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Three Stars Because They Knew Who To Imitate and Did It Well
Fantasia 2000
Three stars entirely on the basis of the Hirshfield-designed "Rhapsody in Blue", a perfect capture of what it would have been like as a '40s Warner Bros short directed by Chuck Jones -- i kept expecting the little baggy-eyed guy to find a singing frog... (The multiple but obviously-destined-to- happily-intersect plotlines, meanwhile, rather put me in mind of Will Eisner's "Spirit" -- particularly of the story of Gerhard Schnobble, the man who could fly.)

Absolutely the high spot of the film.

The flying whales that so many have loved were, for me, beautiful graphically and technically, but just a little bit silly.

The "Pomp and Circumstance" sequence, featuring Donald Duck in an unusually good-humoured mode as Noah's Executive Assistant was about the most typical piece of Disney short-subject animation in the film -- which meant i enjoyed it, laughed heartily over it, and don't much care if i never see it again (contrasted to Warner's "Duck Amuck" or "What's Opera Doc?", which i could watch every other day and not tire of for a long time).

"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" was very well done -- though i thought that the ballerina kept looking like heavily-processed motion capture CGI of a human dancer, in contrast to the soldier and the jack-in-the-box who looked mostly hand-animated. Also, can we *please* stop adapting Hans Christian Anderson stories and giving them "happy" endings?

The "Firebird" suite was pretty, but, indeed, suffers a bit too much from being altogether like the "Bald Mountain/Ave Maria" ending of the original version.

Skipping back to the "Flamingoes with a YoYo" sequence -- it was hilarious. Reminded me of something i'd have expected to see in "Allegro non Troppo", Bruno Bozzetto's brilliant Italian satire/homage to the original "Fantasia".

I skipped over the "Sorceror's Apprentice" sequence -- however much i liked it when i saw it on the original "Disneyland" teevee show forty-odd years ago, i've seen it too many times in between. (Also, based on the few seconds i *did* see, the picture quality suffers by comparison to the rest of the film.)

The various "host/narrator" characters were, for the most part mostly harmless -- except for Steve Martin, whose mere presence had my thumb hovering over the "Stop" button on the remote.

So -- three stars because of the "Rhapsody" sequence, and the rest gets a free ride.