Nerd Processor

Forget ‘Dumbo’: It’s Time for Disney to Remake ‘Fantasia’

The only Disney classic that could really use a modern update

Rob Bricken
Published in
4 min readMar 29, 2019

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“Fantasia” (1940). © Walt Disney Productions

TThis weekend, Disney’s Dumbo soars into theaters — because he’s a flying elephant, get it? — marking the latest in the studio’s efforts to move all of its 2D, hand-animated classics into the world of 3D through the use of live-action Hollywood talent and copious amounts of CGI.

That’s all well and good, but as usual the company has picked the wrong movie to remake. Because the only Disney film that truly deserves this big-budget modernization is Fantasia.

To be clear, I am not one of those guys who’s upset that Disney is ruining its classic films by remaking them for today’s audiences. Movie blockbusters have been consumed by CGI for years, and it’s what most kids today recognize as film quality. Of course they’d rather see a 3D animated flying elephant around a virtual 3D set with live actors inserted into it instead of a 2D elephant flying around a hand-painted background. Your beloved childhood memories aren’t lost by Disney putting real actors and modern SFX in Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, or any of its other animated classics.

But the modernization effort doesn’t add much, either, other than to Disney’s bottom line. Simply replacing the animated characters with CGI versions and adding in known celebrities didn’t make Emma Watson’s 2017 Beauty and the Beast movie better than the animated original 1991 Beauty and the Beast; nor, likely, will live actors and modern SFX make the upcoming new versions of Aladdin and The Lion King — both of which are also coming out later this year — an improvement over their predecessors.

However, there is a classic Disney film that’s just screaming to be remade using today’s technology. A film that could be objectively improved with live-action actors (especially motion-caption actors) and today’s incredible CGI wizardry. A film with a story that which wouldn’t be diminished by adding new visuals, because the story itself is pure visual.

That film is, of course, Fantasia, Walt Disney’s beautiful, groundbreaking 1940 opus that married the studio’s lush animation to famous works of classical music. Fantasia

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Rob Bricken
OneZero

The former editor of io9.com, Rob Bricken has been a professional nerd since 2001. He also often cries at children's cartoons.