Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anastasia (1997)

The last few work days have been really crazy so I've settled down to watch "Princess and the Frog", Disney s newest 2D animation movie. That started me thinking of one of my favorite animation movies, "Anastasia". I would rather watch that one but I can't seem to find it again!

Right off the start, this movie is not historically correct in any way shape or form. The story is based on the rumors that circulated after the tragic take down of the Romanov family in Russia. The rumor was that one of the youngest daughter of the family may have survived. She would have been the heir to the Russian throne.

I of all people know how insulting movie story adaptations of an exotic culture can be. Problems arise from omitting details or grossly making up deatils to make it relate to the general public. All for the sake of entertainment and moola.

Case in point: "The King and I". The only truth to that movie was that there is a king in Siam. I realllllly hate "The King and I." Then again I am part Thai.

So I bet a lot of Russians feel the same way about "Anastasia". I would just like to point out several things to this using "The King and I" as an example.

* The main lady of the "The King and I" is an outsider( and very boring). The main lady of "Anastasia" is an insider (and way cool).
* Anastasia is also a strong and personable character. I can beat up Anna (the heroine of "The King and I)
* Dimitri, the hero of the movie, is clever and also strong. The King in "The King and I" is portrayed as savage and stupid.

Point is : "Anastasia" is a wonderful story while the "King and I" plain sucks.

"Anastasia" also holds a special personal meaning since this is the first movie that I saw in theaters. The first one!!!So it was always be golden in my eyes. I remember being wowed when the opening title appeared minutes into the movie. I knew I was going to love this movie.

The story of the movie centers around our heroine, Anya. The Dowager Empress and her granddaughter,Anastasia are the only surviving members of the Romanov family. Unfortunately, they have become separated from one another for years.

We are introduced to Anya as she is leaving the orphanage where she grew with no memory of how she arrived. The only clue has is an ornate necklace with the words "Together in Paris". SO she optimistically heads for Paris. Problem? No exit visa.

Through hushed whispers, she is pointed to Dimitri. Dimitri is not only known for forging exit visas and other legal documents, he is also holding auditions for girls who would pass for "Anastasia" in order to gain the huge reward from the Dowager Empress.

They meet, they squabble, they fall in love. I love love stories where the hero and heroine argue. It's so much fun! You actually see the progression of them falling in love with each other.

This is a problem that I have with alot of big name animation movies. They skip the progression and head straight for the declaration. It makes the movie shorter thats for sure. But then I don't care about the love. It holds no weight, no special meaning. Romance is always important. Always.

I have to mention the villain, Rasputin. I love Anastasia and Dimitri is drreeaaamy (hey, we are all entitled to our cartoon crushs) but Rasputin was just awesome. For my young, impressionable mind he was equal parts funny and scary. To this day, he is one of my favorite villains. I still love singing along to "In the Dark of the Night" with goosebumps on my arms.

Whoever was in charge of casting the voice actors...good job!
John Cusack (sigh) is Dimitri (Sigh)
Meg Ryan (eh) is Anastasia (yay)
Christopher Lylod (Great Scotts!) is Rasputin (Whoo!)

(Update: I was not impressed by "Princess and The Frog")