A to Z of Films Meme (F)

As I continue this series, I am getting exhausted. 🙂 A writer has only so many words in his vocabulary, and I am just an amateur film viewer and writer. It is difficult to go on and on writing about genius!

F

FantasiaFantasia

This choice was a no-brainer. Walt Disney makes us want to keep our eyes open while listening to classical music. The first motion picture with stereo sound, it was a highly ambitious project, financially risky, original and provocative. Disney was treading unchartered waters, going where no film-maker had gone before.

To ask whether the 2000 version is better than the 1940 one is like asking whether Mozart’s 41st is better than the 40th. To ask which of the episodes is the best is like asking which of Beethoven’s symphonies is the greatest.

Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the cute centerpiece. Who can dream of visualizing Beethoven’s Fifth or Bach’s Toccata and Fugue? Who can bring the cosmic reaches of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to the screen and how? Did Elgar write Pomp and Circumstance for Donald Duck ushering animals into Noah’s Ark? Gershwin definitely composed Rhapsody in Blue for the Fantasia episode. This is simply mind-blowing creativity.

Forrest GumpRunner Up

Forrest Gump

The honesty and dignity of a simpleton with the most atrociously unlikely life story, made believable and heartwarming by Zemeckis and the only actor who could have carried it off, Tom Hanks. The ingenious script requires walking a tight rope between comedy and sadness, and Hanks excels at it wonderfully to get your heart intertwined with this very likeable character.

There are awesome special effects of the non-sci-fi kind. There are plenty of hilarious moments. There are plenty of emotionally touching and uplifting moments. To weave all these together into a constantly engaging, constantly surprising, and constantly entertaining drama, is an achievement. Zemeckis comes a long, long way from his technology obsessed Who Framed Roger Rabbit, focusing more on content and emotional substance.

Noteworthy Mentions

Finding Nemo, an animation classic for all ages

Fanny and Alexander, Bergman’s masterpiece with Sven Nykvist’s beautiful cinematography

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27 thoughts on “A to Z of Films Meme (F)

  1. Mahendra:

    I feel the mission of my life might be fulfilled in part when my neighbours’ kids (3 and 5) come in and ask to see Fantasia yet again! I lost the 1940 DVD in one of my many moves. But the 2000 one is still fabulous.

    And you know which one is my favourite? Rhapsody in Blue! I am that little girl in some ways 😉

    (The kids also tell me that they have modified the Tin Soldier story for it is more brutal in the actual story. Whatever it is, Fantasia is what all kids must listen to when they are young. I am yet to find a better way to introduce them to classical music.)

    As to your question – who can visualise etc?, I sure hope we can meet and talk some time. We can then discuss how I see words in colour and images. :-/ Sometimes it is hilarious, sometimes very distracting.

    I liked Forrest Gump – still watch all reruns. But the best thing is the fantastic double disc CD. So much fabulous music in one place.

    Loving your meme response.

  2. I do read your reviews, but usually I have nothing to say since I am not a movie guy… but yeah, I was wondering how long before you get exhausted reviewing!

  3. “A writer has only so many words in his vocabulary, and it is difficult to go on and on writing about genius!” – I used to have the same problem while writing personal evaluations at work 😉

    Haven’t seen Fanny and Alexander. Agree with other choices. Forest Gump – great soundtrack.

    I immensely enjoy pure entertainers with strange / twisted story lines. So although I wasn’t expecting it here, I would have added ‘Fight Club’ under Noteworthy Mentions.

  4. Even though this movie is more regionalized, and Southern like Forest Gump, I would like to make a plug for “Fried Green Tomatoes.” You’ll love it. It was actually made out of a book, and the book is structured differently, but just as good. This is one of the few movies where I like the movie just as well as the book.

    When I was little Fantasia was my favorite movie, excepting Christmas-time (there was a whole set of things I’d watch for that). My ma had both the Fantasia’s and we’d watch them both equally, as far as I remember. Love your review for Fantasia.

  5. Have not seen Fantasia. Must add it to my list now. Forrest Gump is my all time favorite. Zemeckis has made such a variety of films..its quite amazing. Roger Rabbit and back to the future(s), romancing the stone and polar express. and ofourse Death becomes her. A very wide reportoire.

  6. I am happy and you know why. 🙂 Ah, Rhapsody in Blue…I just love it.

    I didn’t know about the original Tin Soldier story, thanks. Not only kids, Fantasia is a great introduction to anyone who wants to get introduced to classical music!

    Over the years, I have tried my best to introduce many popular music lovers to classical stuff. One of the things I used to do with close friends was to play a work and continuously keep talking about my interpretation of the music. I used to become very emotional and very animated while doing so, and somehow my enthusiasm rubbed off on them. My earlier post on the ‘Mana Tuzhe Manogata’ interpretation was an attempt to write about this process, but I realize now that it doesn’t work as well as it does in real life. I visualize an after-the-war-battlefield in the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s 7th, I can animatedly talk about Mozart’s 40th, role-play the 4 themes in Jupiter (41st) and so on! I guess whoever is reading this must be laughing. But I know that the Disney animators who made Fantasia would not have laughed. 🙂

    Do not know about Forrest Gump’s double disc CD!

  7. Ha ha ha! 😀

    Fight Club is on Shefaly’s list as well, if I remember correctly. Haven’t seen it myself, so am definitely adding to my wish list. Thanks!

  8. Thanks, I did not know about Fried Green Tomatoes and it does look enticing. I like Kathy Bates too.

    Thank you so much, Havah. See how geography and culture works? I did not even know about Fantasia until I was 27, and didn’t get to watch it until I was 30! And all these years, American kids were growing up watching it. Sigh.

    Anand/Fast Dots: It was “Dr. Raja” who first introduced me to Fantasia during Querisoft days…

  9. Wow, 27. You know, sometimes I curse the media and how unless a person purposely steps out of their safety box, an ambivalent attitude prevails toward other countries. Even now I’m taking an intercultural communication class, and we are learning about America in it. uhh… intercultural??

    When I was little, we had a minnie mouse poster hanging above my bed in our bedroom, where he is wearing the magicians hat on top of something tall and making colors with his wand. Remember that scene? Yes, we were surrounded by Fantasia.

    Fight Club is worth watching. It has a marxist outlook, and loads of little details, just the kind of thing you like. Also, there are plot twists as well, but the good kind, the ones you don’t expect. At the end when the protagonist puts it all together… Simply superb.

  10. Mahendra

    There is a sequence in ‘Philadelphia’ when Tom Hanks’s character holds a party the day before he is due to go on the stand in the trial of his employers. He realises how close to his death he may be. After the party, he plays and interprets La Mamma Morta (Maria Callas) for Denzel Washington. who plays his lawyer. It is a moving and evocative scene. See it to see why your note reminded me of it 🙂

    The double disc is great. Excellent compilation.

  11. Mahendra

    Disney luckily did not have the influence on our generation as it does on kids worldwide now. I am happy to have discovered Fantasia at an age where I was able to ‘pass it on’ so to speak. In my childhood, I listened to a lot of Indian classical music and ghazals which my dad played. To everything, turn, turn, turn.. 🙂

  12. Shefaly: I have never watched that scene without crying. Those who know me personally and closely, understand it. They also tell me that this is what I do when I do that thing with them while listening to classical music.

    Sigh. You touched a very, very deep part of me there, Shefaly. I cannot describe how touched I am.

  13. Stupid is as stupid does. If I remember correctly movie had several constructed black n white video clips with past Presidents/PMs. Forest GUm is sweet certainly.

    Finding Nemo too I have mentioned in my list.

    And Fantasia..ahem hiding till I watch it and come back here. 🙂

  14. “stepping out of their safety box”…hmm, sounds like the story of my life! 🙂 Yes, ambivalent, and I would say indifferent attitude toward other cultures.

    Times change, however. Today, our 2-yr old daughter goes to bed hugging her life-size Minnie!

    I hope the Marxist outlook doesn’t turn me off. But with so many folks talking about it, it is definitely a must-see for me now.

  15. Hmm…I grew up learning Indian classical, though it was ‘stepping out of the box’ as nobody in the family had anything to do with it.

  16. Ah, the most popular quote from Gump. Profound yet simple.

    Yes, there were a lot of historical clips digitally reconstructed to include Hanks.

    Don’t hide till you watch Fantasia. But watch it soon! 🙂

  17. You are taking this meme very seriously aren’t you! 🙂 Anyway I find it difficult to review films if a few days pass after I have seen them. No wonder you have run out of words! When a film is fresh all sorts of things come to mind. After a while it starts to fade.

  18. Yes, I am. Not to sound pretentious, but this is my own way of paying tribute to so many great people who have enriched our lives in so many different ways!

    Can’t I at least write about them? Another thing is, in the many hours I spend thinking of specific films, I’m getting just an iota of a glimpse into how it would feel like to be involved in a film project – that typically lasts for months, if not years!

    If writing a few paragraphs seems exhausting, imagine what they must have gone through!

  19. A propos that second paragraph: Mahendra, meet Dev 😉

    When you are ready, I can introduce you to a few more people here with different kinds of film-making experience. Serious.

  20. Hey, I’m not planning to change my career! 🙂

    But thanks. Yes, I’ll certainly enjoy meeting everyone who’s sharing and contributing here. Dev seems to be professionally involved in this field, so an amateur like me will always have lots to learn! Thank you for your offer…I’m grateful.

  21. I have seen Fantasia 1940 not the 2000 version, must try and get a copy of it. It was such a daring film – totally abstract and wonderful at that.
    i loved the pastoral symphony too – but my very favourite was the Night on Bald Mountain transitting to Ave Maria and the triumph of hope over fear !

  22. You must see the 2000 version as well. Absolutely. And you said it – it was daring!

    The pastoral is one of the easier ones to visualize. I don’t recall Night on Bald Mountain transitioning to Ave Maria – ah, been a long time since I saw it. Need to watch again! 🙂

  23. Haven’t watched fantasia, but my favorite movie would probably not change ever: Finding Neverland. Jhonny Depp at his sublime best. Not sure if you’ve watched it?

  24. Yep – Depp has given an extraordinary performance! I will add it to the recommended list.

    You haven’t seen Fantasia?!!! Like I said to ‘g’ once before, take a spoonful of water and…

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