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Cloaked Critic Reviews Anastasia by TheUnisonReturns Cloaked Critic Reviews Anastasia by TheUnisonReturns
!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!

I believe plenty of us remember "Anastasia"; a Don Bluth/Gary Goldman film released in 1997. The movie was produced by Fox Animation Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox (despite some people claiming it's a Disney movie). It is an animated musical adaptation of the 1956 film of the same name. The story of this film is a fictionalized account of the mysterious disappearance of Tzar Nicholas' daughter Anastasia. As with most all fictionalized accounts of history, this movie attempts to rewrite history in the mind of the viewer by suggesting that the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism was the result of an evil curse enacted by Rasputin to destroy the Romanov Family. Even though some people might liken Communism and the events following the formation of the Soviet Union to be like a curse, I think it's fair to say that in reality Rasputin had little to do with it, but for the purposes of this movie's pseudo-fairytale plot it works quite well.

Now mind you, I actually love this movie. It's one of my favorites, but I do have certain issues with it. For example, I utterly love Rasputin in this. My favorite part of this movie even is his song, "In The Dark of the Night". Christopher Lloyd gave him such a likeable and wacky personality while still managing to convey an sadistic vibe, but as much as I love this character his portrayal is hardly accurate to history. Contrary to the accepted beliefs, Rasputin was not actually evil. There are a lot of claims and accuations about him, but none of these have ever been validated. About the only factual thing they did include about Rasputin in this movie was his death. Rasputin did actually die from drowning in a frozen river after he was poisoned, shot, and viciously beaten. My other issue with this movie is that aside from the parts with Rasputin and Bartok and Anya and Dimitri's bickering it's actually a little boring. Fortunately however the creators managed to balance and spread out the comedy of these four characters throughout the story evenly enough to cancel out the more slow-pace moments.

Certainly Don Bluth left his mark on this film, as he always seems to favor the strong mystic fairytale type of surreality which was first portrayed through animation by Walt Disney. He goes so far as to blend real-world historic events with heavy fantasy-themes by incorporating the infamous "Mad Monk" Grigori Rasputin as a powerful sorcerer to provide the story with the fanciful mystic quality that is prevalent in nearly every one of Don Bluth's movies. Of course realistically, if Anastasia did survive the slaughter of her family, her greatest enemy would have been the Russian Secret Police and other revolutionary groups who would have surely wanted her dead. In fact, my theory is that she may have indeed escaped the initial massacre of her family, but was eventually caught and killed in secret...of course that's just my position regarding the legend. Nevertheless, I can't fault this movie for its intense fantasy elements as that's what I've always loved about Don Bluth's films. In fact, HIS movies more than Walt Disney, are what have influenced my own brand of storytelling for my own books and cartoons.

I don't know why, but every time I watch this movie Dimitri slightly reminds me of Leonardo Dicapro for some reason; which is odd since I haven't really seen any of his movies except for parts of that sappy Titanic movie. At any rate, the bickering exchange between him and Anya is one of the highlights of this movie. I mean the idea of two obvious love interests in a story hating each other only to eventually fall in love with one another is very much cliche and a tale as old as time, but it's a classic formula for romantic comedy that always works time and time again, and speaking personally, that's really the only type of relationship I can honestly relate to. Love stories where the two characters are madly in love from the get-go constantly exchanging sappy sentiment are always majorly boring and utterly revolting. The only relationship I could stand to be in is one where me and my significant other are both lovers and rivals. Childish squabbling really keeps a relationship young and lively, and always makes for good comedy.

After the crazed comical ravings of the "mad monk" Rasputin, my next favorite character in this movie is Bartok. Not since Iago from Disney's "Aladdin" have we seen such an entertaining minion who completely steals the show from the primary characters. Of course in both cases, this was largely due to the actors who voiced them and their distinctively whimsical personalities. Gilbert Gottfried voiced Iago from Disney's Aladdin and Hank Azaria, best known for Moe Szyslak from the Simpsons, voices Bartok in this movie. These guys have so much personality, THEIR VOICES HAVE PERSONALITY; making the characters they voice forever memorable and endearing. My reason for likening Bartok to Iago is that both characters are unique with regards to villainous minions. In fact, they are so unique and unlike the typical cliche until they aren't really minions at all. Iago was constantly giving Jafar lip all through their movie, and their overall relationship was considerably more liberal than the standard "master-minion" relationship. The interaction between them seemed much too informal and familiar, giving the idea that they were actually friends...of a sort. This of course leaves me to view Iago as being more like Jafar's unequal partner than his minion. The case seems to be quite similar with Rasputin and Bartok. Once again their interaction with each other appears to be quite informal; for even though Bartok still refers to Rasputin as "Master" he still seems quick to contradict him at certain points, and while there is a momentary instant where Rasputin threatens Bartok he does not generally appear threatening towards him. One of the main things that distinguishes a "master-minion" relationship from an unequal or absuive friendship is that fear is a major element of the "master-minion" relationship. Between Iago and Jafar and Bartok and Rasputin it doesn't seem that fear plays a major role in their respective relationships; making Iago and Bartok more like unequal partners than true minions. Another reason why Bartok stands out is that he doesn't really do anything throughout the whole movie. He is purely comic relief in the most absolute sense. All he does is occasionally interject comedic commentary.

This movie conveys a spirited and enchanting tone from start to finish and one of the things I love most is how Don Bluth manages to bedazzle the viewer with a story that would otherwise be lost on most modern audiences (especially younger audiences). As I mentioned already, my favorite scene is when Rasputin sings his song, "In The Dark of the Night" after discovering that Anastasia is alive and upon being reunited with his enchanted reliquary. True to the style and spirit of Don Bluth, the depiction of limbo is a creative and surreal work of art that excels in conveying the somber, dark, arcane atmosphere such a devilish scene rightly inspires in the mind of the viewer. This is the type of creative artistic expression we seldom see in animated movies anymore, and that I certainly have yet to see in any of these crappy CGI flicks the mainstream keeps shitting out year after fuckin' year. Seriously, somebody talk Don Bluth into making another animated movie! The world needs another animated masterpiece from the last great animation director of the past 20th Century!
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:iconmlpfan1982:
mlpfan1982 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry to break it to you, but one of the skeletons that were found in the mass grave outside Ekaterinburg in 1991 belonged to Anastasia :( and in 2007, some charred bone fragments were found to have belonged to her brother Alexei and sister Maria. Nobody escaped, eyewitness accounts and DNA testing on the bones proved it...
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Well, that just further confirms my theory then. She did die, but for a long time people thought she had escaped; hence the urban legend that this movie and the prior was inspired by.
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:iconmlpfan1982:
mlpfan1982 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah :( in some ways it's better that she didn't escape because if she had, she would not have been the same again and she would have had to live with the trauma the rest of her life. At least they were together when it happened. But it's still sad.
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Professional Filmographer
As are many of the terrible tragedies of this world.
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:iconmlpfan1982:
mlpfan1982 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
:(
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for faving, by the way. :thumbsup:
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:iconmlpfan1982:
mlpfan1982 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome
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:iconkyrtuck:
kyrtuck Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
One of my favorites too!
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Glad to see I'm no alone. =D
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:iconkyrtuck:
kyrtuck Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I had also really loved the Once Upon A December song.  Definatly right up there with in the Dark of the Night.
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Professional Filmographer
I agree. That is another of my favorites as well. :nod:
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:iconlipsterleo:
LipsterLeo Featured By Owner Edited Mar 4, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I too like this movie. Christopher Lloyd's Rasputin stole the show, he and that stupid little bat. Personally, I think Christopher Lloyd is an under rated actor. He does "crazy" like crazy. Anything from a mad monk to a mad scientist to a mad Vulcan. I've never seen him in a part that wasn't well acted.
As to Don Bluth being the last great animation director of the 20th century, Couldn't agree more. As for the 21st century, keep an eye on Studio Ghibli.
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Sad to say, Studio Ghibli has closed its doors. I believe they shut down sometime last year. :(
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:iconlipsterleo:
LipsterLeo Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Nnnoooooooooo....!!
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015  Professional Filmographer
That's how I felt when I found out. :(
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:icondeviantizzy:
DeviantIzzy Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015
I WAS FROZEN TODAY
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:icondim432:
Dim432 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015   Writer
I love that movie it's one of his best
And that song in the dark of the night is awesome
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Professional Filmographer
I thoroughly agree. :nod:
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:icondim432:
Dim432 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015   Writer
As a kid I remember it was hyped even I remember the free inside pack of a glow in the dark character.

But looking back the characters are memorable the story is brilliant and the songs are awesome, I remember that was a straight to sequal called Bartock the magnificent
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:icontheunisonreturns:
TheUnisonReturns Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Yes, I'll be doing a review of that soon too. :)
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