Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

I watched Disney’s Fantasia film tonight. It was about the third time now I’d seen it. Logging it on Letterboxd, as I do whenever I see a film, I downgraded it from five stars to three and a half. I like the fact that back in1940 Disney was prepared to be experimental about his films, to try new things. But seen today, it’s a very strange film. About a quarter of it is taken up with the orchestra footage, which is beautifully lit, but quite stagey. There’s also some unnecessary exposition by a fella called Deems Taylor, which was, to be fair, probably deemed necessary at the time. He even tells us, around the half-way mark, that they’re taking a fifteen minute break for intermission (cue curtain close).

The film rises or falls on its eight animated sequences, and I only found four of them enjoyable. That’s the Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence with Mickey Mouse, the Nutcracker Suite sequence featuring ice skating fairies, the ostrich/hippo/elephant/crocodile dance sequence, and the Night On Bald Mountain sequence featuring a demon and his devils running riot. They’re all funny, exciting, poetic and beautiful. The Rite of Spring section has some of the most ungainly-looking dinosaurs I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t help think of the satirical version of this from Allegro Non Troppo, which is so much more fun. I liked the opening scene of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, with bare-breasted babes coming out of a pool to reveal themselves as centaurs, but it was very cloying, with lots of boy meets girl lovey-doveyness, and the colours were quite garish. I did like the Maxfield Parrish-like structures in this one, so maybe I’ll give it a pass after all.

The DVD I just bought of this also includes a commentary track from ‘Disney Scholar’ Brian Sibley. I’ve noticed his name on many of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit picture books that came out with those Peter Jackson films, so I think I’ll have a listen to what old Brian has to say. So, very good in parts, but dated, sums it up.

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Car maker, Hyundai, has put out an ad for its new car that features Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost In the Shell. This is the Netflix GITS 2045 digital version of Motoko, and she does look good behind the wheel. She’s seen speeding down various highways, drifting around corners in the car. ‘Never just drive’ is the tagline she utters at the end. Very cool. Just the other day I was looking appreciatively at some Hyundais in my search for a new car. Seeing Motoko behind the wheel of one could be the universe sending me a message.

Fantasia poster by Disney

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