Bibliotherapy Theatre: Fantasia

"In 1940, Walt Disney released Fantasia, his most ambitious feature to date and arguably the riskiest project the studio has released to this day.

Where Snow White and Pinocchio aimed to showcase animation’s potential as a storytelling medium, Fantasia wanted nothing less than to elevate the form to the realm of pure art.

This wasn’t just another cartoon. This was an event. This was something new." ~ Adam Jahnke


"See and Marvel at the scenes that amazed thousands and brought them back again and again...

See the flower-colouring fairies! Laugh at 'Hop-Low', the 'Dopey' of the mushrooms and the riotous ostrich ballet!

See lovely, alluring, bewitching centaurettes and Mickey Mouse and his magic broom that creates a flood!

Thrill to dinosaurs that battle to rule the Earth! All against the background of the most stirring musical score the screen has ever known! [by Leo Stokowski]" ~ Fantasia Theatrical Trailer (1940)

Eighty years later, this extravagant feast for the senses is probably one of the finest masterpieces available to stream on Disney Plus Hotstar (Premium). Watch it now...

"Disney's partner in Fantasia was conductor Leopold Stokowski, a superstar in a field that occupied a far more commanding position than it does today.

In the pre-television, pre-Elvis America — a younger America that hadn't yet become the dominant global superpower it became after World War II — symphonic music in the European tradition was widely celebrated and revered, providing the soundtrack to some of the most popular radio programs and live concerts." ~ Jay Gabler

"Fantasia has no story. Rather, it is a set of nine unconnected episodes arranged in a convenient order.

In Disney’s original conception the film would tour constantly, with new episodes being exchanged for old ones from time to time so that there would always be something to see.

Though other episodes were planned, and work had begun on some, this aspect of the plan never unfolded. The film that premiered in 1940 is only version we’ve got." ~ Bill Benzon, "Why Disney's Fantasia is a Masterpiece"

Also for further heavy reading, Mr Benzon's 100-page analysis 'Walt Disney’s Fantasia: The Cosmos and the Mind in Two Hours' is available to download as a PDF here.

I was introduced to Fantasia a long long looooong time ago, courtesy a picture book based on its third and most famous segment, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" starring Mickey Mouse.

Random House, 1973

Watching it in motion this summer was surreal, to say the least.

It is worth subscribing to Disney Plus Hotstar just for those nine-odd minutes of animated glory depicting a two thousand year old legend about a sorcerer and his apprentice, 'an over-bright young lad who started practicing his boss's best magic tricks without learning how to control them.'

"For sentimental reasons, I think Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice is my favorite. He made me what I am today." ~ Walt Disney

It's also the only segment to feature in Fantasia 2000, the sequel released in IMAX on 1st January 2000...

...also available to be streamed 24x7. Happy viewing :)


I will be re-watching Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 sometime in the near future and penning down spoiler-enriched thoughts in this space.

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