Disney Adds Fantasia to Its Live-Action Remake Queue

By  · Published on June 4th, 2015

Walt Disney

I’m sure many have joked about Disney doing a live-action remake of Fantasia. It’s one of the few Disney animated features to seem unlikely to join the others, and so it’s been ripe for involvement in mocking the trend. But here it is, news via The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog that one segment of the 1940 experiment will be adapted, like Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and soon Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, Peter Pan, Mulan and Pinocchio, with actors and other live-action things.

Can you guess which segment? It’s not The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and hopefully we never see a live-action Mickey Mouse anything. It’s not Dance of the Hours, because they’ve probably realized they can’t train actual alligators and hippos to get the ballet moves down. And it’s not the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor opener, because that’s already more live-action than the live-action Alice in Wonderland anyway. Surprisingly it’s not The Pastoral Symphony, the one I’d most like to see and the one with the most human-like characters. Seriously, it’s time for centaurs and fauns getting drunk in the flesh on the big screen already.

No, they’re going with Night on Bald Mountain, named such because that’s the title of the Modest Mussorgsky piece playing over the section. You might know it best as “the scary one,” because it’s dark and stars a demon and a bunch of ghoulish spirits. In live-action it will be even more frightening, if done faithfully. But maybe Disney isn’t aiming for this to be a kid’s movie. The original wasn’t exactly meant as a children’s cartoon, either, although the confusion of audience was to be expected when you have Mickey Mouse in one short accompanied by the others featuring topless cartoon “centaurettes” and a depiction of Hell on Earth.

I will say, the more surprising the choices for these live-action remakes, the more I’m curious to see how they turn out. Night on Bald Mountain is right up there with Dumbo now. I’m also curious if Disney does wind up trying to make a whole Fantasia franchise with each section, including those in Fantasia 2000, getting their own live-action features later on. Night on Bald Mountain, meanwhile, is being scripted and executive produced by Dracula Untold duo Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.