64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Once Upon a December,
This review is from: Anastasia ('97 / animated ) (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.