Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cinema Weekend

I’ve gotten very off-schedule with my posts (sorry!) so I wanted to go ahead and try and get back on track.

Now I have something to tell you all: as a child, I was…a Disneyholic. My parents were former Disneyholics, my friends were Disneyholics, I even had some teachers who were closet Disneyholics. Growing up in the 90s, Disneyholism was the norm: new movies like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, etc. were not only hugely popular, but the trusty, handy VCR brought Disney classics to light once more.

And there was one classic in particular that I enjoyed – Fantasia. When I was a baby/toddler, my parents would put on the movie to get me to calm down or go to sleep or whatever. There was something relaxing about a bunch of flowers dancing around to the music of the Nutcracker Suite. That’s not to say that the movie was a boring snoozefest or anything, it just had a calming effect on me. Years later, Fantasia 2000 was released, and I made my poor parents take me to see it every day for a week. I know, I was a music-and-animation loving nerd. Some girls had crushes on Shawn from “Boy Meets World” and I had crushes on Mickey from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (he totally rocked that blue hat) and those gorgeous centaurs from the “Pastoral Symphony.” Dishy! To be honest, I think I’m still a little obsessed with Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: I watch those movies all.the.time. When I’m doing homework, I’ll absently put the DVD into my computer and play it in the background.

Music + animation = Amelia’s personal fantasyland.

So here’s some awesome history on the film:
- Fantasia was released in 1941 (dude, it’s old!) That was before WWII!
- It was the 3rd full-length animated Disney film
- The film cost a whopping (in 1940s pre-war America) $2 million to make – of which $400,000 went exclusively to sound and recording techniques.
- While the film wasn’t considered a box office success (hey, we weren’t mobilizing for the war yet so it was still Depression times…give ‘em a break!) Fantasia has gone on to become one of the most popular films of all time and is today considered a classic film.

Featured Music:
“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach
“Nutcracker Suite” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
- This is the one with the dancing flowers, an underwater ballet, and closes with little (nude) fairies
“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas
- Mickey the sorcerer and the evil possessed brooms
“The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky
- This is the one with that chronicles a “history” of the earth, from its beginning to the time of the dinosaurs to their extinction…
- While I liked this Disney segment, I eventually saw a ballet production of The Rite of Spring…and it freaked me out severely. It’s one of the freakiest things I’ve ever seen… future blog post on that!
“The Pastoral Symphony” by Ludwig van Beethoven
- Here we see an idyllic scene from something out of classical mythology (Dionysus, before he was sentenced to be the director at Camp Half Blood): nymphs, centaurs, centaurettes (a controversial Disney invention…in that they’re totally topless! Oh, the fast-paced, live-it-up world of the 1940s, indeed!), fat little cupids, and an obese, jovially-inebriated Dionysus and his weirdo donkey. I think I loved this segment best!
“Dance of the Hours” by Amilcare Ponchielli
- Besides “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” I’d say this is the other most famous segment associated with Fantasia. This is the one with the hippo ballerina and the rogue crocodile! Better than Romeo & Juliet!
“Night on Bald Mountain” by Modest Mussorgsky
- Hmmm, and here’s the scary, disturbing segment of the film. I’m really surprised Disney got away with this in the 1940s. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. My parents would always scramble into the room and grab for the “fast forward” button right before this segment, or else I’d frighten the neighbors with my screaming.

If you haven’t seen Fantasia, I highly recommend it! The musical selections are wonderful and the animation has a beautiful, timeless quality to it. Fantasia 2000 is just as enjoyable. There’s just something relaxing about the visual stimulation of animation with the lull of classical music. A fine combination, in my opinion, and that is why Fantasia is one of my all-time favorite films!

3 shout-outs!:

Tales of Whimsy said...

Ooo I just LOVE this one...I really should watch it again soon.

Christina T said...

I think I've only seen segments of this (The sorcerer's apprentice). I didn't realize that there were so many different classical pieces used in the movie. It sounds interesting.

I was a young teen when The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast were made but I loved them anyway. My sister and I watched them over and over and had the songs and words to Beauty and the Beast memorized. I hope I never outgrow Disney movies.

Rae\ said...

I grew up watching Disney, living Disney, and loving Disney. Now I just think that they're running out of good ideas and have to resort to (on a TV show basis) shows like Phineas and Ferb. (annoys the heck out of me!) And they are too concerned about getting boys to go see their Princess movies that they are changing the name of their Rapunzel movie to Tangled and are changing up the storyline more than Disney already does.
Rant over.

I will never out-grow those classic Disney stories like Snow White (the first full-length animated movie ever, and my personal favorite It's my number one fav Disney movie!), Peter Pan (tho the 2004 movie is my fav version), Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Aristocats (love this one!), Mary Poppins, Pinocchio, Pete's Dragon (my 20 year old older sister loves this one- she watches it ALL the time. now SHE was raised the right way :D ) and so many more.

It's safe to say that I'm a Disney girl at heart :D.

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