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Fantasia 2000, also known as Fantasia Continued in pre-production and concept.
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This is an American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. A sequel to 1940's Fantasia, the film is the thirty-eighth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. It premiered in the United States on December 17, 1999. As with its predecessor, the film visualizes classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. Set pieces are introduced by a variety of celebrities including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones and Angela Lansbury.

Most music is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with James Levine conducting all numbers except The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Levine also arranged most scores, except two pieces arranged by Peter Schickele, as noted below.

Plot

The composers and their works, in the order in which they appear:

  • 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 family of frolicking humpback whales that are able to fly due to a supernova. At one point, the whale calf is separated from his parents when he's trapped in an iceberg, later finding his way out with his mother's help. 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 animated cameo of Gershwin the composer himself at the piano. The little girl in the hotel is based on the Eloise character created by Kay Thompson and the red-haired man is based on John Culhane, the author for the "making of" books for both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.
  • Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major-I. Allegro – based on 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 flamingos try to force a slapstick member who enjoys playing with a yo-yo to engage in their "dull" routines, 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", are featured.
  • Paul Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice – a segment from the original Fantasia featuring Mickey Mouse. Mickey brings a broom to life with the magical hat left by his master to carry water to a cauldron, but is in danger when he can't stop the broom.
  • Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 – is a pastiche 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 by Kathleen Battle 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 fiery spirit of destruction (the namesake Firebird of the piece) in a nearby volcano. 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 after some encouraging from the Elk. The story is considered an exercise in the theme of Life-Death-Rebirth entities.

Production

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.

Composer André Previn reports in his book No Minor Chords that he was approached by Disney to work on as a sequel to Fantasia. He declined the project when he learned that the soundtrack was, at that point, conceived of as an orchestration of Beatles songs.

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 Shostakovich piece was presented to the team by an animator relatively late into the production schedule.

Fantasia 2000 was originally scheduled for a release in the mid 1990s with the name Fantasia Continued; it was later renamed Fantasia 1999 until the release date was moved into 2000. In order to tie Fantasia 2000 to the original idea of a rotating program, three sections from the original Fantasia were intended to remain in Fantasia 2000. However, only The Sorcerer's Apprentice made it into the final release. The late addition of Rhapsody in Blue replaced Dance of the Hours a year before release, and the Nutcracker Suite was a part of Fantasia 2000 until a few months before it reached theaters. After several test screenings and after much of the publicity material had already been produced, the Nutcracker Suite was removed to shorten the running time of the movie.

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 The Emperor's New Groove) busy while Kingdom went through an extensive rewrite. 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 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 people from different areas of the art world. After the film opens with Beethoven's Fifth, Steve Martin discusses the history of Fantasia being a continuing concept and is immediately followed by Itzhak Perlman, who introduces 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, magicians 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.

Credits

Symphony No. 5

  • Designed and directed by Pixote Hunt
  • Music composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Story by Kevin Yasuda
  • Introduction by Deems Taylor (archived footage)
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Pines of Rome

  • Directed by Hendel Butoy
  • Music composer: Ottorino Respighi
  • Story by James Fujii
  • Art Direction by William Perkins and Dean Gordon
  • Introduction by Steve Martin and Itzhak Perlman
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Rhapsody in Blue

  • Written and directed by Eric Goldberg
  • Music composer: George Gershwin
  • Based upon Brookside Hill
  • Art direction by Susan McKinsey Goldberg
  • Design consultant: Al Hirschfeld
  • Introduction by Quincy Jones
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Featured pianist: Ralph Grierson
  • Conducted by: Bruce Broughton

Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102

  • Directed by Hendel Butoy
  • Music composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • 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
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Featured pianist: Yefim Bronfman

Carnival of the Animals, Finale

  • Music composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
  • Written, directed, and animated by Eric Goldberg
  • Art direction by Susan McKinsey Goldberg
  • Introduction by James Earl Jones
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Conducted by James Levine

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

  • Originally from the 1940 Fantasia
  • Musical score: Paul Dukas
  • Directed by James Algar
  • Story development by Dick Huemer, Joe Grant, Perce Pearce, James Capobianco, and Carl Fallberg
  • Art direction: Tom Codrick, Charles Phillipi, and Zack Schwartz
  • Animation supervisors: Fred Moore and Vladimir Tytla
  • Animators: Les Clark, Riley Thompson, Marvin Woodward, Preston Blair, Edward Love, Ugo D'Orsi, George Rowley, and Cornett Wood
  • New introduction by Penn and Teller

(Performed by an ensemble of Hollywood studio musicians, conducted by Leopold Stokowski

Pomp and Circumstance - Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4

  • Directed by Francis Glebas
  • Music composer: Sir Edward Elgar
  • 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 (voiced by Wayne Allwine), James Levine, Donald Duck (voiced by Tony Anselmo), and Daisy Duck (voiced by Russi Taylor)
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Supervising animator: Mickey Mouse (from the Introduction) by Andreas Deja

Firebird Suite - 1919 version

  • Written and directed by Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi
  • Music composer: Igor Stravinsky
  • 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
  • Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Live-action sequences

  • 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

all information on Fantasia 200 came from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Fantasia_2000

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