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Fantasia Critique

Essay by   •  December 21, 2010  •  Essay  •  599 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,000 Views

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Fantasia was first released by Walt Disney in 1940. It was the first film of its kind and used many groundbreaking techniques for the cartooning world. The movie itself is an animated cartoon that puts visual aspects along with eight classical songs and seems to magically come to life with all sorts of characters and storylines. The conceptual framework of the individual pieces embraces such areas as prehistoric times, the four seasons, nature, hell/heaven, the themes of light vs. darkness and chaos vs. order, dancing animals, classical mythology, and legend.

This Disney production was an ambitious experiment to try to popularize classical music, especially by accompanying it with animation. Originally, the film was to consist of only "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment, but it was expanded to include the full anthology of shorts. And it was slightly controversial for its depiction of bare-breasted centaurettes in the Pastoral Symphony segment and other stereotypical racial depictions. At the request of the Hays Production Code, the figures were garlanded with flower bras for cover-up after swimming in a brook. However, the scene with the topless spirits was somehow allowed to slip across the cutting room floor. Also, in later releases of the film, the two black zebra centaurs who attend the Bacchus celebration were edited out, along with a female pickaninny centaurette with braided hair who shines the hoof of a white female centaurette. Other segments, such as "Ride Of The Valkyries", "Swan of Tuonela", and "Flight of the Bumblebee" were storyboarded but never fully animated, and thus were never put into production.

Practically everyone knows something about Fantasia. Best known, of course, is the beloved Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence with Mickey Mouse and that unstoppable bucket-wielding broomstick, which is a cautionary fable about the dangers of having more power than wisdom. Then there's the almost literally haunting Night on Bald Mountain with its enormous bat-winged Bela-Lugosi demon. An interesting fact that I found while researching this paper was that Disney actually got Lugosi to stand in for the role so the artists could study him. And, of course, the inexplicable antics of the tutu-wearing ballerina hippos and ostriches, as well as the benign elephants and leering alligators who attend them, in the Dance of the Hours from Ponchielli's "La Gioconda." In this last sequence, while Disney's animators were unfortunately

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