Various animated sequences illustrate classical music in the sequel to Disney's 1940 film, Fantasia.


The original idea was to illustrate with animation some great musical compositions. The new Fantasia consists of seven new segments and a reprise of a popular old one from the original, Paul Dukas` The Sorcerer`s Apprentice, with Mickey Mouse. Highlights of the new version are Ottorino Respighi`s Pines of Rome, a hauntingly beautiful hymn to the beauty of the whale; Gershwin`s Rhapsody In Blue, with its crisp jazz-age imagery inspired by the drawings of Al Hirschfeld; and Elgar`s Pomp and Circumstance, which is illustrated by the Noah`s Ark story with a funny contribution from Donald Duck. But perhaps the most creative segment is Shostakovich`s Piano Concerto No 2 Allegro Opus 102, which accompanies a beautiful re-enactment of Hans Anderson`s The Steadfast Tin Soldier. The downside - and it`s a major flaw - is the at times embarrassing stop-gap footage, in which a variety of personalities, from Steve Martin to Bette Midler to Angela Lansbury, give awkward introductions to what`s to follow. These miscalculations apart, Fantasia 2000 impresses both musically and visually - but what a shame we couldn`t see it, as Americans saw it, on the giant IMAX screen.