April 19, 1998 -- "Anastasia" is challenging Disney Studios in the genre they have dominated since the beginning, the feature-length musical cartoon. Before Disney did it, people said it couldn't be done successfully. After Disney made billions with them, others are trying their hand.
It's not surprise that Don Bluth tackled this ambitious project. Unlike most Disney competitors, Bluth has a lot of experience in the field with "An American Tale" and "The Land Before Time" to his credit. Bluth has created dazzling visuals for "Anastasia," really top-notch artwork. What's really impressive are the occasional "tracking" shots that make it appear a camera is actually following live action. I don't know how the moviemakers did it, but it is an impressive visual effect.
While the movie is visually stunning, the characterizations and music are a bit weak. The Anya, or Anastasia, character (voice by Meg Ryan) was very good, and the bat, Bartok (voice by Hank Azaria) was cute and the sidekick Vladimir (voice by Kelsey Grammer) was somewhat diverting. The other characters were not too interesting, however. The villain, Rasputin (voice by Christopher Lloyd), was downright irritating, and occasionally disgusting.
The music was also weak. There are no memorable songs, nothing that you find yourself humming the day after you see it. Strong musical scores are what set movies like "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast" way above the competition. That kind of score is what it will take to knock Disney out of first place. This film rates a C+.Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.