I adore musicals. It’s so easy to lounge back and get bombarded by the dynamic rhythm that they carry. Excepting action films, musicals are one of the very few times where I can just watch something to zone out to and be left comfortably numb; It’s very much like sitting in front of a fireplace in the corner of a dark sitting room during the Winter (or in front of a small TV, knowing me).
I don’t mean to cause alarm but, up until now, I have never seen Fantasia.
Yes, you heard that correctly, despite me being somewhat of a Disney fanatic. But I’ve seen it now, so you can relax and hear my honest thoughts on it…or not. I don’t choose what you get up to in your spare time.
Toccata & Fugue in D Minor really warmed me up. Instantly I was transfixed by it’s movement, as I was with the following Nutcracker Suite. Usually when I watch a film, I’m super-involved: my body language will be really ecstatic, but here I just couldn’t move. I was so fixated because the animated performances of the characters were so detailed and fluent (except for when the playhead had to stop and buffer, of course).
Then I was propelled to Fantasia’s most renowned program, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It was quirky, witty, and like the other programs, truly and utterly mesmerising. The Sorcerer himself, albeit rarely showing up, proved to be a hilariously well-articulated character, as I found myself miming his every gesture in my mind (also he kinda looks like Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop).
But then came along Rite Of Spring, which left me awestruck. I know that I’ve stated I like musicals for their rhythm and painstakingly well-timed performances over storytelling, but Rite Of Spring proved to be emotional and breathtaking for it’s characters…The Dinosaurs. Through movement alone, you could literally see the feelings that they carried throughout their whole ordeal, and their fate at the end almost brought me to tears. I may have only watched Fantasia once at this point, but I can confirm that Rite Of Spring is my absolute favourite program of them all.
Conversely, The Pastoral Symphony is my least favourite. It still carried the same effort from the other programs; it may be that I wasn’t too keen on it’s style. Nutcracker Suite and Rite Of Spring were bold and striking, whereas Pastoral Symphony felt too soft and pastel-like. I get that that style suits the suite; it is what it is. I just don’t think it was for me, is all. Dance Of The Hours was slightly better, and managed to carry an organic yet unique sense of movement and narrative. My journey ended with Night On Bald Mountain. Chernabog was so beautifully animated (despite the fact that he’s a devil); his intricate movements and facial expressions had me awestruck (again), as did the rest of the program.
It’s so hard to believe that all these suites, Night On Bald Mountain especially, were made by hand. Not only is the rhythm of the scenery and characters lavishly intoxicating, but the sheer, painstaking effort that went into them is paramount throughout. It would be tough for me to not appreciate said work, for it is the reason I would most likely rewatch Fantasia in years to come.