Michael is a young oboist at a conservatory and a talented gardener, but as he prefers the greenhouse to the obo his skills as a musician are lacking. He saves a potted plant and is thanked by Florence, the flower's fairy. She gives him the Semper Wand, which allows him to follow her into Flowerland – a world populated by a whole host of creatures, including a mischievous goblin who wants to conduct with the Wand. It is a world of wonder, ethereal beauty and music - but is threatened by the changing of the seasons. Can Michael save this world? Does his music career have a future?
Is this movie following in the footsteps of Disney’s Fantasia or merely a cheap Sanrio knockoff? Fantasia and Disney’s Vision Like A Journey Through Fairyland, Fantasia uses long fantastical sequences to visually “narrate” classical music pieces. In the production of Fantasia, Walt Disney had a specific vision of bringing larger audiences to the classical music sphere. The freedom of animation to produce fantastical sequences helps with accessibility. Unfortunately, this style of film never became as popular as Disney would have liked (although Fantasia 2000 attempted to resurrect his vision). This music-animation style of A Journey Through Fairyland doesn’t deem it a knockoff, but it also makes no attempt to distinguish itself. For example, out of all pieces Fairyland decided to use “Waltz of the Flowers” by Tchaikovsky, a piece featured in Fantasia with similar fairy dances. Thus, while Fairyland appears to replicate the purpose of Disney, it fails terribly. To be clear, I have no problem with making a movie of a similar style. However, if a visually inferior movie of the same style as Fantasia appears after 40 years… It looks like a knockoff. It’s All About Timing Fairyland already lacks quality in both art and animations. But in an animated music video, I would have overlooked them in favor of good timing. Unfortunately, Fairyland executes this poorly as well - at times even the sound effects were not synced with the music. Since instrumental music is more abstract, the synchronization of visuals to audio is crucial for the audience. While imagining visuals of any musical piece are subject to the individual, rhythm is universal. Thus if it is lacking, the association of particular images to the music is lost. Thus, while the music on its own are fantastic works by famous composers, the sound in this film did not deliver. Love Your Flowers, Kids The theme of the movie centered more around flowers and fairies than music. Our protagonist Michael possesses no passion for oboe but really loves plants. The movie somewhat addresses the conflict of his passions but focuses more on his romance with Florence. I had no sympathy for Michael, since throughout the movie he seemed dishonest about his motivations. He doesn't make any attempt to resolve the conflict between his passions, solely being motivated by the love of his flower/fairy girlfriend. So the story sucked, but it was somewhat irrelevant. I would have excused the story if it set up good music and animations. Perhaps this comment seems to just say “I want it to be more like Fantasia,” but the story was so stupid that this movie would have been better with no dialogue. Also, all the voice acting in the English dub was either extremely forced or monotone. Conclusion Er… Watch Fantasia? If I thought there was something distinct and worthwhile in this movie, I would address it, but the only memorable thing in this movie was a brief promotion of Sanrio characters (surprise, surprise). If you want actual plot, then a movie that does extremely well in portraying a musician’s individual passion and struggles is Gauche the Cellist.
The dubs are sometimes very cheesy, but the music sychronised with the beautiful animation reminds me of Fantasia. The story is quite simple and reminds me of Gauche the cellist where the mc overcomes his feelings of doubt. Well worth the 90 mins just to watch the gorgeous fairyland representation.
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