A young girl goes on a journey to her past to find out who she is.
Why am I talking about this movie? Well, this is the first movie that I remember seeing in theaters. I’m not sure if it was my first movie going experience, but it was the first one that I recall. I’ve always loved movies. When I was a kid I adored The Lion King, The Jungle Book, Toy Story, and Aladdin. There were more, but those were my favorites.
So, it was November of 1997 and I was four years old. My awesome parents got me a little bag of M&M’s, I sat down in the huge theater, and I was so excited. The lights when down, the film started, and…THIS MOVIE TERRIFIED ME!! Plain and simple, folks! I was so scared of this movie. My eyes were closed, and my ears were covered all day. Nevertheless, this film has always had a special place in my heart.
So the other night, I was scrolling through Netflix, and I saw that Anastasia was there. There wasn’t anything more interesting for me to do, so I decided to give it a review. Also, my baby niece just saw her first movie in theaters (Kung Fu Panda 3) and I was feeling a little nostalgic.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this movie was…not as good as I remembered. Seriously, I’m not trying to be a nostalgic old grump. Let me prove it. I’ll start with the good things, and fair warning…SPOILERS:
I really liked the character of Anastasia. I liked that she wasn’t in distress the whole movie. She actually gets involved in getting herself out of trouble, which leads to another thing that I liked; Anastasia and her crew are always in trouble. They never catch a break, and I really enjoyed that! In one scene Dimitri and Vlad are on a train and realize that their forged visa’s don’t look legitimate, then they get separated from the rest of the train, next they realize that the train is unstoppable, after they remedy this, they realize the bridge that their headed has blown up, and finally they get off the train. I love it that they’re always in peril which really does help move the plot along.
I also really loved the voice casting! John Cusack was really good, Meg Ryan was solid, and I really enjoyed each characters personality. When you get Bernadette Peters, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, Kelsey Grammer, and Angela Lansbury…you know you’ve got something special.
Now let’s talk about the animation. Yikes. This production team only animated the characters, and pretty much everything else is CGI and it looks incredibly dated. I bring this up because Disney used a little CGI in their 90’s films, and it still holds up. They over relied on CGI in this movie for sure and it’s very distracting.
Next, the music. None of these songs are great. I like the “Rumor in St. Petersburg” song, and “Learn To Do It” is a fun number. That’s it! You might be saying, “Zach! You stupid idiot! What about In The Dark Of The Night? That’s the best song ever!” Listen, I understand your passion…but this is a discount version of Be Prepared from The Lion King. I thoroughly dislike the song Paris Holds The Key! Even when I was a little kid. This song does nothing for the story, and it’s a waste of Bernadette Peters. The music in this movie is terribly uninteresting in my opinion, although I do have a soft spot in my heart for At The Beginning. I don’t know why, I just kind of like that song.
Now, let’s talk about my least favorite character in this movie. Rasputin. Why don’t I like Rasputin? Simple. I have no idea why he wants to kill Anastasia’s family. They never explain this in the movie. I guess he wants revenge for…getting kicked out of the palace, but what did he do in the palace? Why did they kick him out? I know the true story, but in this movie nothing is ever, ever, EVER explained!
So those are my thoughts on the animated movie. Now, there’s rumors of a live action version of this film. Impossible. Why? The animated Anastasia gets away with SO much. In the opening scene, an un-dead murderer incites a riot, then he slays Anastasia’s kin. Later, this same maniac sends an army of (not yellow) minions to destroy a train. Then, Anastasia has a horrific nightmare in which demons try to drown her. In the films conclusion, statues come to life and try to murder Anastasia. We let all of this slide because it’s animated. This could never be a live action film.
Here’s what would need to happen if they want to stay faithful to the animated film:
1. This movie needs a hard PG-13 or even an R rating.
2. You need an insane director
3. You need to cast lunatic who can also sing to play Rasputin.
So, yeah. An R rated live-action Anastasia, directed by Tarantino, with Willem Dafoe as Rasputin sounds intriguing.