Anastasia (4 stars out of 5)

Basic Summary:  The evil wizard Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) puts a hex on the royal Romanovs and young Anastasia (Meg Ryan) disappears when their palace is overrun. Years later, the Grand Duchess (Angela Lansbury) offers a reward for Anastasia’s return. Two scheming Russians (John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer), planning to pawn off a phony, hold auditions and choose an orphan girl with a remarkable resemblance to the missing princess. They bring her to Paris for the reward, not knowing she’s the real Anastasia.

A film so underrated it should be criminal in this case. Anastasia (1997) is a masterpiece created by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, produced by Fox Animation (remember when they created animated films? Neither do I) and distributed by 20th Century Fox. But the storyline is great based off what used to be the greatest mystery of the Russian revolution: What happened to Princess Anastasia?

The voice casting in this film is well-chosen. Needless to say, I had no idea that Kristen Dunst was in this film until I sat through the credits. It does a decent job of explaining each character storylines. Every character is believable and lovable in there own sense, even the villain. It is comfortably paced, nothing is rushed and nothing is truly drawn out to the extreme except for one part.

They rush the romance subplot decently quickly. I understand that it is supposed to be drawn out over the length of the film, but man there is just one scene where a song is sung and the sun is setting – they rush the sunset so quickly to really emphasize the romance.  

My favorite part of this film – the score. They know exactly what songs and when to play them. They are all beautifully written and sung. And the dance numbers with some of them really hit the Russian tone it was aiming for. The villain song – though watching the film doesn’t appear intimidating, just listen to it with out the scene. It is one of the best songs in that film.

Man I’m just really sad that this film didn’t do as amazing as it should have at the box-office, and why didn’t it? DISNEY… The idea behind this is Disney felt threatened by this film because it was a Princess film, which the public was really into. So Disney re-released The Little Mermaid on the same weekend to challenge the film. Not bashing The Little Mermaid because I like that film, but Disney needed to chill out.

If you haven’t seen this film, dear God? Have you been under a rock? Go check it out!! It’s on Netflix so you have no excuse unless you don’t have Netflix…then go find a friend and use their account.


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