Fantasia 2000 is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. A followup to 1940's Fantasia, the film is the thirty-eighth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. It premiered in the United States on December 17, 1999, was released to IMAX theatres on January 1, 2000, and was later released to standard theatres nationwide on June 16, 2000. As with its predecessor, the film visualizes classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. The music is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, arranged and conducted by James Levine, excepting two pieces arranged by Peter Schickele, and the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment from the original film.
The composers and their works, in the order they are used in the film, are:
- Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in c minor-I. Allegro con brio – abstract patterns resembling butterflies and bats explore a world of light and darkness which are conquered by light at last.
- Ottorino Respighi's Pines of Rome – this segment features a pod of frolicking humpback whales in an unusual 'aerial' setting, and within icebergs. The final section, the Via Appia gives the impression of the larger pod of adults in migration.
- George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue – an episode of 1930s-era New York City, depicting the day in the lives of several people within the Depression-era bustling metropolis, as scenes drawn in the style of Al Hirschfeld's famous cartoons of the era, including an animation of Gershwin the composer, himself at the piano. The little girl in the hotel is based on the Eloise character created by Kay Thompson.
- Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major-I. Allegro – a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier. The setting is appropriate - the concerto was written as a gift by Shostakovich to his musically gifted young son, and the percussive rhythms also suit a story about a soldier. However, the ending is a happy one in contrast with that of the original story.
- Camille Saint-Saëns's The Carnival of the Animals, Finale – A flock of ballerina flamingos (itself a nod to the Hippopotami, Ostriches and Elephants of Dance of the Hours from Fantasia), with a rebellious slapstick Flamingo with a yo-yo, designed to delight children with the on-screen hysterics; music arranged by Peter Schickele. A number of real yo-yo tricks including "Walk the Dog", "Rock the Cradle" and "UFO".
- Paul Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice – a segment from the original Fantasia featuring Mickey Mouse, conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
- Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 – a retelling of the story of Noah's Ark, with Donald Duck as first mate to Noah. Donald musters the animals to the Ark, and misses, loses, and is reunited with Daisy Duck in the process; music arranged by Peter Schickele, including a wordless soprano solo as part of the No. 1 March ('Land of Hope and Glory').
- Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite - 1919 Version – the story of a spring Sprite and her companion Elk. After a long winter she restores the life to the forest but accidentally awakes the Firebird spirit of a nearby volcano. Angered the Firebird proceeds in destroying the forest and seemingly the sprite. She is restored to life however after the destruction and the forest life is reborn with her. The story is considered an exercise in the theme of Life-death-rebirth deities.
The plan for the original Fantasia movie was for it to be a kind of permanently running show, periodically adding new episodes while others would be rotated out. However, the film's failure to achieve success at the box office, combined with the loss of the European market due to World War II, meant that the plan went unused. Accordingly, Fantasia 2000 implemented this idea by retaining the sequence with Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice, arguably the most popular segment from the original film.
Development for Fantasia 2000 began in 1990, and production began the following year. The music selections were made as a collective decision by Roy E. Disney, James Levine, and members of the production staff. Most were decisions driven by the musical preferences of the team; Roy personally chose the Pines of Rome. Other pieces were discovered long after the story ideas were set, such as the Steadfast Tin Soldier, where the visuals were based on artwork done for the original Fantasia, but the Shostakovitch piece was presented to the team by an animator relatively late into the production schedule.
Rhapsody in Blue was a work already in progress by director Eric Goldberg (lead animator for the Genie in Aladdin, also inspired by Al Hirschfeld's art), when Disney approached him to complete the piece for the movie. This decision was ideal given the head start on the work and so that the film could include a work from an American composer. Taking on Rhapsody in Blue also allowed Disney to keep the animators assigned to their feature Kingdom of the Sun (later released as Lilo & Stitch) busy while Kingdom went through an extensive re-write. Some press articles written after the completion of Groove reversed the roles, saying that Goldberg first approached Disney for Rhapsody for Fantasia 2000 and was initially rejected, and later the producers came back to him as a result of the need find something to do with the animation staff while the Kingdom rewrite was going on.
One significant difference in the musical styles between the films is that in Fantasia 2000 the piano features prominently in more than half of the selections, while the original Fantasia did not have a piano in any segment.
Fantasia 2000 features many technical innovations, that would later be utilized in the Disney studio's other animation works, particularly in the use of computers. Both Pines of Rome and The Steadfast Tin Soldier were primarily CGI pieces, completed before Pixar's landmark film Toy Story 2 was released. The horns on the elk in The Firebird were CGI-rendered on top of hand-drawn animation (giving them a higher consistency, when compared to Bambi which was all drawn by hand), a technique that would be used in Treasure Planet for the character Silver.
The producers felt that some break between the musical segments was necessary to "cleanse the palate", so a series of "interstitials" were directed by Disney animation producer Don Hahn. Instead of using a single narrator as in Fantasia, the individual pieces are introduced by celebrities. After the film opens with Beethoven's Fifth, Steve Martin and Itzhak Perlman introduce Pines of Rome. Quincy Jones leads into the Gershwin number, and Bette Midler gives an introduction to the Shostakovich concerto, both featuring on screen the piano players for the respective pieces. James Earl Jones introduces Carnival of the Animals with director Eric Goldberg, and, appropriately enough, Penn and Teller make an appearance before The Sorcerer's Apprentice. When this piece concludes with Mickey Mouse's conversation with conductor Leopold Stokowski from the original Fantasia, Mickey then moves on to chat with Levine before the latter introduces Pomp and Circumstance. The final sequence of The Firebird is introduced by Angela Lansbury.
Fantasia 2000 was released on its own on VHS and DVD in 2000, together with the 60th Anniversary Edition of Fantasia. A DVD box set including the two films and a bonus disc with special features, entitled The Fantasia Anthology, was also released. They have been discontinued now and a Platinum Edition DVD of both films are scheduled to be released no earlier than 2003.
- Designed and directed by Pixote Hunt
- Story by Kevin Yasuda
- Introduction by Deems Taylor (archived footage)
Pines of RomeEdit
- Directed by Hendel Butoy
- Story by James Fujii
- Art Direction by William Perkins and Dean Gordon
- Introduction by Steve Martin and Itzhak Perlman
Rhapsody in BlueEdit
- Written and directed by Eric Goldberg
- Art direction by Susan McKinsey Goldberg
- Design consultant: Al Hirschfeld
- Introduction by Quincy Jones
- Featured pianist: Ralph Grierson
Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102Edit
- Directed by Hendel Butoy
- Based upon "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" by Hans Christian Andersen
- Story development by James Capobianco and Ron Meurin
- Art direction by Michael Humphries
- Introduction by Bette Midler
- Featured pianist: Yefim Bronfman
Carnival of the AnimalsEdit
- Written, directed, and animated by Eric Goldberg
- Art direction by Susan McKinsey Goldberg
- Introduction by James Earl Jones
The Sorcerer's ApprenticeEdit
- Originally from the 1940 Fantasia
- Directed by James Algar
- Art direction by Tom Codrick, Charles Phillipi, and Zack Schwartz
- Story development by Dick Huemer, Joe Grant, Perce Pearce, James Capobianco, and Carl Fallberg
- Mickey Mouse design by Fred Moore
- Key character animation by Fred Moore, Preston Blair
- Key effects animation by Ugo D'Orsi
- New introduction by Penn and Teller
Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4Edit
- Directed by Francis Glebas
- Art direction by Daniel Cooper
- Based upon "Noah's Ark" from the Book of Genesis
- Story development by Robert Gibbs, Terry Naughton, Todd Kurosawa, Pat Ventura, Don Dougherty, and Stevie Wermers
- Introduction by Leopold Stokowski (archive footage), Mickey Mouse (voice of Wayne Allwine), James Levine, and Donald Duck (voice of Tony Anselmo)
- Supervising animator: Mickey Mouse (from the Introduction) by Andreas Deja
Firebird Suite - 1919 versionEdit
- Written and directed by Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi
- Art direction by Carl Jones
- Supervising animator: Sprite by Anthony de Rosa
- Supervising animator: Elk by Ron Husband
- Supervising animator: Firebird by John Pomeroy
- Introduction by Angela Lansbury
- Directed by Don Hahn
- Art direction by Pixote Hunt
- Story by Kirk Hanson
- Screenplay by Don Hahn, Irene Mecchi, and David Reynolds
- Starring James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra