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Fantasia review

Check out our review of Fantasia - one of Disney’s most ambitious animated movies


Certificate: U

Voices of: Deems Taylor

Release date: 1940

4 out of 5


Made in 1940, Fantasia remains one of Disney’s most ambitious animated movies. It’s actually a series of interpretations of pieces of classical music, some surreal, some fantastical. ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ is perhaps the best known, as Mickey Mouse borrows a magic hat and animates a broom to carry water for him, only to have things get out of control when the broom won’t stop. There’s also ‘The Nutcracker Suite’, featuring dancing fairies and animals, ‘Dance of the Hours’, featuring the trippy dancing hippos, and ‘Toccata and Fugue in D Minor’, in which an orchestra’s instruments come to life, among others.

Anyone who was a teenager during the sixties and seventies may remember this movie’s reputation as one best enjoyed, shall we say, under the influence of illegal substances. It is certainly bizarre, and probably not the first choice for most children who, while they may find the animation interesting, will probably be bored by the lack of story. That said, it’s a fascinating look at what Disney animators could do, and might be a way of introducing kids to classical music without having to sit in a draughty concert hall. And if they like this, there is also a sequel, Fantasia 2000, which includes animation set to Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’.

Is Fantasia suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

The scenes involving a giant demon and various ghosts and creepy creatures may be too much for young children. The sequence is called ‘Night On Bald Mountain’, and legend has it that the demon was originally modelled on horror actor Bela Lugosi, though in later stages director Wilfred Jackson was used.

The sequence with the dancing hippos is particularly surreal – nothing scary as such, but it’s given many a child nightmares…

If you like this, why not try: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Pinocchio, Alice In Wonderland 1951, Dumbo,