Fantasia may not have worked entirely for me (mostly because it goes on for too long), but I do understand why it is a classic and hold nothing against the movie. Every short is inspired, has beautiful music, and breathtaking animation. Fantasia 2000 is supposed to fulfill Walt Disney’s dream of adding more shorts to the original Fantasia (although only one of the previous shorts is present). And while I do think it is a worthy companion to the ground breaking Fantasia, it is definitely not as good. The main reason for this is that it lacks something that every short in the previous film had: inspiration. And it also suffers from being made in a time when animation is thought of as children’s entertainment.
The other two elements that made the Fantasia shorts what they were are still present. The music is, of course fantastic. And the animation is also breathtaking. No surprises there since animation had advanced so much since the first Fantasia was made.
The problem here is that there is nothing as daring, as creative, or as abstract as the “The Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria”, “Dance of the Hours”, or even “The Rite of Spring”, which was my least favorite of the Fantasia shorts. The ones from 2000 that I would put in the same league as these are “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Firebird Suit”. The rest, while not bad left me wondering if that really was the best they could come up with.
But probably the reason why these shorts feel lacking is because of the constraint the era it was made in had on the animators. When Fantasia came out, Disney wasn’t the family-friendly company that it is today, and animation wasn’t yet thought of as being for children only. But today, both of those things are true. So, it is obvious in 2000 that the whole concept was dumbed down for modern audiences. The cute characters in the shorts, and even the celebrity hosts are evidence of this (Quincy Jones and Angela Lansbury should have presented every short). I bet many ideas for shorts were turned down for being too daring for a modern Disney movie.
Anyways, like I said, Fantasia 2000 is a fun and worthy companion to Fantasia. But, it could have been so much more.