I have REALLY got to finish Sunday's Disney movie viewing already! I am seriously behind. So let's speed it up a bit now.
Fantasia 2000 is not like it's predecessor in it's accomplishment to showcase the Disney animation department's talent, as a matter of fact, from an animation standpoint, it shows the early failures of what was still the early days of CG animation. They may have spent more time on the special effects for this version, but I didn't "feel" them at all and could barely even tell they were there most times. What makes this version notable is that each segment is still very high on musical quality, including one very surprisingly different selection of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue (which also happens to be my favorite animation-wise of the pieces...it has a very graphical style that works). I managed to find a clip of snip-its from this section:
I really like that each segment is introduced by the likes of Steve Martin, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler, Penn & Teller, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, etc. It added a sense of occasion and you get the feeling that they aren't there simply to do the job, but actually "get" the process and are proud to be part.
On the negative side, I'm not sure why they felt they needed to incorporate The Sorcerer's Apprentice as part of this movie too. It just seems as though they are trying to boost this film up with the level of the original by adding the most popular piece. Plus, when you compare the animation styles of everything else on this selection to Apprentice, you can really seen where modern animation falls flat and I think it hurts the cred of the other pieces more.
Some of the pieces I just didn't understand, like the animators were being weird for the sake of being weird. Flying whales? Why? And other sections were basically just copies of pieces from the first film like the changing of the seasons. Then there was the truly weird Firebird Suite piece that made me think of naked fairies meet Chernabog. It was almost like they were trying too hard to be as original as the original.
Of course, my favorite one (animation excluded) is the Donald/Noah's ark bit. Using Pomp and Circumstance as the musical piece was sheer genius and I can focus enough on Donald himself to not notice the crappy animation of the animals. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip of this anywhere on YouTube, so we're relegated to the trailer:
While watching this one, I kind of realized that I had put it up higher on the pedestal in my mind than it actually deserves, probably because of the legend of its predecessor and probably partly because of Donald. About the only thing really noteworthy on this entire disc is the background story of the friendship between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. I knew about their history slightly, but I didn't know the details and the documentary on this disc was really detailed. They also finished the piece that Disney and Dali were creating together before Walt gave him the old heave-ho and, considering how the documentary made you scared to watch it because Dali is a bit on the strange side, the actual work turned out beautifully. That piece, at least, I did understand (although it is extremely Dali-esque).
There is one really bad thing about this DVD...I have the Blu-Ray combo pack of Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 on the same disc. The audio is horribly out of sync on Fantasia 2000 and I had to keep pausing and un-pausing it to get the lips and the sound to match. Apparently, it was an issue on all the discs of this type that were created, so I don't feel so bad about my copy, but it still sucks nonetheless because that disc set was EX-PEN-SIVE!!
OK, on to Monday. I'll try to keep this short, but it's going to hard considering my first selection for Monday night, Hercules. By the time Hercules came out, my dislike of the whole "second gen" of Disney movies was at an all-time high, so much so, that I had never even seen The Lion King up that point because I just couldn't bear yet another one. I'm not sure how I ended up watching Hercules in the first place...I still collected Disney movies at that point, but rarely ever watched the new ones, so I'm not sure what drew me to it, but I am SOOO glad I did! There was actual ART in this piece despite being mostly computer colorization. The character outlines were mainly all done with as few lines as possible with most of the exterior lines being one complete line from head to tail. I was simply captivated by this (and still am).
But it's not all about the animation with this movie, there is a very dry sense of humor throughout the entire movie, most of which provided by James Woods as Hades (the most brilliant casting in all of Disney history, and I don't even like the guy in other movies). And Bobcat Goldthwait and Matt Fewer as Pain and Panic respectively...absolute perfection! I get a bigger kick out of the three of them playing off of each other more than I probably enjoy the rest of the story line. And even Hades' full CG hair doesn't really bother me, in fact, it probably adds to the character. Found this neat clip of him getting mad (apparently a lot!).
I can't forget the music in this one either because it's probably my favorite from that entire generation of movies and I Won't Say I'm In Love is probably one of my most favorite Disney songs of all time (non-park). I did find a good clip of it, and Disney park fans might notice the nod to The Haunted Mansion (there are Disney park gags throughout the entire rest of the movie as well):
Oh, and I guess we need the trailer, unfortunately, this is a horrible quality clip, but it was the only actual trailer I could find. Why do people post sections of the movie and label the clip "trailer"? Is it to try to get past the copyright laws? I don't know, but it drives me insane!
This is another one of those discs that I wish had a wealth of special features on it, especially since I have a newest Blu-Ray version of it, but it just doesn't. Surely they could have plucked something from the archive to add to it, but alas, may in its next vault extraction.
Sadly, the sequel to Hercules, Hercules: Zero To Hero, has never been released on DVD and since I don't have my VCR connected to my TV right now (I'm not even sure where it is), I couldn't watch it. But I always remember liking it. It doesn't hold very true to the original, it's about Herc's teenage years in god school, but it was still good (and they subsequently made a Disney Channel series out of it, which was also good). I still have a few things on VHS only so, once I'm through with all the DVD's and Blu-Ray's, I'll whip out the old VCR.
The best thing about Hercules is that it made me want to re-look at the second gen Disney movies, some for the first time and some for the second time. Some I loved instantly, like Lion King, others I've come to appreciate over time like Beauty & Beast and The Little Mermaid (but probably more for their importance to Disney history than anything).
Then I went in an entirely different direction and watched A Bug's Life. This is probably my least favorite of all the Pixar movies, although I love It's Tough To Be A Bug at Disney World and I adore Dave Foley (I'm a longtime Kids In The Hall fan and a lot of them have done Disney voices). This is also another one of those Disney/Pixar - Dreamworks showdown movies because they came out with Antz around the same time (but for the record, I really didn't like Antz).
One thing of note, there is an interesting behind the scenes development feature on this disc that has a relatively young (and healthy) Steve Jobs in it when he was the head of Pixar. I was kind of shocked to see him like that.
There were no shorts on my disc, but there were some really funny outtakes of the animated characters that were hilarious, which I found here:
Guess I better cut off here and do Tuesday and Wednesday tomorrow.
Live Action: 16
Full-Length Animation: 49
Animated Shorts: 215
Live Action Shorts: 5
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 1
Animated Series: 13
Mixed-Medium Series: 2