The classic movie Fantasia blends music and film magic into a different kind of movie experience than we often see these days. The incredible music is set to lots of different animations, including dancing mushrooms, pretty fairies, hippos in ballet costumes - and Disney favorite Mickey Mouse is a sorcerer's apprentice is gets into lots of trouble. ;)
Fantasia 2000 was executive produced by the late Roy E. Disney, with celebrity hosts including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Angela Lansbury, Itzhak Perlman and Quincy Jones. Much like the original Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 is in the same style with seven different animated segments set to the music, which is primarily performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by James Levine.
It had been many, many moons since I had seen Fantasia, and I had never seen Fantasia 2000 before. It probably is one of the most unique offerings Disney has created, and watching the "The Nutcracker Suite" scenes are absolutely magical. Speaking of Magic, you can't beat Mickey doing his magic in this film, either. (Ah, how I wish *I* could animate my cleaning needs so they could do it for me while I sit and eat bon-bons... LOL)
Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 has been digitally restored, and it sounds like they may have worked on the sound as well. On regular DVD, you may not see as much of a difference as you may on Blu-Ray with a 1080p HDTV. If you have a home theater set up, it's definitely worth enjoying this with it!
The movies themselves may be rated G, but a portion of the Blu-Ray special features mentioned down below is actually rated PG, and parts of the movies may be scary at times for younger children - that is, if they are even interested in them at all. Younger children probably won't have the attention span - at least mine didn't. Oh, she looked at the screen here and there, but it was much of a snoozer for her. I would probably suggest skipping the bonus features for younger kids to get around the PG rating of the bonus content.
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Special Edition on Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Edition actually has four discs - disc one and two are the Blu-Ray films, disc three and four are the regular DVD. This is a good choice if you have portable DVD players etc, that aren't Blu-Ray capable, or if you're about to make the leap to buying a Blu-Ray player, and don't want to buy the same title twice. (and don't forget, this title also contains Disney Movie Rewards points!)
Both do contain bonus features: audio commentary with Disney historian Brian Sibley, as well as a short feature of the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California showing 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. The Blu-Ray has a ton of other bonus features: "The Shultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure", which tlks about a detailed log that 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, so this is a pretty neat part to watch. There is also an Interactive Art Gallery, and more audio commentary. Included on the Fantasia 2000 Blu-Ray disc is Destino, a short film based on a collaboration of Walt Disney and artist Salvador Dali back in the 1940's that only came to fruition in 2003. It also contains the ability to link to Disney's Virtual Vault via using BD live - you'll need access to the internet using your wireless in order to access that part.
The Blu-Ray for Fantasia also allows you to watch the film via DisneyView, which maximizes the Blu-ray viewing experience with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. (Basically, the picture shrinks differently on your screen - if you don't have a widescreen TV however, I'm not sure how it will affect your viewing) The discs included also feature Fast Play, which is a navigation utility that automatically starts the disc as soon as it's put in the player and pretty much remembers your viewing preferences. So if you have a kiddo that likes to play a certain scene over... and over... this comes in handy since it remembers that. ;)
Disney also has released some printable activity sheets alongside the DVD release. There's also a printable coupon available to save $10 off the Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 2-Movie Collection Blu-ray Combo Pack (you'll need to sign into Disney Rewards in order to print it) - And here is a small preview from the film:
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Special Edition on Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Edition is available now for a limited time. (You know Disney and their vault!) Fantasia runs about 125 minutes long (not including special features) and Fantasia 2000 runs about 75 minutes long (again, not including special features). Both movies are rated G, but some of the bonus features is rated PG. The suggested retail price for the Blu-Ray/DVD combo is $45.99, but Amazon has it for just $27.99 as of this posting.
I received a copy in this DVD in order to share my opinions. All opinions are mine, and not those of Disney.