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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  • http://www.shefaly-yogendra.com/blog She­faly

    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.

  • http://priyank.com/travel/ Final_Transit

    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!

  • Anand

    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.

  • http://mystic-life.livejournal.com mystic_life

    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.

  • Dot­tie

    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.

  • http://alchemistpoonam.wordpress.com Poonam

    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. :)

  • http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/ Nita

    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.

  • http://calamur.org/gargi harini cala­mur

    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 !

  • http://asuph.wordpress.com/ asuph

    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?

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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!

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    I guessed so! :-) Thanks for sym­pa­thiz­ing with my plight! :-)

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    Ha ha ha! :-D

    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!

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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…

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    Please do! You’ll love watch­ing it with Chip.

    Zemeckis’s reper­toire is astounding!

  • http://mystic-life.livejournal.com mystic_life

    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.

  • http://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com She­faly

    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.. :-)

  • http://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com She­faly

    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.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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! :-)

  • http://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com She­faly

    See, I have never even met you! :-)

    I think it is called abstraction.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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!

  • http://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com She­faly

    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.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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! :-)

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahen­dra

    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…