Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. "Oberservations of film art and Film Art." David Bordwell's Website of Cinema. 2 Dec 2008.
In this blog entry, Bordwell speaks of Disney and his animation drawing from Neal Gabler’s biography Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. He describes the ideology portrayed in Disney’s films as able to create a specific conception of American life and society. Though many intellectuals fell out of love with Disney in the 1940s, Bordwell believes that Disney’s cartoons were still artistically very strong. These cartoons are characterized by an unsurpassed dynamism and grace of his animation, his power of expressive movement of the screen and “Mickey Mousing, ”which, according to Eisenstein, is a primal, visceral unity that could move the spectator involuntarily. Disney achieved this “absolute perfection” of animation through technological methods as well as an understanding of human thought, images, ideas, feelings, etc. Bordwell add that Disney was a “control freak.” Thus he wanted to create an idealized world, obsessively pursuing the “quality” of animation, which he could control. The result was his films and, of course, Disneyland. Technology was his reality-distortion field. Disney was able to bring animation to life for many reasons: skill with line and contour, soft caricature with an enormous bounce or vibrancy, use of color, and relationships between image and sound. Bordwell concludes that the artistic imagination displayed by Disney and his staff captivated American imagination.
Bordwell explains that Disney conveyed American ideologies mainly through animation. This brilliant animation is one of the two main components of “Fantasia,” the other, obviously, being sound. The graceful, vibrant animation that Browell describes is what truly captivates the viewer. Otherwise, the childish themes and unimpressive animation would definitely detract viewer from Disney’s films. The animation in “Fantasia” thus plays an important part in its popularity. As an “experiment,” the film sought to achieve the perfection in production that Walt Disney expected. Furthermore, it seems that perfect synchronization of image and sound really accentuate the films features. Such an entrancing combination sucks the viewer into the screen entering Disney’s world of imagination. In doing so, Disney achieves a spectacular, unique power over the audience. Though quite impressive, this captivation is the source of the many critiques of “Fantasia.” Disney taints the musical pieces with his dictated ideas, leaving the viewer trapped in Walt’s idealized world. “Fantasia” binds the viewer to a set of inflexible interpretations, negating the film’s artistic possibilities.