These days, it isn’t uncommon for big-screen blockbusters to push a three-hour runtime. Animation, meanwhile, remains fairly consistent in terms of film length, usually sitting around the 90 to 100-minute mark. Disney’s previous feature films, “Snow White” and “Pinocchio,” clocked in at 83 and 88 minutes respectively. However, “Fantasia” surpassed them both, sitting at a mammoth 124 minutes.
To this day, it remains the longest Disney Animation Studios film, with the next longest being 2018’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which lasts 112 minutes. In an amusing coincidence, the film that followed “Fantasia,” 1941’s “Dumbo” is one of Disney’s shortest at a mere 64 minutes. The film’s length is something which puts a lot of people off, and it isn’t the easiest film to sell, particularly to a child. In his review for The New York Times, Bosley Crowther made an honest assessment of the film’s runtime, writing that it “tends to weary the senses,” but was still full of praise for the film, going on to say it is the “most original and provocative film in some time.”
“Fantasia” is a complete departure from Disney’s other films and particularly audacious given the studio’s history of bite-sized shorts. This makes it particularly hard to compare to Disney’s other narrative feature films as there isn’t really anything else like it. Walt’s experiments may not have always paid off, but the sheer creativity on display here in “Fantasia” is something that has to be seen to be believed.