Anastasia (1997)

Time to revisit childhood favorites! I’m not going to lie. It might be a little deliberate to have chosen Anastasia since Netflix is doing “A” titles. Consider it a double feature in a way, especially since Anastasia is currently on Netflix (in Canada). Its also a good choice because I need to watch good movies also and not always average movies. It keeps the moral high and motivation even higher. So I’m going to try from now on. When the week is a little more quiet, I’ll work in another movie, hopefully with the same letter title as the Netflix that week. Summer is around the corner so I usually rest up in June to prepare for all the movie reviews in Fantasia Festival in mid-July.

Enough rambling! Let’s revisit Anastasia! 🙂

Anastasia (1997)
Anastasia

Director: Don Bluth & Gary Goldman

Voice cast:  Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Kelsey Grammar, Hank Azaria, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury

The last surviving child of the Russian Royal Family joins two con men to reunite with her grandmother, the Dowager Empress, while the undead Rasputin seeks her death.-IMDB

Don Bluth does have quite the magic. When I watched all these animated films when I was a kid or just younger, I never knew much about who directed and voice casts and all that stuff.  Now that I’ve been in the movie blogger world, I know better. Certain names just seem to be the key behind a lot of movies. I never feel like Anastasia is appreciated or talked about as much as it should be. Fact is, Anastasia is really pretty and what shocked me even more is that its not from the powerhouses now. This is a Fox Animation Studios film. If you even look at the voice cast, there is quite a bit of amazing talent here. It even turns out that I’m doing a back to back John Cusack movie, unexpectedly. Much of Anastasia has to go to the beautiful animation and the fantastic music. I may have not seen this movie in forever, probably more than ten years, but I always hum Once Upon a December in sporadic moments. Of course, the whole soundtrack is quite memorable.

I probably should have reviewed Anastasia ages ago because I’ve always wanted to look at ALL of Meg Ryan’s movies and that project and even thought of it has faded away but I do still love Meg Ryan and her movies quite a bit. She voices Anastasia and she is so great in bringing to life our main character here. Anastasia is feisty and tough if not slightly naive also but she yearns to find her family but who knew that things would work out unexpectedly. She not only finds her family but also meets an unexpected guy who is flawed but also has his own secret.

Voicing Dimitri, the guy that Anastasia meets, is John Cusack. I’m going to be honest that I never acknowledged that he voiced this character.  While I have a lot of appreciation for his acting, I still have a lot to learn about the movies he has been in. But, I do like his voice as Dimitri. It carries a cunning but still very sweet character.  However, I do love Kelsey Grammar as Vlad quite a bit also. Vlad is such a charming and funny character, especially his obsession with Pooka. The cutest element of the entire film is Pooka. I guess dogs whether in real life or animated still are just uber adorable regardless.

Anastasia

 In any animated film, there’s always some villain and here we have Rasputin, voiced by Christopher Lloyd. While he is evil, he holds a comical value that is suitable for kids to watch. I’m not sure how young it would be suitable for but Rasputin is generically evil but still manages to make me laugh. Plus, he is literally falling apart and with the interaction he has with Bartok, his somewhat faithful bat, voiced by Hank Azaria, it becomes not scary but simply entertaining. Rasputin’s mishaps is what I looked forward to the whole time.  While, Bartok was really just a background character that made witty reactions as the comic relief. Hank Azaria does have a great talent in voices and here he demonstrates it yet again.

Anastasia

Overall, Anastasia may almost be 20 years old but it still holds the charm with enchanting music and charming characters voiced by a wonderful cast. Meg Ryan and John Cusack does a fine job as the leads but Christopher Lloyd makes a comical villain and Hank Azaria does a great silly sidekick. It helps that they added in an uber cute dog Pooka to follow them on their journey. A must-watch animated film! I still love it every bit as much as when I first saw it! 🙂

Before we leave, its important to add in a song (or two) from the movie!

Have you seen Anastasia?

An American Tail (1986) by Starry Traveler’s Road – Ultimate 80s Blogathon

We’re nearing the end of week 2 of Ultimate 80s.  Please welcome the next contribution by Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road.  She doesn’t normally do movie reviews and she’s not exactly a movie fanatic by a long shot but she is one of my longest childhood friends.  I was her bridesmaids for her wedding and well..we have our stories. I totally appreciate her joining us in this awesome fun. Her blog is rather new and dabbles in areas like gardening and tidbit and tips on a variety of baby topics and she also likes to talk about cooking.  She’s also my designated foodie buddy (along with her family).

Give her some love and support.  Maybe we will turn her into a movie fanatic one day.  Let’s pass it over to her for her choice, An American Tail! 🙂

———————————-

Hello everyone! First of all, big thank yous to Tranquil Dreams and Drew for hosting the Ultimate 80s Blogathon! This is pretty much one of my first “official” movie reviews, so please bear with me!

The movie that I have chosen is An American Tail as the animation holds a lot of sentimental value. According to my mother, its theme song “Somewhere Out There” was the very first song that she taught me and sang as a toddler. Now that I am a new mom, I do sing it time to time to my baby daughter (under 1 year old) in hopes it will become our first song as well!

I have not seen the movie since my toddlerhood; so, I watched it again while my daughter and I had lunch the other day for the purpose of this review and to see her reaction.

An American Tail (1986)

an american tail

Director: Don Bluth

Cast: Cathianne Blore, Dom DeLuise, John Finnegan, Phillip Glasser, Amy Green, Madeline Kahn, Pat Musick, Nehemiah Persoff, Christopher Plummer, Neil Ross, Will Ryan, Hal Smith, Erica Yohn

While emigrating to the United States, a young Russian mouse gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country. – IMDB

I am not terribly good with summaries. Anyway, Fievel, the main character, had to immigrate to the Americas with his family after an arson attack by the Cossacks and attack by their cats. During the boat trip, he got separated from his parents; yet, he still managed to reach the Americas through a bottle. From there, he meets various characters as he sets out to look for his family.

If you want to know my baby daughter’s reaction, there was a lot of squirming in her high chair and my arms during the movie. I was not surprised given it was 80 minutes long. Not terribly sure if she enjoyed it except she seemed to like some songs as she waves her hands in excitement (the only parts that I felt she paid attention to as she loves music!). So, I do not think this is a movie for anyone under 1!

Now that I am older and an history buff, I realized the toddler in me may not have possibly understood all the depressing historical details in addition to being a young child separated from his/her parents in a foreign country. One thing that I would totally agree with my daughter is how much I liked the songs to the point that I managed to sing along to Never Say Never and A Duo, songs that I have not heard in years. Anyway, I do like the storyline and animation, especially how the characters were drawn. I personally like this style of animation, it is so much better than 3D! Even if my daughter may not understand it, I took the opportunity to teach her not to wander off on her own or she will end up like Fievel and we will not know where to look for her! One thing that I truly appreciate was Fievel’s sister’s beliefs that her brother is still alive and his parents should continue to look for him. Her sense of hope is touching as I realized that I would have given up like their parents did.

Overall, I still think it is a decent movie even if it got 6.3/10 from Rotten Tomatoes. There are indeed things that I found strange like a disappearance of a character from the storyboard (probably due to cuts) and things here and there. If you ask me what scene that I remember the most other than the Somewhere Out There song segment before I re-watched the movie, it would have been burning of the houses and people escaping at the beginning of the movie.  So, I do think that parents/adults should watch with “older” kids (maybe 4 years and above) to provide some guidance on some darker historical stuff (e.g. prosecution, child labor, etc) just in case.

There is actually a sequel if you liked this movie. It is called An Americal Tail: Fievel Goes West. That is it for my review. Hope you have enjoyed it! 🙂