Friday, April 15, 2011

Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940)

This review is critically analyzing Walt Disney’s Fantasia. It is one of the greatest experimental works of the people who created the company. This review is based on Roger Ebert’s review from “Chicago Sun Times”, Henry Allen’s review from “Washington Post” and Ben Simon’s review from “Animated views”.


Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. It is the third feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The film consists of eight segments set to pieces of classical music as conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which were performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Music critic and composer Deems Taylor provides live-action introductions to each segment.


In Roger Ebert’s words: “Walt Disney did not invent animation, but he nurtured it into an art form that could hold its own against any "realistic" movie.” (“Chicago Sun Times”, October 5, 1990). The basic idea of the film had was to take some of the most familiar compositions of classical music, and illustrate them with animated drawings. If there's one thing that this movie makes clear, it's that there's a lot more to animation than just drawing little animals and cartoon characters and having them hop around. The artists experimented for weeks with the fairy sequence, and eventually used a whole arsenal of techniques to get the desired effects: not only straightforward drawing and traditional animation, but foreground and background matte paintings, gels, trick dissolves, multilayered paintings and other special effects. The effortless magic of the sequence hardly suggests the painstaking work that went into it. Henry Allen admits that: “You know you are supposed to like "Fantasia" the way you are supposed to like "Tom Sawyer," or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or Bob Hope, or the recent PBS series about the Civil War -- cozy icons you're obliged to enjoy as if they stand for something higher” (“Washington Post”, September 30, 1990). Fantasia didn’t just teach the audience about how awesome movies really could be, but it introduced it to music. “Fantasia” brought back classic music to everybody’s ears while everybody would have been more used to that time’s pop music, for example Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley. But, it wasn’t just the style of music, it was the idea of music, the idea of a movie that showed to the audience everything but made it to put all the pieces together. Ben Simon notices that: “there are numerous attempts to suggest connections between Disney and Dalí’s work from before they met, and while there are similarities, some of these comparisons feel a little desperate at a stretch.” (“Animated Views”, December 15, 2010).

All in all it is a worth to see amazing creation which has made new step in the history of animation. It is an illustrated peace of art that live action movies could never have.

1 Roger Ebert “Chicago Sun Times”, October 5, 1990
2 Henry Allen “Washington Post”, September 30, 1990
3 Ben Simon “Animated views”, December 15, 2010


1 Mickey The Mouse in Fantasia
2 Walt Disney working

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