Twentieth Century Fox was known for trying new versions of media that other companies had already laid claim to. One of these experiments was their take on the princess faerytales by creating Anastasia. The film was based on the historical events of the Russian royal family and the tragic event that claimed many of their lives.
Dreaming in December
In Russia, Nicholas II was holding a ball to celebrate the Romanov trigeminal. During the celebration the Dowager Empress Marie gave a necklace and music box to her youngest Granddaughter, Anastasia, as a parting gift. It was a secret promise to always meet in Paris. The joyful occasion soon turned bitter as Rasputin set a curse upon their family. During the Russian Rebellion, many of the family was lost leaving Anastasia and The Dowager Empress Marie as the only survivors. While fleeing on a train out of the country,
Anastasia fell and lost her memory. Heartbroken. The Dowager Empress Marie set a ten million rubies rewards for the safe return of her Granddaughter Ten years later, we are introduced to a con artist named Dimitri and an orphaned girl named Anya who together will reveal the missing Russian Duchess.
Visiting the Past
Anastasia (Meg Ryan) or Anya as she was called while growing up in the orphanage. has lost her memories at a young age. She knows she must go to Paris from a necklace she wears around her neck. She is joined by Pooka a puppy she has come across and soon joins Dimitri to meet the Dowager Empress Marie. Anastasia is not the typical princess being more of a tomboy that knows how to settle her own fights.
Dimitri (John Cusack) is a young man who is trying to find a look alike of the young Duchess to claim the reward money. He was a young servant boy who helped the royal family escape and still contains the music box that the young royal dropped by accident. He is chorismic and cunning using his knowledge from working in the castle to get ahead in life. He falls in love with Anya and decides to help her reclaim her memories sacrificing his own desires.
Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) was once the royal advisor for the royal family until he was exiled for treason. Wanting revenge, he sold his soul for dark powers using it to get revenge sparking the start of the Russia Rebellion. When discovered that the young Duchess has survived, Rasputin surfaces from limbo hoping to finish his curse.
Bartok (Hank Azaria) is an albino bat and minion of Rasputin. He returns his master’s powers to him yet when Rasputin tries to finish off the Duchess, Bartok stands to the side not wanting to harm her. Unlike his master, Bartek is a fun-loving bat that would rather throw a party than take part in notorious deeds.
The Dowager Empress Marie (Angela Lansbury) is Anastasia’s Grandmother and the only other survivor of the royal family. She has placed a reward for the safe return of her Granddaughter, yet she has grown bitter after months of meeting fakes claiming to be the young girl. She is strict and proper yet it’s clear she cares much for her family.
Vanishing the Darkness
Despite being a fan of the Disney classics, this film was one of my favorites growing up. It took a risk using fantasy to tell history to engage a younger audience. I would rate this film an eight out of ten due to the engaging songs and the light-hearted humor mixed throughout the film. Historically there are a few details that are incorrect, and the villain could be more developed compared to other classic fantasy villains.
The movie held strong ties to family and focuses on family values while finding where you belong in the world. Despite this film being considered a disgrace for being misleading with historical events, I found this film to be an endearing tale. The movie wasn’t trying to retell a historical event but rather show what the young Duchess was enduring while she was lost to the world.
The movie is more about discovering who you are and were you belong even those born with a title may not want the life they were born into. People we meet, and experiences will shape our lives make us a biter person once the journey is over.
Now, shush, I’m trying to read.