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Anastasia [VHS]

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,892 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Kelsey Grammer, Hank Azaria
  • Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
  • Writers: Bob Tzudiker, Bruce Graham, Eric Tuchman, Noni White, Susan Gauthier
  • Producers: Don Bluth
  • Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, Russian
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: January 1, 1999
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,892 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304873441
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,579 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The evil wizard Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) puts a hex on the royal Romanovs and young Anastasia (Meg Ryan) disappears when their palace is overrun. Years later, the Grand Duchess (Angela Lansbury) offers a reward for Anastasia's return. Two scheming Russians (John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer), planning to pawn off a phony, hold auditions and choose an orphan girl with a remarkable resemblance to the missing princess. They bring her to Paris for the reward, not knowing she's the real Anastasia.

Amazon.com

Stomping out their usual cuteness and carbon copying Disney's grand animation style to a T, directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (An American Tail) create a successful musical comedy from the story of the lost Russian princess. Adapting the story of imperialism and revolution is tricky, and subsequently the film's opening is weak. Once Anya (voiced by Meg Ryan, sung by Liz Callaway) is a teenager and on her own (suffering from some degree of amnesia), the film is quite pleasing though never refreshingly new.

Twentieth Century Fox's big-money gamble to horn in on Disney's realm is worthy. The songs, especially the recurrent "Once Upon a December," by Broadway team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are better than Disney's recent efforts. It's worth picking up the soundtrack. The mix of cell animation and computer work is vivid. The collection of vocal talent is also strong, from John Cusack (as Dimitri, who wants to earn the reward by bringing Anya to Paris) to Hank Azaria as an amusing albino bat. Kelsey Grammer helps turn a roly-poly sidekick into a warm and strong supporting character.

The biggest drawback is Bluth/Goldman's insistence on having a typical villain. Surprisingly, the story would be strong enough without one, and the undead corpse of Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) is unneeded and unoriginal. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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