• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    The Flood in Fantasia 2000

    I'm discussing a number of films about Noah to tie in with the release of Evan Almighty (tomorrow in the US). Disney has produced three short films on the subject, Father Noah's Ark (1933), Noah's Ark (1959) and the Pomp and Circumstance section from Fantasia 2000 (1999).

    In addition to the basic subject matter, Pomp and Circumstance has a good deal in common with the 1933 film. Both were created using traditional hand-drawn animation, both sequences run to about 8 minutes, both rely heavily on their images to carry the story, and both inject gentle humour into the proceedings. In some ways, however, this is a more poignant look at the flood than its predecessor, and so it sacrifices some of the original film's visual jokes in order to include a sub plot of separation, loss and reunification.

    The sub plot, such as it is, features Donald Duck, carrying forward the themes of the famous Mickey Mouse Fantasia sequence. Both sequences feature a lazy assistant almost losing that which they hold dear to a supernatural, watery, catastrophe. Donald's job is to count the pairs of animals entering the ark, and he is so caught up in his task that he realises too late that the one person he has not ticked off his list is his own partner. Introducing this touching story makes the story more personal and accessible, and draws viewers into the story in a way that the original never could.

    It also brings in the suggestion of peril which was so absent from the original. Whilst neither short really goes into the myth's darker side, this film does at least tacitly acknowledge it, even if it relies on viewers bringing with them some prior knowledge of the story.

    All of this is, of course, accompanied by some of Edward Elgar's finest music, and the animation is superbly tied into the music's variations of rhythm and intensity.



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