Movie Review: Fantasia 2000 (1999)

Title: Fantasia 2000
Release Date: December 17, 1999
Director: Don Hahn, Pixote Hunt, Hendel Butoy, Eric Goldberg, James Algar, Francis Glebas, and Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures | Walt Disney Feature Animation

Produced by Roy E. Disney to fulfill his uncle Walt’s vision of Fantasia as a running series, Fantasia 2000 is a “meh” follow-up to the original classic. The animation for many of the segments is uninspired although there’s some basic weirdness such as flying whales in the Pines of Rome and flamingoes playing with a yo-yo The Carnival of the Animals, Finale. The absolute standout segment is Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue featuring the intertwining lives of characters in Jazz Age New York City drawn in the style of Al Hirschfield. The movie also includes The Sorceror’s Apprentice from the original Fantasia.

The segments are introduced by celebrities including Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn & Teller, and Angela Lansbury in a cutesy, ironic, 90s style that feels very dated. In hindsight it’s also unsettling to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by notorious sexual abuser James Levine. Much like the original, this movie may best be enjoyed by focusing on individual segments, but it seems underwhelming as a feature film. Let’s hope that Fantasia 2060 is much better.

Rating: **