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January 29, 2004 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-29

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3B - The Michigan Daily - Weekenld MaHRe - Thursday, January 29, 2004
The wonderful (vaulted) world of Disney

Courtesy of Disney

Oh, that loveable mouse.

By Megan Jacob
Daily AtWriter

Whether you were the child musical-prodigy or just
the kid who played trumpet for two years in middle
school, the source of your classical music know-how was
most likely dominated by Disney's 1937 masterpiece,
"Fantasia." Worried that his beloved Mickey Mouse was
becoming a tool for commercial success, Walt Disney
turned his fun-loving mouse into the main character of a
cartoon version of "The Sorcerers's Apprentice."
With the aid of the London Symphony Orchestra and
their conductor, Leopold Stokowski, this adaptation of
the famous French fairy tale came to life in a whirl of
colorful animation. This lively Disney classic will be put
to rest on Jan. 31, as it joins its 2000 counterpart and
"Sleeping Beauty" in becoming the newest members of
The Disney Vault. Once a movie is sent to the famed
lockbox, it will be removed from shelves, and possibly
never re-released.
As the last section before "Fantasia's" intermission,
there's a good chance your childhood self never even
reached Mickey's disastrous adventures, which included
charmed broomsticks carrying his dreaded pails of
water. Or perhaps you were more enchanted with Dis-
ney's vision of Bach's "Tocatta Fugue in D minor." Rem-
iniscent of the tri-color lights at familiar
parties of the collegiate variety, flashes of
animated patches dance across the
screen with classic Disney flair.
Without a doubt though, the
most memorable aspect of "Fan-
tasia" is Tchaikovsky's "Nut-
cracker Suite." In six varying
thematic segments, this romantic
ballet captivates audiences of all ages
with Sugarplum Faeries, Tinkerbell-
esque in nature; Chinese red-headed
mushrooms, dancing their way through the Orient;
"Dance of the Reedpipes's" flower ballerinas; Arabic
goldfish, swimming in Mata Hari -inspired costumes;
the Russian "Trepak," where dancing radishes jump

tasia" is a remarkably accurate title for this Disney mas-
terpiece. Walt Disney said of his work, " 'Fantasia' is an
idea in itself. I can never build another. I can improve. I
can elaborate. That is all."
And he did just that. In 2000, Disney
released "Fantasia 2000;" an extension of the
first audio/visual sensation. The music selec-
tion is different, including Elgar's "Pomp and
Circumstance March No. 1," Gershwin's
"Rhapsody in Blue," Shostakovich's "Piano
Concert No. 2," Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony in C
minor, Opus 67," Respighi's "The Pines of Rome,"
Saint-Saens's "The Carnival of the Animals" and finish-
ing off with Stravinsky's "The Firebird." The animation
aspect is quite similar, however, as both "Fantasias" lack
the vocals that accompany most other Disney films.
While much of the public grumbles about what
appears to be Disney's latest ploy to make more
money, the fact remains that "Fantasia" and "Fantasia
2000" will soon share vault space with other child-
hood favorites, including "The Parent Trap" and
"Swiss Family Robinson." Accompanying these two is
"Sleeping Beauty," the enchanting story of Princess
Aurora, who pricks her finger on a spinning wheel
and is cursed to spend the rest of her life in dreamland
until Prince Phillip comes to her rescue.
Created during the mid-1950s, "Sleeping Beauty" was
unique in its original, bold interpretations of diverse
characters, and served as a model for future blockbusters
such as "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast,"
and "Aladdin." Following "Seven White and the Seven
Dwarves," "Sleeping Beauty" is the last of the Disney
fairy tales of that genre. Superb Disney animation, in
conjunction with the beautiful Tchaikovsky score, makes
this timeless tale a choice among Disney picks.
Recently released on DVD to stay current with
audiences, one may wonder why Disney chose to
send these family favorites into the black hole of Dis-
ney classics. Whether or not they will ever return to
the shelves and televisions of America is unknown,
but one thing is certain: The magic and charm of
these classic animated adventures are immortal.

and leap in fuzzy hats; and the "Waltz of the Flow-
ers," as nymphs turn leaves to gold with a mere touch
and ice skate on crystalline ponds.
Post-intermission, "Fantasia" turns into an explosive
display of sound and visual accompaniment, supported
by Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony," Ponchielli's
"Dance of the Hours," Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald
Mountain," and Schubert's "Ave Maria." Beethoven's
pastoral setting was altered to become animation set on
Mount Olympus, with centaurs and centaurettes pranc-
ing along this mythical mountainside. As the music con-
tinues, colorful ostriches and ballet-dancing hippos in
tutus take the screen. "Fantasia" concludes with an
impressive combo number of "Bald Mountain" and "Ave
Maria." While the gargoyles and macabre aspects of
Moussorgsky's music are dark and somewhat frightening
at first, Schubert saves the day by proving that light and
good triumph over evil.
Literally meaning a composition which strays from
the intended form, and a potpourri of familiar arts, "fan-

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