Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Days of Favorites: Fantasia

The story of Love & Squalor begins many years before the fateful meeting of Wilde.Dash and M, long before the almost nightly movie marathons on uncomfortable and rank smelling dorm furniture and Sound of Music sing-a-longs. From the mid 80’s on, unaware of each others’ presence, M and Wilde.Dash were bonding with family, not over board games or a large family meal (ok, there was a lot of that too), but over the likes of Woody Allen and Walter Pidgeon. The holidays in said families were filled with the usual Christmas fair, but also with strange family film favorites and traditions. So hang your stockings with care and when your sister starts complaining about your billionth viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life and how boooooring it is, spend your 12 Days of Christmas with the movies that have followed Love & Squalor from infancy to bloggerhood.

Fantasia is the Disney film you've either loved or hated since you were a child.  As a child who loved it (to the point that I actually own a stuffed Hyacinth the Hippo (no, I never got Madama Upanova or Ben Ali Gator) while the sibling has a plush anthropomorphized broom stick), the most common criticisms I heard while growing up were that Fantasia was either "boring" or you "had to be on drugs" to watch it.  Odd, and here I just always thought it was beautiful.  Produced in 1940 (the same year as Pinocchio),  Fantasia was a film ahead of its time, a free-form long-play (124 min)  music video that was as trippily lush as it was educational.  At some point in his childhood, my Dad saw a theatrical re-release and sort of fell in love with the movie.  So, of course, when it was re-released in my childhood (1990), my Dad was all over it.  Our classical music education arrived via animated features and double cassette soundtracks and we totally bought in.  There were wonders in Fantasia; pegasus, dancing mushrooms, glittering goldfish, raging dinosaurs, fairies and kicking thistles and those aforementioned ballet dancing animals.  There were terrors, too, but that particular demon arrived in streams of color with curious, floating apparitions. Chernabog was frightening, but manageable.  There are only a few films my father truly loves, and this is amongst them.  He's not one for replays, which makes constructing a list of the films that served as traditions I was raised on difficult, but Fantasia is one that does the trick.  If you haven't seen it, now is the time, Disney has this magnum opus out of the vault and on Blu-Ray/DVD for the first time in a decade.  

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