BP’s Top 100 Movie List Challenge #85: Fantasia, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen – the Battleship Pretension Top 100 provided just that challenge.
I feel in some ways this might be the most personal movie I’ve watched since starting this challenge. I watched Fantasia countless times as a kid. I have a lifelong habit of putting stories in my mind to music, especially classical music; Fantasia must have been an early influence on that. I was admittedly nostalgic watching a childhood favorite film with adult eyes for this challenge.
Fantasia uses a number of my favorite classical pieces, including “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach. The Disney animators used this piece to animate abstract images that capture the feeling of the piece. They also use a number of pieces from The Nutcracker, a ballet I have seen performed every year for the last twenty, and I have very specific associations with that music. Seeing it put to images of fairies, dancing mushrooms, and fish was interesting. I remembered the fairies, fish, and mushrooms, but they are no longer what my mind immediately conjures when I hear that music. The piece I liked the least is “Rite of Spring” which depicts primordial Earth to the death of the dinosaurs, and it remains my least favorite part of the film. The music is not my cup of tea and the dinosaur story isn’t as entertaining.
“Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, starring Disney’s beloved mouse, is still a delight. This piece sticks out from the rest as having the clearest story and being the most “Disney”. It is also such a fun piece of music, it is dramatic and a little dangerous but also playful and fun.
The piece I have probably changed my mind the most about is the final combination of “Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria”. I was a real scaredy cat as a kid, I was scared of everything. The final piece of Fantasia was no exception. The big monster on the mountain and his dancing devils and ghosts really scared me. “Night on Bald Mountain” has become a favorite classical piece of mine over the years and while the dancing devils and ghosts are not the story I would put to the music it is still entertaining and counter balanced well with the peaceful “Ave Maria” that ends the film.
I was so happy to revisit this old favorite and listen to some of my favorite classical pieces. This film was probably a big inspiration for my love of classical music, my time in the school band, and my vivid imagination attached to music.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
Fantasia ranking: Carrier
My father took me to a sunday morning screening of “Fantasia”, and I was so terrified by the “Night on Bald Mountain” scene that I had to leave the theater. I still think it’s a bit too intense for kids. Although, maybe it’s just me: I couldn’t resist the “Empire strikes back” ending either.
Glad it wasn’t just me Jordi! I think it is too intense for kids too, at least it was too intense for me. The end of Empire freaked me out when I was little too, so did the end of Jedi, when the Emperor zaps Luke (I hid behind my hands until I was well into my teens).