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Review of Disney's Fantasia 2000

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Sixty years after Mickey Mouse commanded a broomstick to carry his water buckets in Fantasia, the mouse is still marching in style.

The lovingly restored sequence is the centerpiece of an exhilarating animation concert, released at the beginning of the year in the big-screen IMAX format and now being shown on regular screens.

It's one of those rare film achievements that crosses over to all ages, introducing those who love animation to the joy of great music and those who love great music to the wonders of animation.

There are eight animation concerts in all, with seven new ones conducted by James Levine and performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is the only segment from the original Fantasia that's in Fantasia 2000). And it doesn't hurt to have a cavalcade of stars making introductions, from Steve Martin to Itzhak Perlman, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones and Quincy Jones.


Two of the most unforgettable segments are "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Firebird Suite." Intriguing, if less accessible, segments includes an abstract vision of good and evil in Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and a slow tale of whales who learn to fly, set to Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome."

But ultimately, it's the very difference in pieces - in style and perspective - that testify to how the world is enriched by a variety of ideas; and that, more than anything, is what makes the whole a success.
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