Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fantasia / Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Blu-ray Review

Release Date: Nov. 30th, 2010
Disc 1 Size: 34.3 GB
Disc 2 Size: 39.7 GB
Film Ratings: G
Region: A
The Video
'Fantasia' debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation in its original aspect ratio, but can be viewed with DisneyView (a feature which adds painted borders to the sides in place of the black bars).

'Fantasia 2000' debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation which is also presented in its original aspect ratio, which takes up the entire screen and the reason DisneyView is not included for this presentation.

I had pretty high expectations for both ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Fantasia 2000’ when they were first announced for Blu-ray release. Disney has done a fantastic job with previous animated classics so I had no doubts whatsoever, but I was surprised to see how good both films look.

‘Fantasia’ in particular blew me away with the level of clarity, richness of colors, it is beautiful. The animation has never looked better and little details in the artwork can be appreciated like never before. This is really a drastic improvement from previous releases.

‘Fantasia 2000’ looks remarkable as well, but being a more recent film I wasn’t as surprised by the incredible upgrade the Blu-ray release provides. Everything looked fantastic, and there are no technical issues to be found with either release.

Both films look incredible and fans of either film will not be disappointed. Everything about the video presentation shines and makes for one of my favorite quality upgrades this year. I had high expectations, but Disney once again has surpassed them. 10/10.

The Audio
'Fantasia' debuts on Blu-ray with an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks are also included. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French and Spanish.

'Fantasia 2000' debuts on Blu-ray with an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks are also included. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French and Spanish.

This has been a great year for stunning 7.1 high-def tracks and I am very thankful Disney included 7.1 mixes for both films. ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Fantasia 2000’ are musical presentations so audio is extremely important and thankfully Disney has done both films justice.

The mixes are immersive as can be with surround use throughout. I was very impressed by the level of clarity in every segment. The mixes aren’t afraid to get loud either when a segment calls for it, if not prepared they may make you jump.

Both mixes are top notch and I could not have expected better. If you are a fan of either ‘Fantasia’ or ‘Fantasia 2000’ or likely both then must hear these films with high-def audio, it is truly a thing of beauty. 10/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Fantasia) (Blu-ray Disc) (34.3 GB):

Hate black bars? View the film with custom painting borders by Harrison Ellenshaw.

Disney Family Museum (4:06) (HD)
The daughter of Walt Disney takes us inside the Walt Disney family museum.

The Schultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure (13:51) (HD)
The daughter of Walt Disney shows us some books used for the production of Fantasia.

Interactive Art Gallery (Images)
Choose a gallery from the menu using the arrow keys on your remote control and skip back/forward buttons to page up and down.

Audio Commentary
With Disney Historian Brian Sibley.

Original DVD Audio Commentary
Interviews and story note recreations by Walt Disney, hosted by John Canemaker.

Original DVD Audio Commentary
With Executive Producer Roy E. Disney, Conductor James Levine, Animation Historian John Canemaker and Film Restoration Manager Scott MacQueen.

Disc 2 (Fantasia 2000) (Blu-ray Disc) (39.7 GB):

Musicana (9:21) (HD)
See ideas for planned future Fantasia productions which never happened.

Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino (1:22:18) (HD)
This feature talks about Dali & Disney working together, which many consider total opposites. This feature is very entertaining and very extensive.

Destino (6:31) (HD)
The animated short film which was started in 1946 has been completed and is included in high-definition.

Disney’s Virtual Vault (Internet Connection Required)
Connect to BD-Live to access classic DVD bonus features not included on the discs. I am not a fan of this process because Disney could discontinue the service eventually and the features would be gone.

Original DVD Audio Commentary
With Executive Producer Roy E. Disney, Conductor James Levine, and Producer Don Ernst.

Original DVD Audio Commentary
With the Directors and Art Directors for each segment.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD copy of ‘Fantasia.’

Disc 4 (DVD):

DVD copy of ‘Fantasia 2000.’

The extras included on the release are very entertaining, however I found the 4-disc set somewhat underwhelming. The classic DVD bonus features are included via BD-Live, which is an interesting choice, but I don’t see why they weren’t included on the disc.

The additional DVD copies of the film are nice, but considering that ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Fantasia 2000’ aren’t first picks among most children, I doubt they will get very little playtime if any….still it is a nice addition. I like the new featurettes included, which are worth the time viewing. 8/10.

The Films
Fantasia’ and ‘Fantasia 2000’ debut on Blu-ray as a 2-movie collection. The titles were originally announced as two separate Diamond Edition Blu-ray releases, as well as introduced a new film or feature titled ‘Fantasia World.’

Disney ultimately chose to release the films together as a collection on Blu-ray, dropping the ‘Diamond Edition’ label and dropping ‘Fantasia World’ in the process as well. What could have been leaves me somewhat disappointed, but it is better to have than to not have at all in this situation especially.

‘Fantasia’ has always been a favorite musical film of mine. The segments are all very unique and the music is simply beautiful, though I can understand why not everyone has loved it. ‘Fantasia 2000’ was a great follow-up, which I know many who claim to enjoy it even more than ‘Fantasia.’
It is slightly disappointing to see that ‘Fantasia’ has once again been released via its cut form, cutting out the cute character named ‘Sunshine’ due to racism/stereotype controversy. While I can understand why people might be upset by the character, it was a representation of a time and I think we can all move on from it. Personally though, I don’t find it offensive.

Disney could have and should have included both the original film presentation and the cut presentation to please those offended by the original presentation. Perhaps they could have included a message which plays prior to the film with an explanation of both versions.

Either way, the missing character doesn’t really have any serious effect on the story, though it is odd to see the cropped segments like always. Ultimately though, I don’t think it should be a reason to skip this release as it is just seconds of an otherwise incredible presentation.

Revisiting the films on Blu-ray was a very enjoyable experience and I noticed many little details I don’t remember noticing before. The films hold up extremely well and while not everyone will embrace them, I do think they are deserving of every bit of recognition they receive. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
'Fantasia / Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection' is a great collection with fantastic video and audio presentations. The 'Sunflower' controversy still exists, but this collection still comes 'Highly Recommended.'

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