Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #3: All the Characters of “The Pastoral Symphony” Sequence

Ok, continuing on in my project, we arrive at Disney’s 1940 experiment and experience, “Fantasia!” Now, let me be clear about something: This is one of the Disney films that I did not grow up watching. I’ve only watched this film once and that was like last year when I was trying to watch all the films in the canon that I haven’t seen. And to be honest, I didn’t like this movie!

I know, I’m a horrible person! Yes, the animation was amazing and the individual sequences were told and drawn splendidly. The music was fitting and the effort was acknowledged. But from a personal level, I didn’t like this movie. It just didn’t click with me for some reason. I guess it’s too artistic for my brain to comprehend! I actually prefer films like “Make Mine Music” and “Melody Time” and even “Fantasia 2000” to this!

Enough with that! Anyway, “Fantasia” was Walt’s experiment merging animated sequences to classical music. It was intended to be an ongoing project with various sequels being released over the years. However, Walt’s masterpiece ended up being a flop at the box office; thereby crushing all dreams of further sequels (until 1999). The film itself is composed of 7 animated segments and an intermission segment and is known for its characters’ lack of dialogue.

It was very hard for me to choose a forgotten/minor character/characters from this film. The reason being is that every sequence has something memorable. For example, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is just memorable and known worldwide. “Dance of the Hours” may not be as well-known; but everybody remembers the images of the dancing ostriches, elephants, hippos, and alligators. “Rite of Spring” is known for its somewhat eerie depictions of the beginning of Earth and the dinosaurs. “Nutcracker Suite” is known for certain characters, such as the dancing Oriental (apologies to all our Oriental friends) mushrooms, etc.

So in the end, I had to settle for the fact that the least memorable characters of this film were the ones in “The Pastoral Symphony.” Now, some of you may be arguing that this segment and its characters are not forgotten. Yes, I agree with that; but the reason that I list them here is that the whole segment and its characters take place in the world of Greek mythology. And the Disney Studios would later make a whole animated film based on Greek mythology called “Hercules.” And many of the characters are the same, such as Zeus:

Pegasus and other Flying Horses:


And even Bacchus!

Now, if you ask the average person about what Disney film he/she thinks of when he/she thinks Greek mythology, he/she will  most definitely respond, “Hercules!” Yes, “Hercules” is the more recent of the two films, the more profitable of the two films, the one that was included in the Disney Renaissance, and the one that is fully based on Greek mythology. Actually, it’ll take a long time for the average person to even remember “Fantasia” as an example of Disney utilizing Greek mythology. When the average person hears “Fantasia”, they most often think of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment.

And that’s why I consider “The Pastoral Symphony” characters as the least memorable characters of Disney’s “Fantasia!”

5 thoughts on “Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #3: All the Characters of “The Pastoral Symphony” Sequence”

  1. Aww, see, I liked this movie! I used to love the music and all the pretty pictures…*sigh*. Plus, I always thought the centaurs were really cool, and it was all so romantic how they were all pairing up, and whatnot…And it was great how even the little centaurette who was left on her own found someone in the end.

    Only thing I didn’t like about this movie was that it was really, really long…Just kind of dragged on forever. Oh, and I used to be a little scared of that scene with Mickey and those walking broom things. I used to get really worried when I was a kid that he was going to get into trouble, and whatnot…


  2. I, too, much prefer FANTASIA 2000 over the 1940 original.

    If there were to be a third FANTASIA movie, I personally would prefer one that used pieces from non-classical instrumental music- some such genres that leap to my mind include earth music (a genre which interweaves classical, jazz and world music elements with sounds from nature; Paul Winter and Dan Gibson are two of the most well-known examples of artists in this genre), straight-up world music (with a special focus on the music of Africa, Asia [East Asia, India, and the Middle East], the Pacific Islands region, and Native North America), or even electronic ambient music, for which I fairly recently developed a taste. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that classical music has its merits, and I like a few pieces of it, but overall, the genre seems stylistically sterile to me.

    Of course, if they *had* to do classical again, I’d much like to see some animation set to Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” or the pizzicato from Leo Delibes’ ballet SYLVIA (which is heard in the score of BABE, during the scene where Babe tries to sneak past Duchess the cat to retrieve the Hoggetts’ alarm clock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1v_Ed4QFC4 [The aforementioned piece of music starts at 1:10.]).

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