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130 of 138 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted DVD!
PLEASE BE AWARE: The lovely cover image you see on Amazon is actually from the first DVD release of this movie. If you order this product, you will receive something that looks like <a href="[...]">this</a>. (Unfortunately.)

Despite the horrible artwork on the cover, this DVD set is by far one of the best 2-disk special editions I have ever seen. The...
Published on April 1, 2006 by Lisa Dawn

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Best Don Bluth Movie I've Seen
Don Bluth is an incredibly gifted artist. His character designs and animation can be breathtaking. Unfortunately, he and frequent collaborator Gary Goldman can't tell a cohesive story to save their lives. Of all of his films I've seen, "Anastasia" is by far their best. Whether this is because of solid source material (although that didn't stop "The...
Published on December 29, 2001 by J. Edkin


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130 of 138 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted DVD!, April 1, 2006
By 
This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
PLEASE BE AWARE: The lovely cover image you see on Amazon is actually from the first DVD release of this movie. If you order this product, you will receive something that looks like <a href="[...]">this</a>. (Unfortunately.)

Despite the horrible artwork on the cover, this DVD set is by far one of the best 2-disk special editions I have ever seen. The movie is presented in its original widescreen cinemascope glory with sparkling menus, tons of extras, a tour of the castle, and a bonus movie. If it only had a concept art gallery, I would put it all the way up there with the Disney Platinum Editions.

The first disk makes use of a map of Anya's journal to Paris as the main menu integrated with clips from the movie. It also has something the Disney DVDs have been lagging on lately--a commentary. A commentary, no doubt, with Don Bloth and Gary Goldman, the two masterminds behind this film and many other animated masterpieces.

Aside from that, the first disk also contains bonus features on how to draw four of the main characters in the movie. Now, most "how" to draw features start out with a perfect drawing of a character and then show three steps, each with perfectly matching lines and expect you to do exactly the same thing, which is simply ridiculous. This one was different, though. Don Bluth hosted four beautiful art sessions talking very realistically about how real artists do it, from 6B pencils to kneaded erasers to the fact that it's okay to make mistakes. He went through the process step by step and amazingly, his drawings looked very sketchy and none looked exactly like the character he was drawing. I thought this was wonderful because it teaches that not all drawings come out perfect at first and even the best artists don't just sit down, put their pencil to the paper, and have a perfect picture magically appear. The only thing I didn't like about this feature was that you had to click Continue after each step or it would just stay paused.

The other main feature on the disk was a singalong track containing songs from various older 20th Century Fox movies and hosted by a girl claiming to be Anastasia, but sounding nothing like her older or younger voices. The funny thing is, most of the songs on this track had absolutely nothing to do with Anastasia. In fact, I was surprised they expected kids to buy this DVD and know about these old movies such as Young Frankenstein, Shirley Temple, and many others including songs from the other newly rereleased animated Fox "Family Fun Edition" DVD, Fern Gully. Despite having little to do with the film, this 45-minute singalong track felt complete enough to sell on its own without any other attachments so it was a very hearty feature.

The second disk had the must unenthusiastic narrator I have ever heard in my life. Never the less, the disk's menu is a beautiful CGI tour of the Romanov palace. Each shelf contained objects that the real Anastasia might have had along with a description of their use and place in history. Some objects turned out to be games and others were more bonus features.

The meat of the disk was a 45-minute documentary about the making of the film. It was very nice to hear from all the voice artists and other people involved, but the best part came from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman's commentary. Those two men always know exactly what to say! Their honest, straightforward, and down to earth nature really made this DVD a gem to own. They have no intention of playing down to a young audience and are clearly very passionate about what they do. It was always wonderful to hear their insights on the movie and the art of animation in general and they really made this set worthwhile.

Among the other features on the disk were a music video of Aaliyah's rendition of "Journey to the Past," a trivia game with questions that were not too easy, but not too hard about the film, and a virtual paper doll of Anastasia. There was also a multi-language reel of "Journey to the Past" and "Once Upon a December," preceeded by a list of phonetic letters. The "karoake" section of the reel was extremely tedious because it would first show Anya singing a line in one language, followed by two girls who were being used as examples of how phonetic letters are pronounced repeating that line, then the line was played without singing so "you" could sing it in that language, and then Anya would sing it one more time and these four cuts would repeat for every line in the song in every different language. Fortunately you also have the option of just watching the multi-language song reel by itself without the girls or karaoke versions.

Now we come to the icing on the cake. Not only do you get the movie Anastasia in this set, but you also get its spin-off film, Bartok the Magnificent, absolutely free! This 60-minute film is too long to be a short, but too short to be a movie and isn't really worth buying by itself. However, considering that it's free, it's quite a worthwhile bonus feature indeed! With a unique story, original musical numbers, and everyone's favorite pink and white bat, it's sure to entertain for at least one sitting even if you never want to watch it again after that. The movie has nothing to do with Anastasia, but instead involves Bartok trying to rescue the kidnapped prince of Moscow. There are unfortunately no cameos of anyone else in Anastasia, but nevertheless, it's a cute flick.

At $10 on Amazon, this DVD is an absolute steal and anyone in their right mind should grab it the first chance they get. Not only do you get a gorgeous and expertly crafted film, but you also get a SingAlong movie, a second spin-off movie, games, historical references, and beautifully insightful commentary from the ever-devoted, ever-friendly Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. The princess Anastasia has truly returned to her rightful throne. The only reason I did not give this item 5 stars is because of the cover art.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a December, June 15, 2006
By 
Bobby Underwood (Tumut NSW, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
This warm and romantic film from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman has long been my favorite animated feature. This mostly fictional story of Russia's famous Anastasia and her search for her family is sprinkled with humor and great songs. The animation, from snowy Russia to glamorous Paris, is top-notch and the story is both heartwarming and fun.

A great cast of voices, including Meg Ryan (Anastasia), John Cusack (Dimitri), Kelsey Grammer (Vladimir), Christopher Lloyd (Rasputin), and Angela Lansbury as Anastasia's beloved grandmother add depth to an enchanting film. Anastasia wants to leave Russia for Paris because the necklace she wears has the inscription, "Together in Paris," which she is sure holds the key to her journey to discover who she is and where she belongs.

Dimitri and Vladimir plan to pass her off as the real Anastasia for the reward in exchange for her visa out of Russia. The banter between Anastasia and Dimitri masks a growing attraction, of course, and when Dimitri discovers before she does that she really is Anastasia he knows he must step aside.

Complicating matters is the evil Rasputin, who has placed a curse on her family and sold his soul to destroy them. His little fruit bat, Bratok (Hank Azaria), is a very funny creation and turns out to be not so evil at all.

The story is peppered throughout with great songs, including "Journey to the Past" and the haunting "Once Upon a December." Anastasia is warm and involving, separating it from other animated films. When Anya discovers she really is Anastasia, it is bittersweet, as she now must choose between her past and her future. Love may conquer all, but not if the evil Rasputin has his way.

This is a heartfelt and funny animated feature you'll want to own and watch over and over. This particular edition comes with lots of extras for hours of family fun. Don't miss this one.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute movie for kids that's intelligent enough for adults, April 30, 2000
By 
Andrea K. Johnson (Minot, North Dakota USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
I bought this movie because I've been interested in the mystery of the Grand Duchess Anastasia since I was a kid, not because I have rugrats. This movie was entertaining. Anya is a spunky heroine; Dimitri is a scrappy hero; they have a sweet and surprisingly adult romance and the plot is more realistic (except for the ridiculous villain Rasputin) than expected. There is a lovely, melancholy song called "Once Upon a December" that the amnesiac Anya sings in the empty palace as ghosts come out of paintings to dance with her. This movie isn't historically accurate, but it's a satisfying fairy tale -- the way we wish it had been.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Best Don Bluth Movie I've Seen, December 29, 2001
By 
J. Edkin (South Orange, NJ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
Don Bluth is an incredibly gifted artist. His character designs and animation can be breathtaking. Unfortunately, he and frequent collaborator Gary Goldman can't tell a cohesive story to save their lives. Of all of his films I've seen, "Anastasia" is by far their best. Whether this is because of solid source material (although that didn't stop "The Secret of NIMH" from falling to pieces story-wise) or the incredible score by Lynn Aherns and Stephen Flaherty, "Anastasia" remains in my estimation Bluth and Goldman's most watchable movie.
Based loosely on a play by Marcelle Maurette and Guy Bolton. As well as the 1956 film adaptation of the play by Arthur Laurents, the story turns the mystery of the disappearance of Anastasia, daughter of Czar Nicholas, following the murder of the Russian royal family, into a fairy tale. You have to ignore everything you know about history in order to accept the execution of the film--it plays loose with the Communist revolution and with Rasputin.
Dimitri (voiced with great charm by John Cusack, sung by John Dokuchitz) is a con artist living in St. Petersburg. Along with his friend Vladimir (the entertaining Kelsey Grammer), he is searching for a young girl who can play the role of the missing Romanoff heir in order to claim a reward from the dowager empress who has escaped to Paris. He meets Anya (voiced with much character by Meg Ryan, sung by the incredible Liz Callaway) and immediately sees in her the girl to carry out his plans. As he and Vladimir work with Anya to perfect her ruse, he comes to realize that she is the true Anastasia.
Then we add the elements that make it a Don Bluth movie--Anya has a cute dog and there is a magical villain in the (dead) body of Rasputin (played gleefully over the top by Christopher Lloyd and sung by Jim Cummings). And, of course, Rasputin has his cute animal sidekick in the form of an albino bat, Bartok (the always effective Hank Azaria). Rasputin wants revenge on the Romanoffs for his undead state and sets off to kill the princess. It should also be noted that Bernadette Peters and Angele Lansbury round out the voice cast in entertaining performances.
Okay, if you can put aside your feelings of misgivings regarding the animal sidekicks and revisionist history, there is much that is entertaining in this film. The score by Broadway veterans Aherns and Flaherty is probably one of the best ever composed for an animated movie. The script does provide action, adventure, romance, and comedy. It's probably the most human script directed by Bluth and Goldman. There is some spectacular animation, the runaway train scene stands out as truly effective.
There are drawbacks. It is trying too hard to out-Disney Disney, from the opening number to the very structure of the story. The computer animation isn't always well integrated. The music box never looks like it exists in the same reality as the animated characters and the afore-mentioned train sequence is obviously not cell animation. But these drawback are relatively minor compared to the overblown climax of the movie. Still, flaws aside, it does entertain. I have watched it several times and have definitely gotten my money's worth of this DVD.
The DVD ovvers you the option of fullscreen and letterbox presentation, a short featurette about the making of the movie, and a pair of sing-along sequences.
All in all, I recommend this movie to people who enjoy animated musicals. If you like this, you may also like Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Hunchback of Notre Dame", "My Neighbor Totoro", Frank Oz's musical version of "Little Shop of Horrors", "The Iron Giant", "James and the Giant Peach", and "The Nightmare before Christmas".
(C)2001 Joe Edkin
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Don Bluth Classic, March 12, 2000
By 
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This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
Artistically this is one of the finest animated feature films produced by Don Bluth. Though best known for his work in the "American Tail" movies, he is also responsible for "The Secret of NIMH." This latest production shows what can be done when traditional hand-drawn animation is combined with computer technology. The result is superb. Outstanding animation matched with quality music and a reasonable plot merge to form an entertaining movie for children and adults alike. Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy!
For the animation lovers out there, watch for the details in the natural movements of the various characters.
As for all the comparisons with Disney animation, I only ask why? The quality of Disney films varies greatly from film to film. Bluth has been far more consistent. Finally, the criticisms that this film isn't historically accurate are moot. Animated films rarely concern themselves with accuracy. Disney is one of the worst offenders. Disney's insistance on a happy ending comletely changed the story of "The Little Mermaid" and "Pocahontas" but they're still entertaining movies.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just do not expect historical accuracy in a cartoon musical, January 16, 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
"Anastasia" is a animated musical that works despite some serious problems fundamental to the story for anybody who knows anything about Russian history. The legend of Anastasia has in roots in a historical truth: that when the Communists executed the Romanovs and gunned them down, the young Grand Duchess was not shot; she fainted. When it was discovered she was still alive she was clubbed and bayoneted to death. But the "truth" remains, she was not shot dead with the rest of her family. In this version that issued is rendered moot because the young Anastasia never joins her parents as they fled St. Petersburg. However, the greatest historical liberty is the idea that the Russian Revolution was the result of a curse the mad monk Gregorei Rasputin laid on the Romanovs. Forget Lenin and the Communists overthrowing the Czar; it was a crazy monk and his friend, an albino bat named Bartok.
However, "Anastasia" has several things working in its favor to counter-attack this nonsense. First, there is the haunting "Once Upon a December," which carries the mood of the story perfectly and comes into play at several key moments in the film. The rest of the music is above average and avoids cuteness for the most part (the bad guys get the fun song with "In the Dark of the Night"), but "Once Upon a December" is musically the cornerstone of the whole film. Second, there is the wonderful vocal work by Kelsey Grammer and Angela Landsbury as the supporting characters Vladimir and the Dowager Empress Marie; they are the pair who provide the film with its heart while Anna and Dmitri wait for their brains to catch up with their hearts. Third, in true giant cartoon movie style, the film reduces everything to the fundamental desire to go home and be part of a family.
Ultimately, the backbone of the story is more the 1956 Ingrid Bergman film version of the "Anastasia" story than history: a con artist wants to earn the reward for finding the lost heiress to the Russian thrown and turns an amnesia victim into Anastasia only to discover that she is the real thing and that he is in love with her. Then basically they throw in the standard evil person trying to keep the princess and her boyfriend apart (think Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" except instead of an evil queen it is a mad monk and instead of a giant dragon there is a small albino bat and the princess is really a Grand Duchess and the prince is now a former servant boy, but other than that they are remarkably the same). Besides, kids like this film and they should be allowed to do so for a few years before they discover they can not learn history from movies (and should never let watching a movie substitute for reading an assigned book).
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Russian history- sort of, February 4, 2008
Anastasia DVD

Anastasia is an animated movie about the Russian Romanov family and what happened to them.
It is sort of like a Cinderella story with a Russian history twist.

Highly recommended for families with young children that want to start teaching them something about European history or just want to enjoy a family oriented movie.

Gunner February,2008
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vive la Anastasia!, August 2, 2005
This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
I don't care how unaccurate this film is. I just care that it is a great movie to watch. I love the characters, the animation is spectacular, and the songs are unforgettable! I always believed in the stories of Anastasia, but I was sad when I learned the truth about her and her family. If this movie was real, it would really convince me that Anastasia would be a true princess.

The story begins in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1916, as a ball is being held in honor of the 300th anniversary of the ruling of the czars of Russia. One of the guests is the Dowager Emperess Marie (Angela Lansbury, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Murder, She Wrote, Beauty and the Beast), who loves her youngest granddaughter, Anastasia (Kirsten Dunst, Jumanji, Mona Lisa Smile, Spiderman). The emperess is leaving for Paris, which makes Anastasia sad. So, the emperess gives her granddaughter a music box to remember her by, as well as a necklace that reads "Together in Paris". The party is interuppted when Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd, Angels in the Outfield, Taxi; sung by Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger), an evil holy man, sends a curse upon the Romanov family that they will die within the night. After the party, the revolution begins, and the Romanovs are trying to escape. Anastasia forgets her music box and runs off to her room, with her grandmother running close behind her. Suddenly, the protesters burst into the castle! A small servant boy helps the princess and the grandmother into a special door hidden in the wall so that they could escape. Rasputin meets the two on the ice, where he is sure that Anastasia could not escape. But then, the ice breaks, and Rasputin drowns to his death. By the time Anastasia and Marie get to the train station, the train is already leaving! Marie gets on, but Anastasia is running as fast as she can so she could get on, too. Marie grabs onto her granddaughter's hand, but it slips from her grasp, and Anastasia falls. Since then, Marie has been searching for granddaughter, but all she finds are frauds. Can she ever see her granddaughter again?

10 years have passed since the revolution, and a rumor has been started that Anastasia is alive, and the Dowager Empress Marie is offering 10 million rubles to anyone who can bring Anastasia to her. Two men, Dmitri (John Cusack, Must Love Dogs, America's Sweethearts) and Vladmir (Kelsey Grammar, Frasier, Cheers) are willing to take that chance, but only for the money since they are con men, or those who use fake people to pretend they are a real person. Meanwhile, at an orphanage, an 18 year old girl named Anya (Meg Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail) is sent off to go get a job at the fish factory. She has no memory of her past, except a necklace that reads "Together in Paris". She can't shake off the feeling that she may be someone special. Anya doesn't know what to do. Then, a little encouragement from a stray dog leads her to St. Petersburg, where she decides to get a ticket to go to Paris. But she has no exit visa, which she can't get a ticket. So then, she goes off to the old palace to seek out a man named Dmitri. While exploring the palace, she imagines herself at a ball, dancing in the arms of those who love her, feeling safe and warm. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Dmitri and Vladmir appears. As Anya tries to run away, but is stopped by Dmitri, who looks at her while standing at the painting of the Russian family. She looks a lot like Anastasia. Anya tells her story to the two men, who want to help her get to Paris, but the third ticket is reserved for Anastasia. Then, they try to convince her that she could be the princess. Anya catches on, and agrees to go with them. But, unknowingly, a bat named Bartok (Hank Azaria, The Simpsons, Bartok the Magnificent) watches from above, and realizes that Anastasia is alive. The reliquary, which belonged to Rasputin, plunges down to the underworld, taking Bartok with it. When he tells Rasputin that Anastasia is alive, he is enraged and vows to kill the remaining member of the Romanov family. Will Rasputin get his revenge? Is Anya really Anastasia? And what will Dmitri and Vladmir do if they get the rubles?

This movie is fantastic. I loved every minute of it, except the part where Anastasia learns that Dmitri is a con man. The songs are simply lovely. I love Aaliyah's version of "Journey to the Past". She did a great job. I'm sorry to see her go unexpectedly. I also liked "At the Beginning" by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis. And a big shout-out to the composers. They rock!

It doesn't matter if this movie is historically correct or not. It matters that you learn a big lesson from it. A couple, actually. The main lesson is follow your heart. It will guide you to your true heart's desires. Buy Anastasia today! The special features of this DVD are good, too. It's a real journey to the past!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!!, April 6, 2005
This review is from: Anastasia (DVD)
While Anastasia may never become a classic in the hearts of some people you will find that this film will take a special place in your heart as you witness a young woman, 18 years old lost and alone and just trying to find her place in an unforgiving world.

Anastasia is based of the true story of the Bolzchevic Revolution where the Czars of Russia were overthrown and killed. It was believed that the princess anastasia survived due to the fact that her body was unaccounted for among her relatives. It was thought to believe that she was found but actually the woman, now dead, was proved to be a fake when Anastasia's bones were finally found after the imposters death. This woman tho did not know she was an imposter because she had amnesia and did not know whether or not she was actually anastasia.

While the movie takes its own spin on this tale, it is still fun and facinating to watch as the evil Rasputin, a real character in history who was believed to posses dark powers, tries endlessly to fulfill his curse of killing the Romanove (unsure of spelling) family by killing the sole survivor, Anastasia. This film is to be considered a musicle due to all the songs in it but it should be noted that these songs, unlike most in disney and other kid films, are not horrible and make you want to plug your ears....these songs are heartfelt and made for all listeners young and old. My favorite song is "One Step at A time" where Anastasia is travleing to St. Peterspurg to begine her search for her family.

Another great aspect of this film is that it has a wonderful vioce cast that helps contribute to the magic of the film...such actors are as follows...Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Hank Azaria, Christopher Lloyd, and Angela Lansbury. Each actor does an excelant job at helping the film come to life before your eyes and show that they not only know how to act on screen in real life, but to animated character with out making it sound fake and hollow. They are extremly enjoyable to listen to.

I encourage you to buy Anastasia, its the perfect animated film for anyone in the family who dreams that perhaps, they were actually born a princess.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu ray Video Transfer, May 7, 2013
This review is from: Anastasia [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Although most of the people review the movie, the characters , the story-line. I felt compelled to help some people by deciding if the blu ray version of this movie is right for them. Let start by saying that I collect all of Don Bluth animated classics, but whatever opinion you have about the movie itself, I respect. Not everyone can be pleased by the story-line selected by a director on any of old times classic tales. But as a collector that buys the blu blu ray versions of such tales, I expect that at least some special restoration is done in the video transfer to be worth the upgrade. Well that restoration is excellent for this movie. All other Don Bluth blu rays video transfers are awful. So this is my opinion of the video quality of the classics:

Anastasia: 5 STARS
All Dogs go to heaven: 1 STAR
All Dogs go to heaven 2: 0 STARS (if Possible)
The secret of Nimh: 1 STAR
Thumbelina: 1 STAR
Fergully: 1 STAR
The pebble and the Pinguin: 1 STAR
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Anastasia
Anastasia by Gary Goldman (DVD - 2006)
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