Topic: "Anastasia" review by drew & co.
Previously established: I am a teen-aged girl, who conveniently fathered two daughters. Last night we had some time to kill, since school is out today and tomorrow for something or other, so we surfed around on the Netflix and settled on...
Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammar (Russian accent mode) and Christopher Lloyd as the evil sorcerer Rasputin. Supported by Angela Lansbury and Bernadette Peters. Hank Azaria brings the comic relief familiar to life.
I could stop here and demand that you all watch it now, 'cuz, Dayum! Dat cast. Having missed or glossed over the credits, I had a good time in my way by guessing the actors from their voices.
It's a modern musical (I could also stop here...), based on a play and follow-on film from the mid-50's.
Neither Ryan nor Cusack sings, their lyrics are handled by stalwarts.
Technically interesting is the use of infant CGI to bring sweeping camera moves and architecture to life in this mostly hand-animated little film.
The historical setup is dubious at best, but then this is a what-if tale about the Tsar's daughter avoiding the bloody parts of the Russian Revolution, immortalized in the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," and elsewhere. We get past that pretty quickly and then it's a road adventure as our heroes meet and subsequently undertake a journey from St. Petersburg to Paris.
The girl has suffered from amnesia since age 8. The men have auditioned countless actresses to play the part of the long lost Duchess Anastasia in a simple scam to win the 10 million Ruble prize for finding her. This contrived mistaken identity is a bit of a hole in the plot, but it is discussed at length and thus festooned with lanterns.
As she is the last of the Romanovs he cursed, the undead Rasputin's soul cannot rest until Anastasia is no more. So like a wicked Oz witch he employs vaporous minions to cause various calamities for the resourceful crew to narrowly escape.
Once in Paris, her grandmother is simply fed up and finished with interviewing pretenders and charlatans, and must be manipulated to even grant an audience to the progressively lovelier Ana.
The film's climax brought tears and cheers from our audience, and I'd say the IMDB 7.1 rating is unfairly low. I skipped it in the 90's, but I'm glad I finally came around.