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A few words about...™ Fantasia -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 175 Robert Harris

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Posted December 08 2010 - 11:40 AM

Disney's animated class feature, Fantasia, was art when it was released 70 years ago, and art it remains today.


What's especially nice about this particular art film, is that it's also very high end popular entertainment, as well as a basic class in classical music for the younger set, helped along by extraordinary visuals.


Quality-wise, Disney's new Blu-ray is stunning, with audio to match.


Modern technology has met a 70 year old original negative, and the marriage has worked.  Nothing necessary to make this perfect has been spared.


Hats off to the entire crew behind this extraordinary release.


Very Highly Recommended.


RAH


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#2 of 175 Dick

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Posted December 08 2010 - 12:34 PM

You are 100% correct, Mr. Harris. This is a stunning achievment, with two caveats. The first, which has already been discussed, is that the two DVD discs could have been released separately and in their place could have been two discs containing the massive amount of wonderful and instructive bonus material included on the previous DVD release. This BD-live thing might now begin replacing supplements on the physical discs, and I am truly dismayed by the precedent set by this release in that regard.


My issue other is this: Do you, Mr. Harris, like to still-frame gorgeous artwork like this just to have the chance to study the craftsmanship and compositions? I've spent a fortune over the years collecting Disney coffee table art books, but to be able to see this work up on a 50" screen is so much more satisfying. However, any attempt to freeze a frame on the FANTASIA blu-rays (and this goes for other of their animated Blu-rays), a timeline appears toward the bottom of the screen that does not disappear and cannot be removed. By omitting an option to clear the screen of this debris makes me livid. I don't see the point. Give is the quick time or "pause" information and then get out of town, like most other studio's timelines do. But it's probably here to stay regardless of any protests, just as station I.D. bugs began appearing on t.v. channels which then morphed into ticker tapes and moving graphics and just about anything one could dream up to degrade the presentation.


Rant over. And good to hear from you, as always.



#3 of 175 Craig Beam

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Posted December 08 2010 - 01:40 PM

I'm glad Mr. Harris is so happy about Fantasia on blu-ray, but I can't quite get over three items:


1. The Deems Taylor sound-alike, who sounds nothing like Deems Taylor.  Find a better impersonator.  Digitally manipulate the voice to sound more like Taylor (the technology DOES exist).  If nothing else, give us the surviving Taylor audio (which can be found on the 1990 VHS release) on an alternate track.  Anything less is an insult to Deems Taylor's memory.


2. The Virtual Vault nonsense.


3. The whole release just feels... cheap.  Off the cuff.  Second rate.  Compare it to the Anthology DVD set (or even the Deluxe VHS set, which came with the 2-disc soundtrack), and it just feels like a step down.  Fantasia is not only my favorite Disney film ever... it's in my top 10 favorite films of all time.  Its premiere in high definition should be something.... damn it, MORE than this.  This is by no means what I would consider a "definitive" release.


Okay, having said that, both films look and sound amazing on blu-ray.  And the Disney/Dali documentary is brilliant.




#4 of 175 TonyD

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Posted December 08 2010 - 04:56 PM

Wasn't the voice replaced on the Antholgy set too?


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#5 of 175 Paul Penna

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Posted December 08 2010 - 05:19 PM



Originally Posted by TonyD 

Wasn't the voice replaced on the Antholgy set too?

Yes, it was.



#6 of 175 TonyD

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Posted December 08 2010 - 05:44 PM

I thought so.
I brought it up because it is all the same thing over again. everything being said about the blu was said before about this voice thing when the anthology was released.


It's Deju Vue all over again and it doesn't matter.

Seems pointless to be rehashing it again.


Is there anyone who won't own this on blu because the voice was re-recorded for some of the first movie?

If yes, then why?

To prove a point, to make a point?


Disney knows there are people who don't like this and they still did it again.

Does the voice over change the amazing music and beautiful imagery?

It's a shame that all the available Deems Taylor wasn't used again but that's it.

Never gonna happen.





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#7 of 175 TonyD

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Posted December 08 2010 - 05:57 PM

here is one topic from '04 after the anthology was released.


http://www.hometheat...ntasia-question


One from 3 years ago asking Disney to fix specific things on the next release, the didn't fix anything apparently.


http://www.hometheat...platinum-dvd-bd


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#8 of 175 SilverWook

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Posted December 08 2010 - 06:45 PM



Originally Posted by TonyD 

I thought so.
I brought it up because it is all the same thing over again. everything being said about the blu was said before about this voice thing when the anthology was released.


It's Deju Vue all over again and it doesn't matter.

Seems pointless to be rehashing it again.


Is there anyone who won't own this on blu because the voice was re-recorded for some of the first movie?

If yes, then why?

To prove a point, to make a point?


Disney knows there are people who don't like this and they still did it again.

Does the voice over change the amazing music and beautiful imagery?

It's a shame that all the available Deems Taylor wasn't used again but that's it.

Never gonna happen.




Film history ought to matter.


Not to prove a point, but simply because I don't like spending money on something that is actually giving me less than what I own already. I've got Deems Taylor with my old Laserdisc edition, and BD Live only extras are a ripoff. They won't keep those online forever...



#9 of 175 cafink

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Posted December 09 2010 - 01:13 AM


Originally Posted by TonyD 

Is there anyone who won't own this on blu because the voice was re-recorded for some of the first movie?

If yes, then why?



Because I'm interested in owning the version of Fantasia that Walt Disney originally created.  I'm not interested in owning a revised version created 60 years later.


Admittedly, at least some revision is necessary because not all of the Deems Taylor dialogue survives.  But there's no indication that Disney even tried to approximate the original release on DVD or Blu-ray: the surviving Deems Taylor dialogue was not used, and the actor chosen to replace him doesn't sound anything like him.


It's not about "proving a point," it's about not spending money on a produce that simply doesn't interest me.


 

 


#10 of 175 David_B_K

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Posted December 09 2010 - 01:47 AM


Posted by TonyD:   Is there anyone who won't own this on blu because the voice was re-recorded for some of the first movie?

If yes, then why?

To prove a point, to make a point?


Disney knows there are people who don't like this and they still did it again.

Does the voice over change the amazing music and beautiful imagery?

It's a shame that all the available Deems Taylor wasn't used again but that's it.

Never gonna happen.


I'm not going to buy the Blu. Everything you say is correct. I am happy that many of you are happy with the Blu-ray. I am happy with my 1991 laserdisc, which has been re-recorded to a DVD+R DL. I don't like the second film anyway; so I'm good to go. 'Nuff said.



#11 of 175 Craig Beam

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Posted December 09 2010 - 02:03 AM

Don't get me wrong --- I bought the blu-ray the day it was released, and I am enjoying it.... just not on the level that I'd hoped for.  The film deserves a top-flight release.  This one feels kinda... rushed.  Interim.  Hopefully down the road....





#12 of 175 robbbb1138

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Posted December 09 2010 - 02:09 AM

Historically, has Fantasia sold well enough to justify even a fraction of the treatment that Disney might give to their other animated classics?



#13 of 175 Brian Kidd

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Posted December 09 2010 - 04:07 AM

Anyone who loves the film and doesn't purchase the BD because of the re-recorded narration is cutting off their nose to spite their face.  It is an indisputable fact that the picture and sound quality of this new release far surpasses any other previous release.  It's like night and day.  It's a shame that the complete original narration no longer exists but, as far as anyone knows, it doesn't.  Could they have found someone who sounds more like Taylor to re-record the missing segments and edited them together with the remaining Taylor narration?  Sure.  In the end, there would likely be a greater number of people who would complain about it sounding awkward.

I think some folks need to remember, as well, that FANTASIA, as wonderful as it is, is still not a mainstream Disney film.  It isn't something that kids or the average adult are going to be clamoring to watch repeatedly or at all.  Animation fans and cinephiles love it, but it's not easily-digestible family fare.  I can understand, from a business point-of-view, why Disney would balk at laying out additional funds to re-re-record the missing narration.  The current narration, whilst far-from-perfect, is fine.  The average person probably doesn't even realize that it isn't Taylor's voice.


The relegation of the extras to a useless "online only" option is a mystery.  It still isn't worth a boycott if you love the film.


If you choose not to get the disc in some sort of misguided act of defiance, then have fun with your murky laserdisc or VHS copy.  I'm enjoying the heck out of the stunning audio and video presentation of FANTASIA.


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#14 of 175 Steve Christou

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Posted December 09 2010 - 09:28 AM

I was angry at first at the dubbed commentary and when one of our learned members mentioned on one of the Fantasia threads that Deems voice was never heard on home video, I no longer cared. Plus I have to confess to skipping the chit chat on occasion. The animation and music come first for me and as Brian says, they are stunningly represented on Blu-ray. :)


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#15 of 175 Guest__*

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Posted December 09 2010 - 09:41 AM

Deems Taylor WAS heard on home video...in the 1990 release.



#16 of 175 Robert Harris

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Posted December 09 2010 - 05:11 PM

Parts of Deems Taylor's audio do not survive the film's numerous cuts.   Rather than have voices not matching, Disney did, what I believe is the appropriate thing -- to re-voice the footage as unified.


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#17 of 175 SilverWook

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Posted December 09 2010 - 11:05 PM

Would it have cost much to include it as an alternate audio track? Then subtitles could have filled in the gaps.


My "murky" Laserdisc still looks pretty nice to me.



#18 of 175 cafink

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Posted December 10 2010 - 12:58 AM


Originally Posted by Robert Harris 

Parts of Deems Taylor's audio do not survive the film's numerous cuts.   Rather than have voices not matching, Disney did, what I believe is the appropriate thing -- to re-voice the footage as unified.


Given that some of the audio no longer exists, I understand that no solution will be perfect.  But couldn't Disney have re-dubbed the part using an actor who sounded at least a little bit like Taylor?


 

 


#19 of 175 Brian Kidd

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Posted December 10 2010 - 01:16 AM



My "murky" Laserdisc still looks pretty nice to me.

No need for quotation marks.  In comparison to the BD release, it is murky.  If that's what you prefer, I have a photocopy of a photograph of the Mona Lisa I could sell you.


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#20 of 175 Cees Alons

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Posted December 10 2010 - 01:21 AM

Originally Posted by cafink 


Given that some of the audio no longer exists, I understand that no solution will be perfect.  But couldn't Disney have re-dubbed the part using an actor who sounded at least a little bit like Taylor?


To do it right, they would have needed a voice-impersonator.

Churchill had one, and it's done in Spartacus (oysters or snails), but Anthony Hopkins is not only a very great actor, he also worked personally with Lawrence Olivier for a long time, and was able to pull it off.


Or are you simply saying they should have used someone with a more similar voice, in your opinion, for the whole part?



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