Reviewed by: Dave Rettig
Age 8 to Adult
Year of Release:
Twentieth Century Fox’s “Anastasia” is the “based on a true story” animated tale of the Romanov family and their lost heiress, Anastasia (voice of Meg Ryan). Anastasia separated from her family and her memory, winds up in an orphanage under the dominion of a crabby headmistress. When an opportunity to discover her past arises, she follows a sign to St. Petersburg and adventure! However, the long forgotten and now quite dead magician Rasputin (voice of Christopher Lloyd) and his demonic curse wait on some underworld island to destroy the last Romanov.
This film could run head to head with Disney’s best. There are a few scenes (particularly during fast camera angle changes) where the animation appears somewhat jerky; however, the overall quality is excellent! The mixed media styles (the French impression-like backgrounds with the high detail foregrounds) gave the appearance of amuch more mature film artistically. The music was exceptional! Although your four-year old will not be running around singing these songs, they were catchy and appropriately heightened the emotional experience of the on-screen action.
Also continuing in the tradition of Disney is the animated mysticism. However, this isn’t a lotus-position sitting baboon or a nurturing friendly tree spirit, Rasputin is a Satan-worshipping, hateful, undead dweller of hell filled with a lust for death and a minion of vaporous green demons at his bidding! So graphic are the scenes with Rasputin that I winced numerous times. And as expected (at least in films), it is not God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who comes to the rescue but human courage and strength.
Due to the frightening nature of Rasputin, I would not recommend this for children under 8. Also, the characters are not the singing teapots and dancing Dalmatians that younger minds seem to appreciate. Adults will enjoy the beautiful artistry and driving music, as well as the interaction between Anastasia and Dimitri. All said, an enjoyable film!
Year of Release—1997