Well, we’ve left the glorious age of the Disney Renaissance
and are now in what I like to call, “The…Post-Disney Renaissance/Modern Age”. During this era, the animated Disney features would stop being nigh unanimous critical and commercial hits and would be like they were in the ’70s-’80s, i.e. some would be hits and others wouldn’t.
And today’s film not only showcases its post-Disney Renaissance quality, but also brings us back to the format of package films!
To recapitulate, package films are films that are a bunch of short pieces put together to make a film rather than having the film be one story from beginning to end. Previous examples of these in the Disney Canon have been “Fantasia”, “Saludos Amigos”, “The Three Caballeros”, “Make Mine Music”, “Fun and Fancy Free”, “Melody Time”, “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad”, and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”.
So what is the name of the film that joins these hallowed others in terms of style and content? It’s none other than “Fantasia 2000”!
Released in 2000 (the first film to be released in the new millennium, if you consider 2000 as the start of the millennium), “Fantasia 2000” not only follows in the Disney Canon as the 38th feature, but also is the 2nd sequel to a film in the Disney Canon (unless you consider “The Three Caballeros” and “Melody Time” as sequels).
The 1940 film, “Fantasia” was originally meant to be updated and re-released often, so that every time you saw it, you’d see different segments along with some original ones, i.e. it would be a different movie every time you watched it. But the fact that “Fantasia” flopped put that plan down the toilet, but not forever as is evident by the release of “Fantasia 2000”!
The segments of “Fantasia 2000” are “Symphony No. 5”,
“Pines of Rome”,
“The Carnival of the Animals”,
“Pomp and Circumstance”,
the original “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from “Fantasia”,
as well as my personal favorite, “Rhapsody in Blue”.
But our forgotten/minor character of today comes from the segment inspired by Shostakovich’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” and deals with the Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”.
The short animated segment deals with toys coming to life after midnight, and three toys in particular:
a one-legged tin soldier,
a ballerina toy that he falls in love with,
and an evil jack-in-the box.
The jack-in-the-box fights the soldier and ends up pushing the soldier out of the window. Luck would have it that the soldier would end up floating down the sewer, into the ocean, get swallowed by a fish, get caught by fishermen, and get delivered back to the exact house from which he came from all in one day!
Anyway, when the soldier reaches back to his home, the owner of the toys (a young…boy, I think) takes him and puts him back with his other toy soldiers in his toy soldier box.
Now when the boy brings back the soldier to the box, doesn’t he notice that there’s an empty space in the box where the one-legged soldier was supposed to be? And to top it all off, the soldier that he found in the fish is none other than a ONE-LEGGED SOLDIER!!! Can’t this boy put two and two together
and see that his toys come alive at night and one of them got knocked out the window and miraculously reappeared in his possession?!
I mean, isn’t it the first conclusion that you’d come to? That your toys are alive and you can become a millionaire after proving this fact?!
Ok, well maybe not; but hey the boy knows he’s in a Disney film, so he knows the logic can be quite illogical. And when he comes back to the toy room the next day, surely he must realize what happens at night when (SPOILERS) one of his toys meets a fiery death!
Oh well, he’s not all that important, but hey, he’s the owner of our main characters and is never seen or heard. If it wasn’t for him and his hobbies/interests, we’d never have the characters we need for this segment, and hence this segment wouldn’t exist. So because of all that, we should honor him with the forgotten/minor character award for this film!