Welcome back to my series of classic Disney film reviews! It’s been quite some time since I did an entry in this series, and today we’re taking a look at one of the best films Disney has given us over the many decades the studio has been around: Fantasia. The third Walt Disney Pictures film, Fantasia is a wordless (save for the live-action bits) anthology film, with eight separate animated features named after and played to classical orchestral compositions. Not only is this one of the best-animated films ever made, it’s also one of the most beautiful.
Each of the eight compositions has its own unique qualities. For instance, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice tells a story, while The Nutcracker Suite simply shows the changing of seasons, with a variety of different creatures taking part in the process. Each one is mesmerizing, and, yes, some are better than others, but the film is so well-crafted that that doesn’t matter.
Younger children will appreciate the whimsical manner of some of the pieces, but there are definitely moments that are quite frightening. The extinction of the dinosaurs is hard to watch, and the monster Chernabog is very dark and menacing.
The animation, as mentioned before, is extremely beautiful. Each piece looks absolutely stunning, even though the movie was made in 1940. The shadows, reflections in water, and other environmental interactions really prove to the viewer the work that was put into this masterpiece.
Fantasia doesn’t need writing to be compelling. All it needs is strong animation and wonderfully performed music to succeed in being a masterpiece. I’m going to give Fantasia an A+.
Fantasia stars Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor. Directed by Samuel Armstrong, James Algar, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, David D. Hand, Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, Ford Beebe, T. Hee, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson.