(out of 5)
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 (Kirsten Dunst) 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 (Meg Ryan) goes in search of her destiny, and comes upon con men John Cusack and Kelsey Grammer, who quickly wrap her up in a scheme to swindle her Dowager Empress grandmother (Angela Lansbury) 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 (Christopher Lloyd) 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.
Music by David Newman
Production Design by Michael Peraza Jr.