Due out November 30 is the re-release of Fantasia, Disney’s collection of animated classical music videos, in a special edition with its companion remake (with different musical pieces), Fantasia 2000.
The Blu-ray is definitely the edition to get, since it comes with four discs (each movie on both Blu-ray and DVD) at a price difference of only $6. The list price is $46, while the two-disc DVD edition is $40. At Amazon right now, the price difference shrinks even further, to $2.
The Blu-ray also has the most special features, including, only on that edition, “the highly requested Academy Award® nominated short Destino…. the seven minute film is the result of a unique collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali begun in 1946, but put on hold due to studio financial concerns. In 2003, Roy E. Disney worked with a team of modern day animators to complete the film as a tribute to Walt’s pioneering artistic vision.” Along with it comes a new documentary, Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino (shades of Stan Lee!), telling the history of the project.
Fantasia contains eight animation sequences, set to music played by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. The most famous sequence is “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, in which Mickey Mouse (voiced by Walt Disney himself) faces down brooms carrying pails of water. Fantasia 2000 went in a different direction, with a string of celebrity hosts, including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Angela Lansbury, Itzhak Perlman, and Quincy Jones. Music is by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine. I’m not sure I’ve seen either of them fully, and I know that I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate them until now. (The last couple of years have been a crash course in animation for me, as I’ve seen a number of classic features on home video.)
Here’s a full list of the bonus features for Fantasia, from the press release:
- New audio commentary with Disney historian Brian Sibley
- Disney Family Museum (running time: approx. 5 minutes) –- Walt’s daughter Diane Disney-Miller takes viewers on a tour of the new Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California, featuring a very large exhibit on Fantasia and most importantly, the Schultheis notebook with long-lost Fantasia production notes found in more recent years in the walls of a convent.
- Blu-ray only: The Shultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure (running time: approx. 14 minutes) –- An in-depth look at the recently discovered Schultheis notebook. The detailed log was created by Herman Schultheis, an effects man on Fantasia, and intricately breaks down the film from a technical view. Many of the special effects used in Fantasia were a mystery to modern-day animators until this notebook was recovered.
- Blu-ray only: Interactive art gallery and screensavers
- Blu-ray only: Audio commentaries from Fantasia Legacy Collection — one with executive producer Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, animation historian John Canemaker, and Scott McQueen, manager of film restoration; the other with interviews and story note recreations by Walt Disney, hosted by John Canemaker.
- Blu-ray only: Disney View –- This viewing mode maximizes the Blu-ray viewing experience with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Original artwork created by a Disney artist, in a style that complements the beauty of the film. (I have no idea what this is.)
And for Fantasia 2000:
- Musicana –- Walt’s Inspiration for a Sequel (running time: approx. 10 minutes) –- This documentary reveals rarely-seen art created for Musicana, a late 1970’s project intended as a Fantasia sequel with a focus on exploring other cultures via their greatest musical compositions. Viewers are offered a look at the origins of pieces that were started by Walt, such as “The Emperor and the Nightingale”, which was then taken over by a very young John Lasseter. Ultimately, Musicana was stopped to begin production on Mickey’s Christmas Carol, but the memories of this piece still live on with the animators who conceived it.
- Blu-ray only: Destino (running time: approx. 7 minutes) -– The legacy of Walt Disney and Salvador Dali lives on in this highly anticipated short film.
- Blu-ray only: Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino (running time: 82 minutes) –- This feature length documentary explores the collaborative relationship between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali, revealing how and why the Destino short came to fruition under the lead of Roy E. Disney in 2003 so many years after its inception in 1946.
- Blu-ray only: Audio commentaries from the Legacy Collection — one with executive producer Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, and producer Don Ernst; the other with the directors and art directors for each segment.
- Blu-ray only: Disney’s Virtual Vault, a BD-Live feature, which is how you access the original DVD bonus features from the Legacy Collection.