Cinema: Playing It Safe--and Sorry


Musically speaking, Fantasia 2000 is a dumbed-down dud. The performances, mostly by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony, are competent but characterless. The selections are all abridged in one way or another, and some are mangled virtually beyond recognition. The first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which normally takes between seven and eight minutes, here is over in less than three. The sole exception is the uncut version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice extracted from the original Fantasia, in which Leopold Stokowski hypnotized an anonymous band of Hollywood studio musicians into sounding just like the Philadelphia Orchestra in its blazingly vital prewar...

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