The first Fantasia production was originally intended to become a constantly evolving experience, frequently in cinemas. It was to feature constantly changing segments, so every time you saw the film, you would see something new (keep in mind this was before any home video formats). This never panned out due to a variety of reasons, mostly cost. In the early 1990's Walt's nephew Roy Disney vocally championed the return of Fantasia and by 1999 Disney had produced an additional seven segments, which in addition to the return of a favourite, makes up the experience of Fantasia 2000.
Unfortunately, for all the sublime animation and the strong critical support, the film was not a massive success, barely recouping its production costs. Which is a shame, because Fantasia 2000 is a wonderful film and one which in a perfect world I'd like to see a lot more of.
Fantasia 2000 is presented in a full screen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (its original aspect ratio), encoded with AVC MPEG-4 compression.
Unlike the first Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 is only 10 years old and was produced with digital tools. As such, it is in a significantly improved technical state and looks a treat. I believe that the transfer is direct digital (no celluloid involved), as the quality of the transfer bears all the hallmarks.
Colour saturation is sublime. The image is razor sharp at all times, but this unfortunately leads to a hint of aliasing at times. I saw no film to video artifacts, nor encoding errors. This is a wonderful transfer and each segment is a veritable treat for the eyes.
Overall, a beautiful transfer and one that does not disappoint.
The main audio track is encoded in lossless DTS HD Master Audio 7.1, at 24 bits.
Again, due to the relative vintage of Fantasia 2000, it's in a much better sonic state than the original. As such, this soundtrack rivals the very best Super Audio CD releases that I've ever heard.
The fidelity and frequency response on offer is nothing short of amazing. Gone is the compressed sound from the DVD; this Blu-ray unleashes the full and unrestricted quality of the master track. If you close your eyes you could fool yourself that you were there with the orchestra.
With only a few minutes of dialogue, there are no audio sync issues to speak of. Bass usage is very high and frequently comes to bombastic life, especially during the 'Firebird Suite' finale.
Overall, a pretty amazing audio track.
Unfortunately, just as with the first Fantasia disc, Disney has failed to port over the awesome collection of extra features from the DVD release. It's a massive shame, and I'm not sure what compelled them to make that decision. Again, if you do have the original DVD, I'd definitely recommend holding onto it.
First up are the two Audio Commentaries; one provided by Walt's nephew Roy E Disney, conductor James Levine and Producer Don Ernst. A fairly dry commentary which could have done with a bit of spicing up. More interesting is the second commentary by the directors and art directors for their relevant segments - the shorter time span means they are sharper, more focused and more concise.
Next up are two featurettes. First is a 10 minute segment on Musicana which shows artwork and conceptual designs which were originally intended to be for 1970's Fantasia sequel, which never got off the ground. However, the centerpiece of the extra features revolve around the generally unknown collaboration and relationship between Walt Disney and surrealist Salvador Dali. Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino which looks at the original concepts and designs for the feature short Destino which too never got off the ground. At 80 minutes in length it covers a lot of ground. Finally, we have the completed short of Destino.
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