Anastasia is 20th Century's Fox attempt to combat the mighty Disney animated department, and while the look comes out fairly even with Disney, the rest does not.
In the animation department, things look pretty good. The human characters are more realistic looking than the large eyed, cartoon characters that have been used in so many recent Disney films. They move fluidly. There are several beautiful backgrounds, especially in the dance sequences. There's also some cool looking effects during some of the action sequences, namely the train scene and the ending. The only bad thing is that Anastasia (Meg Ryan), throughout the movie, looks like she is stoned.
The story is also sub par. While the idea that Anastasia is alive is decent, Fox attempts to intermix tons of fictional things that only degrade from the story. The worst is the magical powers of Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd), which falls a little too closely to Jafar in Aladdin (and one scene looks awfully close to a scene in The Lion King where Scar is singing along with his hyenas). The ending had absolutely nothing to do with anything, and the magical stuff should have been left out all together.
Anastasia seems like a movie that hasn't decided what it wants to be. The movie is not that funny, which suggests that it is trying to be an animated drama, but the introduction of magic and so forth makes it seem like children are the focus. The cute animal creature that seems to be in every animated movie is not that exciting, and neither is Anastasia. The music is okay but nothing I'll remember.
20th Century Fox will need to work harder next time if they want to go up against the likes of Aladdin and The Lion King.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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