost all of the new bonus features do not make it onto the new DVDs. Fantasia holds the new Brian Sibley audio commentary and "Disney Family Museum" featurette while Fantasia 2000 merely offers the featurette "Musicana."

While the on-disc extras end there, many additional bonus features from the old DVDs are accessible in a BD-Live section called "Disney's Virtual Vault."

DISNEY'S VIRTUAL VAULT

As on the DVDs for which they were produced, many of the supplements are divided by segment. First, for the original Fantasia...

The Interstitials features one clip, an introduction (1:48) to nothing in particular which talks about the need for interstitials to cleanse the palette after each segment and how those were later trimmed down and then restored. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor starts with an introduction (1:12) explaining how one artist's interpretation for the sequence wasn't gelling with Walt's. We get to see that "Alternate Concept" (3:30) via still artwork, which is interesting but not as mesmerizing as the final film's. The Nutcracker Suite features an introduction (1:11) in which animator Frank Thomas remembers Walt's ever-changing ideas and how the mushrooms were once lizards. An excerpt from "The Story of the Animated Drawing" (3:29) has Disney himself giving a brief rundown of the layering and painting process.

An excerpt from "The Story of the Animated Drawing" shows us the ink and paint department working on "Fantasia" cels. This piece of deleted Sorcerer's Apprentice animation shows a side of Mickey Mouse unexpected in a corporate icon. Live-action reference model Helene Stanley is none too pleased at some of the off-handed comments the animators make in this "Tricks of Our Trade" excerpt.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice gives us an introduction (1:00) before delving into a piece of deleted animation in which we see Mickey destroy the first broom (1:06). The section wraps up with a story reel (4:27) that contains some surprisingly detailed storyboards. The Rite of Spring's introduction (0:49) reveals how the volcanic eruptions were achieved. An excerpt from "Tricks of our Trade" (7:34) offers an effects demonstration for things like splashing water and breaking glass as the animators study each element.

The Pastoral Symphony contains only a clip (1:03) in which we find out the original piece of music intended for the sequence and how thrilled Walt was to use characters that had no real-life frame of reference. Dance of the Hours has an introduction (0:59), this time about how the animators used a heavyset Disney employee as reference for hippos. Next comes an amusing excerpt from "Tricks of our Trade" (6:30) in which live-action reference model Helene Stanley acts out the ballerina moves, unaware of how they'll be caricatured. "Unused Rough Animation" (1:03) is a brief shot of Hyacinth and Ben Ali Gator's first encounter that was later discarded.

Night on Bald Mountain looks at artist Kay Nielsen's influence on the sequence (0:46). An excerpt from "The Plausible Impossible" (3:51) centers on marrying music with visuals as we see how the "Night on Bald Mountain" can work with clips from other Disney films. Similar to the previous segment, Ave Maria's introduction (2:03) looks at Nielson's work on the piece, and we also hear of the last-minute chaos that ensued to get the segment finished in time for release day.

This impressive piece of art of two charging horses is part of the "Ride of the Valkyries" story reel. "Adventures in a Perambulator" opens on the baby in question before assuming her point of view. "Fantasia" gets a new 50th anniversary logo in the theatrical trailer for its 1990 re-release.

"The Making of Fantasia" (48:01) is a comprehensive documentary narrated by David Ogden Stiers. We hear from various historians and animators about the studio's work prior to the feature, Disney's relationship with Taylor and Stokowski, and how the project came into play. Each musical segment is given attention here as we're told why those particular pieces were selected, what ideas were thrown around for each, and what challenges the crew faced. Unlike some other Disney documentaries, this doesn't spent a great deal of time just lavishing praise. It's actually more direct about some of the production problems and even covers the film's cold reception in more detail than expected. It's easily one of the most engaging documentaries done for a Disney animated feature.

The Fantasia That Never Was focuses on segments designed for a future Fantasia film. An introduction (3:18) walks us through each of the sequences and their origins. One piece that doesn't fit this description is "Clair De Lune" (7:40), a completed number cut out of the original Fantasia and later re-edited and set to "Blue Bayou" in Make Mine Music. The rest of the clips are presented in story reel format. They include "The Ride of the Valkyries" (2:57) depicting a Norse battle, "The Swan of Tuonela" (9:07) with a swan that harbors souls, "Invitation to the Waltz" (2:54) featuring "Pastoral Symphony's' Peter Pegasus getting into more mischief, and "Adventures in a Perambulator"(2:23) which shows the world from a baby's point of view. All are interesting to see and are valuable inclusions.

"Special Effects of Fantasia" (4:02) covers the same ground that the new "Schulthesis Notebook" feature covers, but in less detail, mostly focusing on the volcanoes and lava in "The Rite of Spring."

The Fantasia section wraps up with the original 1940 trailer (2:10) and the 1990 re-release trailer (1:27).

"Early Concept Story Reel" foresees interstitials starring host Danny and animator Crystal interacting with one another. A CGI test for "Symphony No. 5's" second early concept contains what looks like Styrofoam peanuts hovering over paint blobs. "Creating Pines of Rome" looks at some of the computer effects of the whales, shown here in grid form.

Fantasia 2000's domain opens with The Interstitials. "Creating the Interstitials" (5:08) looks at the stylizing and formatting of the celebrity introductions along with how they were technically implemented with extensive green screen. An "Early Concept Story Reel" (2:00) shows an early version of the "Pines of Rome" intro in which we have one consistent host like Deems Taylor along with an occasional interaction with a Disney animator. "Proof of Concept Test" (2:55) is a CG rendering of the opening segment to get a feel for the design and how the various elements come together. In "Mickey Meets the Maestro" (3:06), producer Don Ernst breaks down the interaction between Mickey and James Levine from storyboards through the final composite.

Symphony No. 5's "Creating Symphony No. 5" (4:32) takes a look at similarities with Fantasia's "Toccata and Fugue" abstract opening. Next are a number of early concepts: "#1 – May, 1993" (3:06) is a more aloof and surreal version of the sequence, "#2 – September, 1993" (3:12) uses a motif of floating instruments, "CGI Test of Concept #2" (1:13) presents the instrument concept with some preliminary CGI, and "#3" (1:09) features an interview with Eric Goldberg concerning a dueling maestros concept. "Proof of Concept Story Reel – June 1998" (2:53) presents artwork that more closely resembles the finished product.

Pines of Rome analyzes the challenge of marrying realistic visuals with a fantastical concept in "Creating Pines of Rome" (4:31). "Abandoned Concepts" holds two deleted bits in storyboard format: "Penguin Subplot" (3:23), which looks at the beginning of the sequence from a penguin's point of view, and "Original Ending" (1:08) which offers a less epic finale to the piece. "Storyboard-to-Film comparison" is exactly what it sounds like, presenting a split screen view of both the original storyboards and their corresponding final shots (3:21).

Director Eric Goldberg looks over some of renowned artist Al Hirschfeld's sketches in "Creating Rhapsody in Blue." A live-action reference ballerina performs some steps for inspiration in "Creating Piano Concerto No.2." The original ending for "Piano Concerto No.2" was more in-tune with Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale as we see the soldier and ballerina perish together in the fire.

Rhapsody in Blue starts off with the expected "Creating Rhapsody in Blue" (6:30) in which we hear about Eric Goldberg's friendship with Al Hirschfeld and his desire make a short in that artist's style. Goldberg returns for "The Stages of Animation" (4:19) where he breaks down a shot involving a cat and its milk step by step from storyboards through final color.

Piano Concerto #2's mix of hand-drawn animation, painted backgrounds, and CG leads is explored in "Creating Piano Concerto #2, Allegro, Opus 102" (4:43) along with previous attempts at adapting the tin soldier story. "Abandoned Concepts" features two excised moments: "Alternate Rat Sequence" (1:41) is a comical, fully finished version of the sewer scene that's at odds with the score, and "Original Ending" (0:26) presents the more solemn ending found in the original Andersen tale, also contradicting the music. "Production Progression Demonstration" shows a brief clip in story reel phase, rough animation, clean-up and effects animation, and final animation (0:39 each). Unlike the original DVD, these views can't be toggled with the angle button.

Carnival of the Animals, Finale looks at the similarities between this sequence and Fantasia's "Dance of the Hours" as well as the unique watercolor techniques in "Creating Carnival of the Animals, Finale" (3:24). "Early Story Reel – September, 1994" (1:59) shows a distinctly different version of the segment in which the all of the flamingos desire to play with the yo-yo. "Original Ending" (0:29) is a rough pencil version of a cute ending that's not quite as big as the finished version's.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice replicates the same section found under the original film's area with the introduction, deleted animation, and story reel.

Donald Duck has trouble adjusting to his newfound wings in "Icarus Duck", an abandoned early version of a Fantasia 2000 segment. Animators use maquettes for reference to their hand-drawn animation in "Creating the Firebird Suite." The IMAX trailer for Fantasia 2000 compares the size of standard 35 mm film to that of large-screen IMAX.

Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 begins with "Creating Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3, and 4" (4:32), offering a rundown of the different ideas considered before finally deciding on a Donald Duck retelling of Noah's Ark. Two of those ideas are seen in storyboard form under "Abandoned Concepts." The first is "Icarus Duck" (4:44), in which Donald creates himself wings to fly to impress Daisy. The other is "Noah's Dove" (5:41) which is similar to the final sequence, but with a nameless dove in Donald's role. Both are entertaining, but lack the emotional pull of the finished version.

Firebird Suite - 1919 Version starts with "Creating the Firebird Suite - 1919 Version" (6:07), a look at the inspirations for the segment and the underlying themes. "Story Reel" (2:44) presents storyboards for the middle section of the sequence. "Effects Animation: Firebird Eruption" (3:11) interviews visual effects supervisor David Bossert on the animation methods (all shockingly hand-drawn) implemented on the Firebird itself. The "Original Ending" (1:30) interestingly, though less effectively, has the sprite turn into a river and finally the sun. A "Production Progression Demonstration" shows us the awakening of the sprite via story reel, rough animation, clean up and effects animation, and final color (0:50 each). Once again, there's no multi-angle feature implemented here.

Trailers and TV Spots holds a theatrical trailer (2:12), an IMAX trailer (1:25), and four TV spots (2:08). "Roy Disney Introduction" (3:31) is a clip with the producer made especially for the original Fantasia 2000 DVD that touts the original film's legacy and how they're continuing that tradition. It's a good to have for completeness' sake, especially given his recent passing.

Producers Roy E. Disney and Don Ernst are all grins after a story session wraps up in "The Making of 'Fantasia 2000'." Six eager bird classmates just happens to have letter cards with them that spell out the word "Melody" in the classic short "Adventures in Music: Melody." In glorious (but letterboxed) CinemaScope, Professor Owl pulls out the four instruments he'll be discussing in "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom."

"The Making of Fantasia 2000" (48:42) is a documentary fashioned after the one for the original film, complete with David Ogden Stiers again narrating. After a brief recap of the original Fantasia's history, this covers projects over the years directly influenced by it, finally arriving at the genesis of Fantasia 2000.
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Each segment is given its own portion that deals with the reasons why those classical pieces were chosen, why the visuals were chosen to harmonize with them, and how those were realized. Like the original film's documentary, this one is informative and thorough, making it better than most of its kin.

The Virtual Vault supplements end with two shorts exhibiting a vaguely similar type of marriage of picture and sound to Fantasia. The first is 1953's Adventures in Music: Melody (10:10), which demonstrates, in a bird class with an owl professor, how melodies all around us, even in our speech patterns. The other is Adventures in Music: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (10:20). Bringing back the same cast, this 1954 Academy Award winner looks at the evolution of four instruments throughout the ages. Both cartoons are charming thanks to their catchy tunes and striking animation.

While it's a relief to see most of the Fantasia Aanthology features ported over (more on what's missing later), the concept of Disney's Virtual Vault doesn't sit well with me. There's no way to actually download these videos, meaning you're having to buffer them upon each viewing. That alone can take a great deal of time even on a reasonably fast Internet connection. On top of that, how long are we to expect Disney to keep hosting these clips on their server? At some point in time they'll inevitably remove them, resulting in dead links on this disc. To add insult to injury, there's no way to view these full screen. Each clip is presented in a tiny window dwarfed by the background menu. Watching streaming video that can be taken down at any time in small windows doesn't seem like a very ideal way of seeing these supplements.

Here's where things get really odd. All of the above features are actually on the Fantasia 2000 disc itself. Yes, you read that right. Disney is making you sit through neverending bufferings in postage stamp windows when they've authored those same clips on the actual disc. There's no way to view them, however, except by accessing the disc's files on a Blu-ray disc drive. Once you do that, you're actually able to watch these in full screen on your monitor without any loading time.

Why on earth would Disney provide these by BD-live when they're all right there just needing direct menu links? Their press releases touted that the Virtual Vault was designed so that supplements didn't have to take up much disc space. That claim is negated when you're still putting all of that content on the hard disc after all, never mind the fact that Blu-ray can hold nearly 23 hours of standard definition content. Something is awfully fishy, here, and consumers are getting the short end of the stick because of it.

Fantasia's colorful main menu puts us in a virtual orchestra pit, surrounded by rotating clips from the film.

WHAT'S MISSING?

Some of the Fantasia movies' bonus features have not made the transition from DVD to Blu-ray. Every segment from each film had "About the Music" text screens that gave a brief history of the composition in question. Galleries for "Clair De Lune" (8 stills), "The Ride of the Valkyries" (163 stills), "The Swan of Tuonela" (77), "Invitation to the Waltz" (72), "Adventures in a Perambulator" (108), "Mosquito" (12),
"Flight of the Bumble Bee" (15), "Baby Ballet" (36), The Roadshow Program (32), and Posters (22) have been dropped completely. There was also a fascinating "Re-Release Schedule" (14 text screens) that covered all of the original film's various re-releases and edits.

Text biographies for Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Ben Sharpsteen, Joe Grant, Dick Huemer, Roy E. Disney, Donald W. Ernst, James Levine, Don Hahn, Hendel Butoy, Pixote Hunt, Eric Goldberg, Francis Glebás, and Gaëan and Paul Brizzi also do not resurface, nor does a "Rhapsody in Blue" storyboard-to-film comparison and an interactive "Orchestra Demonstration" that allowed you to mix and isolate different sections of an orchestra. It's also worth noting that while the Blu-ray galleries total a decent 413 stills, the same galleries from the Anthology DVD offered a whopping 1,532 stills.

MENUS and PACKAGING

The DVD and Blu-ray menus are virtually identical. Each film's main menu takes place in a virtual orchestra pit in which various clips from the films rotate around us. The Blu-ray's pop-up menu places selections over colored popsticle sticks, which rise and fall as you move your cursor with accompanying musical chimes. The loading screen has these sticks appear one at a time.

The combo pack's four discs are held in an only slightly wider than usual Blu-ray case with two swinging trays rendering it compact. A shiny, embossed cardboard slipcover tops this. The enclosed inserts promote other Disney releases, Disney Blu-ray 3-D, and Disney Movie Rewards.

Mickey Mouse leaves Leopold Stokowski off in the distance to spend a moment with James Levine in this bridge between the old and the new Fantasias.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 may not seem like everyone's cup of tea at first, but both provide enough variety to ensure that you walk away having latched onto something. Each feature offers a different side to the same coin and are somehow stronger together than apart, each one making up for the other's shortcomings. Those with an affinity for animation and/or classical music will certainly find a wealth of art here. Despite the current popular notion of the Disney brand name, the studio is capable of providing sophisticated and groundbreaking entertainment. One need look no further than these two features to realize that.

The Blu-rays present the films with outstanding picture and sound. The new supplements are well-made, but the value lies in the Virtual Vault content. Had those features been easily accessible, this would be a near perfect release. Relegating those supplements to BD-Live hampers things somewhat as does the lack of original Deems Taylor audio and the pipedream of seeing Sunflower outside of YouTube. Owners of the Fantasia Anthology are recommended to hold onto that set, but this Blu-ray release still deserves a place in everyone's library for the reference quality video and audio of two matchless motion pictures.

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Reviewed December 22, 2010.