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Anastasia (1997)

Anastasia (1997)


Meg Ryan
John Cusack
Kelsey Grammer
Christopher Lloyd
Hank Azaria

Directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman

Seen as one of the best animations done in the 90s that Disney did not have a hand in during its production. Although now that Disney owns Fox who owns this, somehow Anastasia has ended up in the mouse archive.

Anastasia has some of the best songs I have heard in an animation, songs like, Once Upon a December and Journey to the Past are still stuck in my memory even after many years.

Leave aside the historical accuracy of this movie and just focus on the production. The animation is well crafted and still looks good today in 2020. The story of a princess facing challenges and coming out on top is similar to what we see from Disney and I believe this movie tried well enough to match those of Disney’s during that time.

Well, this time the princess is not a toddler before facing the curse.
The movie plot happens in Russia and starts in a ball where the young Anastasia Romanovs is bonding with her grandmother before a travel. A villain named Grigori Rasputin breaks into the ball and puts a curse on the family.
This sorcerer we find out used to be a royal adviser until he was exiled for treason. He then sells his soul in exchange for power which he then used to spark the Russian Revolution.

During an attack on the home of the Romanovs which resulted in them fleeing with the aid of 10-year-old servant boy Dimitri. A series of unfortunate events led to Anastasia falling and her grandmother crying as she is unable to save her granddaughter.

Years later a now grown Anastasia cannot remember much about what happened to her as her lack of memory of who she is and her parents led to her being in an orphanage. Her grandmother has not given up the search for her and there is a financial reward for anyone who can find her.

We then see Dimitri now older and a conman trying to find a look alike who he can use to get the money. How this journey led to him finding Anya who has a necklace with a message which says “together in Paris” which makes her believe her family is in Paris and she wants to go there.

How together Anya and Dimitri battled Rasputin is a fun ride that this movie has to offer.

The movie is directed and produced by Don Bluth.
Here is a brief history of his work before this. Bluth worked with Disney for many years as an animator before breaking out on his own and eventually working with Steven Spielberg to make An American Tail and The Land Before Time. He left that arrangement to make All Dogs Go To Heaven in 1989. It was after a bunch of not so successful productions after that he was called in to work on this masterpiece of an animation.

I guess it is up to you to decide if this movie stands the test of time, for me with the wonderful work done on the animation itself, it does. Although it did not make a box office splash it did well enough to spring out a franchise which consisted of direct-to-video releases and stage musicals.


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