0142: Fantasia (1940)


Rating: Um…

I thought about what to rate this for a long time. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it. I do, it’s a fun film but it’s not really a movie. It feels more like a very expensive, student art project and I kind of feel that if I had viewed it without knowing anything at all about it I would probably have thought “what the hell am I watching?” for at least the first half of the movie and still not be sure if I liked any of it after I finished. Once again, I LIKE THIS MOVIE! I grew up watching it. But…

It has no plot, no characters except Mickey Mouse, and nothing for a “movie” reviewer like me to really go off except for the music and the visuals, which are amazing and the reason its a timeless classic… God! Can’t you see the paradox of all this? How can I rate this and truly be fair?! Oh well, whatever, here goes…

Rating: 0/10

The parts in this movie that aren’t animated feel like I’m sitting in a music class and I don’t feel I’m getting a just introduction to these classic pieces of music. Also, the “instructor” pretty much gives away the whole plot of each animation (what little plot there is) to what we’re about to watch before each piece. I mean, we’re watching this movie for the visuals already, we don’t need it explained it to us first. Also, each visual piece is totally separate from every other piece, making this feel more like a collection of short films than an actual movie. As far as themes go, there isn’t one that is consistent in any noticeable way.

The plots of these short films (when there’s any plot at all) all seem to suffer from the same writing problem of “stuff happening for absolutely no reason.” It’s disjointed and seems to be more focused on setting a pretty scene and showing off the Disney animation department than anything else. And the musical selection, though fine, would have been better if they actually spent a little more money on a composer to write an original score to really go along with the story. Maybe if they weren’t animating to music and it was the other way around we would’ve really had something here. Instead all we’re left with is some artistic vision of what it would be like if you watched Saturday morning cartoons muted with Beethoven blaring in the background.

Except that’s wrong…

Rating: 10/10

A true artistic masterpiece, this is something that we unfortunately didn’t get a sequel to every year, like Walt Disney himself wanted to do, and so we don’t have 75 Fantasias. Unfortunately, it was universally panned at the time as everyone thought that they knew what movies were supposed to be. This is a movie that has captured the imagination of multiple generations. People didn’t see it for the greatness it was, no 75 Fantasia sequels for me.

Watching through it again awakened my childhood imagination. Seeing classical music captured through animation was simply astounding to me the first time I saw it. There’s something magical about what they did here. Walt Disney knew what he was doing, even if no one else did at the time, and first and foremost, this movie is the essence of his heart and soul. Don’t tell the Disney corporation that though, they might figure out a way to use it to revive Walt’s frozen brain.

Anyway, I hope you see why I’m having this rating problem…

Why I think it’s on the list: It’s both not a movie at all yet one of the best movies ever made. Also, it’s impossible not to love. I think of all the movies I’ve watched so far, it’s the one that most deserves to be on a list of movies to watch before you die. Now to only find a person who hasn’t seen it…

5 thoughts on “0142: Fantasia (1940)

  1. Come on. No plot, so what. Student art project? It’s Disney animation at it’s height! Learn to let go of certain notions of narrative. Mickey bit with the wizard had a plot, didn’t it? The evolution part did too. It’s a 9 or 10 for sure.


  2. Lol, you didn’t read the whole thing! 🙂 I rated it a 10/10 right after that, I was only trying to make a point that this movie is hard to review as there’s really nothing else quite like it.


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