13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
THE BEST ANIMATED MOVIE EVER!!!!, 12 May 2003
This gets a five star from me. Based in 1927 Russia, it tells the story of the lost Russian princess. The voice work is extremely praiseworthy. Meg Ryan is enthusiastic, fiery and brings the character of Anastasia to life with extraordinary depth. John Cusack portrays Dimitri, and his voice adds amazing warmth and glow to the character of the male protagonist. Kelsey Grammar lends his great talent as the voice of Vladimir, the character who portrays wisdom and feeling in the story. Christopher Lloyd as the villain Rasputin is Great and though some critics comment on his non required presence, I think he brings much of the comic relief in the story, just like his sidekick Bartok, the bat, voiced excellently by Hank Azaria. Kirsten Dunst and Bernadette Peters play their roles well, but the pivotal and my best character in the movie, the grand duchess Marie is voiced with excruciating depth by Angela Lansbury.
The music of the movie is awesome and equally good, albeit better than recent Alan Menken ones seen in later Disney movies like Hercules and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. The songs “At The Beginning”& “Journey To The Past” are my favorites and the show-stoppers “Learning To Do It” and “Paris Holds the Key” are well composed. But the tune that lingers on and on is Once Upon A December. Liz Callaway is exceptionally good as the singing voice of Anastasia. The score, composed by David Newman ranks one above the recent Disney tries. In Fact, if not for Titanic, Anastasia, I believe would have come home with two most deserving Oscars for Best Song And Best Score. Well, at least it got the nominations.
But the elements which truly separates this movie from any other animated movie is HEART; EMOTION; SACRIFICE; DEPTH and FEELING. There are times when you just forget that its an animated movie you are watching, not a real one. The part where the Empress Marie says “Oh Anastasia My Anastasia!” is voiced with such extraordinary depth that every time I watch the re union of the Grandma with her grand daughter I cry. Imagine, A woman who has lost everything during a revolution, who has been hurt countless times finally knows that her grandchild is still alive. Anya too has never known love or home and this movie is about her quest to find it. The hero, a con-man transformed by love, gives up ten million rubles for her and the heroine leaves behind her royalty for him. These touching moments I have never witnessed in any animated movie (other than Pocahontas and The Prince Of Egypt) and needless to say, this is my best movie, animation or non animation.
Another thing I would want to say too; this is more an ADULT ORIENTED movie than a kid’s one. 10 year olds will hardly understand the emotional moments or the occasional verbal clashes between the two protagonists during the first half of the movie. Then again just because its an animated movie rated ‘G’ doesn’t mean that it has to be for kids. That is one reason, I think this movie did not do as well as it should have. Spunk and fast movies like Aladdin, Hercules and Beauty And The Beast no doubt are Great stuff (hey, I like them too), but this is just something different from the ordinary fun, laughter, sexy heroines and kisses you get from Disney movies. So if you like fast paced entertaining, Aladdin type stuff don’t waste your time on Anastasia; but if you are a true appreciator of emotional and artistic beauty and what it means for an orphan to know the meaning of Love and family, go watch this classic. As for me, it will always hold a special place in my heart.