Anastasia (1997)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1997.  Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Animation Studios, Fox Family Films, The Big Gun Project, Don Bluth Productions, Little Wolf Entertainment.  Screenplay by , , , , animation adaptation by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

A gorgeous musical score is the best thing about this wonderful animated film. It tells a version of the Romanov legend, when all of St. Petersburg is abuzz after the tragic massacre of the entire royal family with the rumour that the youngest daughter, Anastasia () has escaped. In reality this fact has remained a myth, but in the film’s imaginings Anastasia loses her memory after knocking her head while trying to escape with her grandmother, and grows up in an orphanage without any clue as to her identity. Upon being released from the institution, the now-grown Anastasia () goes in search of her destiny, and comes upon con men  and , who quickly wrap her up in a scheme to swindle her Dowager Empress grandmother () out of the reward money for the girl’s retrieval. Little do they know that they are training the young woman to pretend to be her real self!

The songs by Lynn Ahren and Stephen Flaherty are simply gorgeous, and the widescreen animation breathtaking. The subplot involving ridiculous villain Rasputin () and his sidekick Bartok (Hank Azaria) is useless, but the film does stay true to its female heroine by allowing her to kick a little ass in the end.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Original Score-Musical/Comedy; Best Original Song (“Journey To The Past”)

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Original Song (“Journey To The Past”); Best Original Song (“Once Upon A December”)

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