Fantasia 2000 (2000)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/15/00

After years of horrible rumors and rampant speculation, I was quite pleased to see that Disney created a sequel that's true to the roots and spirit of the original "Fantasia" (1940). New pieces include "Beethoven's 5th Symphony," "The Pines Of Rome," "Pomp And Circumstance," and "Firebird Suite" among others. Maybe my expectations were set too high (or maybe I'm just getting old and cynical), but the film seemed to be missing a certain magical spark. The introductions between pieces were sorely unamusing, and many of the pieces had trouble maintaining the delicate balance between artistic merit and entertainment value. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment from the original "Fantasia" shows up towards the end, and even though the quality suffers from the high resolution transfer to IMAX, it's still impressive and still quite terrifying. Finally, the film starts to really kick into gear with Donald Duck in "Pomp And Circumstance" and the breath-taking "Firebird Suite," which features some of the most beautiful and compelling animation I've ever seen. That one required a tissue or two. Overall, I wouldn't say that the film surpasses the original (and it doesn't claim to), but it's still an impressive piece of work. As you would expect, the animation is superb, and the entire production is slick and well paced (whereas the original always seems about thirty minutes too long for me). And it's DEFINITELY worth seeing at the theater - don't settle for anything less.