Disney's Fantastic Voyage

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OLD-FASHIONED FUN: A flamingo explores aerodynamics in Carnival of the Animals

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Whales soar to heaven in the Pines of Rome sequence

Well, maybe next time. After all, there were plans for animating Firebird soon after the original film was released; Stravinsky saw Disney's take on The Rite of Spring, liked it and gave Disney the rights to other pieces. "Good ideas will always find their way to the screen," says Peter Schneider, Disney Studios boss. Or to some other part of the Magic Kingdom. Roy talks of putting the Rachmaninoff piece, which was fully storyboarded before it was scratched, in Disneyland's CircleVision pavilion. With a budget estimated at $85 million (some skeptics say it's nearly twice that amount), F2K will send Disney execs out scouting other venues for other unused segments. The Mouse House virtually invented synergy--and recycling.

Back in that once upon a time, Walt Disney made miracles. In 1928 he presented a primitive Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie. By 1940 he'd brought sophisticated color and sound to cartoons, extended them to feature length and, with Fantasia, boldly merged classical music and abstract images. Those were revolutionary days for animation; more was conceived in those 12 years than in the 60 that followed. Fantasia 2000 may look a bit timid by comparison, but it provides some fine artists the chance to stretch and frolic, even as it reminds today's audiences of animation's limitless borders. When freed from cartoon bondage, the form can soar like a whale in the sky.

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