The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 1940/2000
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 125 minutes/75 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.33:1/1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Region Code: 1
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 30, 2010
"A cinematic masterpiece gets the star treatment on Blu-ray"
The dreams and visions of Walt Disney come to life in Fantasia, which blends music and film magic into an exhilarating movie-going experience. Unforgettable images are brought to life by some of the world's best music, and highlighted by the comedy of Mickey Mouse as a troublemaking sorcerer's apprentice, along with the beauty of winged fairies and cascading snowflakes, the majesty of Noah's ark and even plump hippos performing ballet in tutus.
Motivated by his uncle's foresight, Roy Disney continued the magic with Fantasia 2000 which begins where its predecessor left off. There are seven completely new segments, and viewers watch a bustling Depression-era metropolis in the style of Al Hirschfeld's famous cartoons, a flock of flamingos with slapstick yo-yo talents, an ark full of animals gathered by Donald Duck as Noah's first mate, and musical life breathed into a family of flying humpback whales.
Seeing Fantasia as a child I really didn't fully appreciate it. I didn't mind the animation but found the lack of dialogue and non-traditional narrative/music uninspiring. It wasn't until I was an adult that I came to fully embrace its majesty. Walt Disney was such a visionary and Fantasia is a superlative representation of the scope of his vision. Seeing it now with all of its original components restored makes the experience of Fantasia even better.
Here is a little background on the film from the press kit:
Fantasia, an unprecedented and magnificent feast of music and animated images, was initially released by the Studio in 1940 as a road show release. The following year, at the 14th Annual Academy Awards, Fantasia earned two Special Awards. The first was given to Walt Disney and associates for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures, being the first commercial film released in multi-channel sound using a process called Fantasound, and the second to conductor Leopold Stokowski and his associates forunique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized musicthereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form. Considered avant-garde during its time, Fantasia has gone on to become one of the most popular movies of all time and today is considered a classic. In 1990, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Stokowski, this groundbreaking film, which consists of animation set to eight musical pieces, is narrated by Deems Taylor and includes an appearance by Mickey Mouse (voiced by Disney himself).
As with Fantasia I find Fantasia 2000 to be creative, inspiring and emotive. It imparts similar cinematic grandeur while conveying the essence of what made the original so special.
Executive produced by the late Roy E. Disney it features an array of celebrity hosts including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Angela Lansbury, Itzhak Perlman and Quincy Jones. The film, like its predecessor, expertly visualizes classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. The majority of its music is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by James Levine.
In its various incarnations since its original release Fantasia has easily withstood the test of time and will continue to with this wonderfully restored version of this classic film. Disney has shown a fervent commitment to offering quality home video releases on Blu-ray Disc and their restorative treatment of Fantasia is no different. This film looks absolutely beautiful in high definition and offers fans an entirely new experience that easily bests anything previously seen in the home environment. Like many of you reading this I am thrilled that Fantasia has come to Blu-ray and kudos to Disney on another job well done.
Both of these films are appropriate for all audiences.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Fantasia comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.7 Mbps.
Fantasia 2000 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.8 Mbps.
Fantasia has undergone a restorative process that cleaned up the original print and the results are impressive. Colors shine brilliantly with pleasing saturation and striking blues that look absolutely beautiful. The 1.33:1 framed video is pillarboxed in black however Disney offers the option of viewing it via their DisneyView option where the pillarboxes feature custom artwork. The original film elements don't have the highly polished resolution of today's digitally enhanced animated films but fidelity remains intact as image quality is simply beautiful. Blacks are dynamic in appearance and stand out well when onscreen with mixed content. Low level sequences have excellent contrast with visible stages in grays and dark chromatic elements. Whites sparkle and appear crisp, bright and punchy. The live action segments featuring the orchestra and narrator offer appreciable levels of definition that are reproduced with excellent clarity, strong shadow detail and natural colors. I don't think that we as fans could ask for this film to look any better than this. Being a newer film Fantasia 2000's hand drawn animation and live action segments appear better refined with clearer delineation, superb contrast and deeper blacks. While it would be fair to say that it looks noticeably better than Fantasia it wouldn't be fair to say that the differences are vast, especially considering the age of the latter. Both look terrific and are presented in their finest light since coming to home video.
Disney provides a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel surround mix on each title. Neither mix makes for an ostentatious display and expertly retains much of the feel of the original soundtrack. The presentation has a frontal focus but utilizes the entire the soundstage as the instrumentation sounds airy, smooth and noticeably detailed. The four surround channels are mixed a bit lower than the mains so that frontal perspective remains intact while providing a discernible amount of spatiality that adds dimension. The percussion associated with the various set pieces engage the subwoofer and provides enriching low frequency emphasis that resonates nicely. While Fantasia 2000's recorded elements exhibit more dynamism I think that Fantasia's sounded quite good and appropriate in that the mix didn't feel disingenuous to the original soundtrack while adding a bit of polish. In both instances I found the audio to be crystal clear, strident free and appreciably rewarding.
- (HD) Disney Family Museum - 4 minute featurette
- (HD) The Schultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure - 13 minute documentary
- Interactive art gallery
- 3 audio commentaries:
- Disney historian Brian Sibley
- Original DVD commentary with interviews and story note recreation by Walt Disney, hosted by John Canemaker
- Original DVD commentary with Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, John Canemaker and Scott MacQueen
- (HD)Musicana - 9 minute documentary on Walt Disney inspiration for a sequel to Fantasia
- Dali and Disney: A date with Destino - 82 minute documentary
- (HD) Destino - 6 minute animated short
- Disneys Virtual Vault (BD-Live powered)- Original DVD bonus features for Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 from Legacy Collection. The video is streamed in a window and features making of segments, interview clips, production info, segment specific breakdowns, trailers, TV spots and more. *It should be noted that viewing this additional material requires an internet connected Blu-ray player.*
- Audio commentaries:
- Original DVD commentary with Roy E. Disney, James Levine and Don Ernst
- Original DVD commentary with the art directors for each segment
- Bonus DVD of Fantasia
- Bonus DVD of Fantasia 2000
Fantasia is one of the most original, beloved, and ambitious of the Disney Classic animated feature films. It holds a special place of prominence not only in the Disney universe but within filmmaking in general. Fantasia along with its companion Fantasia 2000 represent the true visionary that was Walt Disney as his legacy is firmly entrenched in the spectacular imagery and broad scope of their productions. Kudos to Disney for reinvigorating the original film with a superlative restoration that presents it an entirely new light for fans and generations to come. Fantasia 2000 comes to Blu-ray featuring top notch high definition video that compliments the film's beautifully crafted elements. Each film is presented via a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that brings them to life with surrealistic detail. The end result is a home video offering that presents these wonderful films looking and sounding better than ever. The bonus features found on both discs combine to enhance an already strong package however the decision to limit the availability of the legacy DVD features to BD-Live accessible players only is questionable. Nonetheless this Blu-ray Disc release from Disney is simply a must have and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package