Disney Will Release Fantasia Series on DVD

One of the most ambitious projects in the history of animation will celebrate its 60th anniversary this fall, and Walt Disney Home Entertainment plans to make it something special. Fantasia, the groundbreaking film that debuted in 1940 and has astounded generations of kids and adults ever since, will be released on DVD this coming November 14.

That's only part of the story. The DVD release has been restored and remastered, and now includes the original intermission and narration, not seen since 1940. "Clair de Lune," a segment created 60 years ago but dropped from the final theatrical version, will be included on the disc.

Disney is also releasing a DVD of Fantasia 2000, an updated version of the music-and-magic masterpiece that enjoyed its first theatrical run earlier this year, and is still showing in IMAX theaters. The new film follows the format of the original, with animated stories set to seven different pieces of music. Dukas's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is the only segment in Fantasia 2000 that is retained from the original. More than 1200 artists worked on Fantasia 2000 under the supervision of Eric Goldberg, director of Pocahontas. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine, performs music for the new sequences.

Serious Fantasia fans may wish to go all the way with the Fantasia Anthology, a 3-disc collectors set of DVDs said to be "loaded with bonus features." Included are a commemorative booklet, the two discs mentioned above, and a third disc, The Fantasia Legacy, which includes a feature on the making of Fantasia, interviews with the artists and directors, outtakes and alternate takes, discarded concepts, original theatrical trailers, and historical tidbits on each piece of music used.

The THX Certified Fantasia series is recorded in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, and THX Optimode. Video aspect ratio for Fantasia is 1.33:1 and for Fantasia 2000 is 1.85:1, enhanced for 16:9 displays. Visit the Fantasia 2000 site for more details.