Fantasia [1940]

Along with Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, the anthology set contains a third disc that examines a segment of both movies in detail. Each segment has an introduction that has experts (including Leonard Maltin), producer Roy E. Disney, or the animators setting up the piece's history. Notes on the music and dozens of design photos are included on all the segments, although others offer more intriguing features. Abandoned animation is shown on many segments, as are a few behind-the-scenes shorts; the most intriguing are experts from Walt Disney's hosted documentaries on how his company made movies. As for the photos, they are awkwardly catalogued and only the most patient of viewers would want to look at all of them. In some segments, though, these images are entertainingly produced as a "story reel," presenting these images--rough animation, sketches, pastel paintings--with the musical accompaniment. For those looking for a more well-rounded view of the films, the two one-hour documentaries on each film's disc lay the groundwork, but none of the anthology looks at how the first film was seen through the years or gives time to anyone who wasn't gung-ho about every element of the films. There is hardly a mention of embarrassing stereotypes that were matted (and still are) out of the "Pastoral" segment, or the intriguing aspect of the film as a '60s icon for the ultimate head-trip. Disney does let their guard down to show sequences that were being readied in 1940 for future editions (including a recently restored short scored to "Clair de Lune"). Most tantalizing is a look at how the special effects were done in the original film. The guide is a scrapbook that one of the technicians kept and was discovered only in 1990. Fans can only hope a reproduction will be made available someday. --Doug Thomas

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