The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasy, review: fantasy at any cost

The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasy, review: fantasy at any cost

The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasy, review

Have you ever seen a Disney movie without the lavishness of its soundtrack? No, never, we can be sure, because Walt Disney since the dawn of Walt Disney Animation Studios with the production of the first Disney classic - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - has distinguished all his works by an important musical component, like the images and of history. When in 1937 Walt Disney had the idea of ​​paying homage to Mickey Mouse – the mouse to whom he owed everything – and he fortuitously met the master Leopold Stokowski, he had an epiphany… a Fantasy. In The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasy, Mario Petillo, inexhaustible connoisseur of the Disney world and the pencils of Giorgia De Salvo, have recreated in a comic book the magic of those incredible days that saw the birth of a great classic.

The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasy: fantasy at any cost

I like to think that the author Mario Petillo kept this project within himself for a long time, until when he didn't have the opportunity to give it shape, and finally publish it with the Poliniani publisher. A Fantasy at any cost, like that of Walt Disney. Because the love for this project, which has its roots in 80 years of history, is quite evident. Having returned from James Hook - The pirate who sailed in the sky , also published by Poliniani, and having edited the special podcast "I killed Mufasa", Petillo puts himself to the test again with a new model for him, i.e. the script of a comic book, a story that, however, wants to be read like a real novel.

As we have already anticipated, The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasia recounts the events that took place between 1937 and 1940, the years that led to the genesis of the Fantasia film. A film, as you can learn from the same book, which was born as a short film of Mickey Mouse in the guise of the sorcerer's apprentice, but given the strong hemorrhage of resources of that project which in the first instance had a decidedly limited importance compared to the subsequent Dumbo and Pinocchio , was transformed into a feature film consisting of eight parts set to music in a classical key directed by maestro Leopold Stokowski. Mickey's Sorcerer's Apprentice segment had become just one of eight parts of the project's transformation.

And yet, what we have summarized for you in an aseptic way, in reality hides a simply visionary and unconventional gestation, the vision of Walt Disney, which Mario Petillo has been able to tell impeccably, with simple dialogues and rich in what was the free and creative spirit of Mickey Mouse's father. Furthermore, as already specified by the author himself in the introduction, the realism traced in many scenes was made possible also thanks to his great documentary research work (it seems that the newspapers read by Walt in the scenes were precisely those, as well as some dialogues from official testimony).

But bear in mind that this is not a simple "documentary", rather the story will undoubtedly impress you. Only the music is missing, but you can almost hear it from the pages. The story shows exciting peaks, due to the difficulties related to the business risk faced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, the contrasts with his brother Roy Disney, another pillar of the company, but often diametrically opposed to Walt's vision and less willing to risk with innovative formats such as Fantasia. Roi wanted to make "cartoons", but for Walt it was never "just cartoons".

Fantasia has never been a simple film, or just a cartoon. It is the will to show the world that behind the drawings there is much more and the magnificence of the music perfectly imprints this message. So why not even set up an innovative stereo system to fully enjoy this music? Thus was born Fantasound, another "madness" by Walt, which brought the first commercial film in stereo to theaters. A madness? A Fantasy. And in these pages you can relive it.

A story to (re)discover

The sensations we had while reading The Concert Feature – Walt Disney's Fantasia are the same ones received by Saving Mr. Banks. Do you remember the brilliant film with a Walt Disney played by Tom Hanks?

In our humble opinion, Petillo adopts the same narrative. Saving Mr. Banks is the film that tells the story of the production of another great Disney classic: Mary Poppins. Well, for those who have not seen the film, we only anticipate that the story is a continuous struggle between Walt and Pamela Travers, the English writer (of Australian origins, for the most fussy) who gave life in her novels to the most famous nanny of the world, Mary Poppins, in fact, in continuous contrast on the use of the characters and the ubiquitous "little tunes" that the author despised. Here too, the production process fully emerges in the narration, with all the emotions, contrasts and personalities of the protagonists. A job that Mario Petillo has done flawlessly.

From Walt Disney, up to Roy, Stokowski and the creative team of the Studios, they are all beautifully characterized, the production process of the entire work of Fantasia takes shape before our eyes although it is not a real own novel (speaking of the comic strip model and obviously of its longevity) and this is also thanks to the splendid drawings by Giorgia De Salvo, essential, semi-realistic and in full style - dare we say - Disney, with grafts that perfectly recall some frames of the film original. The only criticism we feel we can make is the lettering, which suffers from some repeated imperfections, but nothing that could compromise reading and therefore the definitive experience.

Furthermore, the historical period, that of the Second World War, is present in a subtle but well-determined way in the narration, which really involved the Mickey Mouse production company, putting it in front of difficult and often forced choices. A difficult period that, perhaps, even more brought out the explosive genius of Disney, making it dare where others didn't even think they existed. Passages, which again, the work of Mario Petillo, are rendered to perfection.

Yet despite the great potential of the work, when Fantasia opened in American cinemas in 1940, it received mixed reactions. In many cinemas it was not projected with the help of Fantasound and, worst of all, in Europe it arrived only five years later due to the world conflict. In short, despite the magnificence of the product, if Walt Disney hadn't also followed up on Dumbo and Pinocchio by making up for the losses due to the lack of revenue from Fantasia, the company would probably also have gone bankrupt.

Today Fantasia is one of the most appreciated and honored Great Disney Classics. Music records, videogames, toys and a “sequel” Fantasia 2000 released in 1999 were produced. After reading The Concert Feature, we felt like seeing it again…so the goal was achieved.

Powered by Blogger.