second major animation short. 'Pictures at an Exhibition' is Tezuka's
inspired response to Disney's 'Fantasia'. Much of Disney's work did not
reach Japan until the late '40's, and the advances that Disney displayed in
'Snow White' and 'Fantasia' hit Japanese animators with great force.
Tezuka has often been characterized as the 'Japanese Disney'. Certainly
he was influenced by Disney, but Tezuka also retained his own personal
'Pictures' verges on the ostentatious at times, yet it remains a
breathtaking ride through various moods and dynamics. Based on Mussorgsky's
famous image-narrative score, the version for this film was arranged and
conducted by Isao Tomita. On a rare occasion, 'Pictures' was screened with
live orchestral accompaniment.
Tomita's version of Gustav Holst's musical suite 'The Planets' is the
backdrop for actual outer space photographs taken by US and Soviet
spacecraft (including the Viking, Voyager, and Magellan missions),
clips from NASA documentaries, fantastic computer-generated animation,
and dazzling special effects. A later version was narrated by Patrick
Stewart of Star Trek fame.