*throws history out the window, throws most of the previous characters and plot out the window, puts on the music* Alright…. it’s time for our next Anastasia! ❤
For those who haven’t been following this is the 4th post in a series of Anastasia stories. This first is a historical account (here), the second is about the stage play (here), the third the 1956 movie (here), and now we’re on the 1997 cartoon! As with the others, I’ll cover three topics: what it is, how it differs from history/previous renditions, and what I enjoyed or disliked about it.
What is it?
This Anastasia is an American animated musical fantasy adventure film directed and produced by, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman through Fox Animation Studios, distributed by 20th Century Fox (the same company to distribute the previous movie). Like previous renditions it focuses on amnesiac orphaned Anya who is trying to find some trace of her family and ends up partnered with con men who wish to take advantage of her.
Here is the trailer:
As this is an animation I won’t cover the cast (they have some great names among the voice actors though so check it out if you’d like) I will mention though that while the previous two renditions (stage and movie) had very much the same cast, the cartoon leaves all but two familiar names: Anastasia and her grandmother the Dowager Empress.
Who is new?
Instead of General Bounine and his two associates we have Dmitri, a kitchen boy from the palace, and Vladimir, a former nobleman turned con artist.
We have the introduction of Rasputin, a historical figure in that he was indeed close friends to the Tsar’s wife and this caused a lot of contentions, in the cartoon though he is seen as a sorcerer who aims to end the Romanov rule. He also has a little minion Bartok (a bat).
And we have Sophie who is a lady in waiting to the Dowager, replacing Baroness Livenbaum from the movie.
How it differs from previous renditions and history?
This cartoon takes a lot of liberties and differs drastically. We already see that in the cast of characters. It also differs in that it adds in a supernatural villain intent on killing Anya – while the stage and movie version never had anyone after Anya, the plot instead revolved around whether or not she wanted this role and where she would be happiest. Now Anya in the cartoon must outrun Rasputin who has awaken to kill her.
It also differs drastically from history. While the movie and stage attempted to stay close to historical accounts (for example: noting the diamonds in her corset for how she may have escaped, and talking of an asylum), the cartoon leaves that all behind. The cartoon starts in 1916 Russia where we see 8-year-old Anastasia, there is a ball and then a siege, and the Romanovs are killed (Anya and her grandmother escape with Dmitri’s help). Ten years later we see Anya leaving an orphanage at eighteen.
Only the real Anastasia died in 1918 at the age of 17, she would not have been 8 years old in 1916. And Anna Anderson the infamous impostor started her fame in 1922, when Anastasia would have been in her early twenties if she had survived.
The movie has them start in Paris where they find Anna and they travel to Berlin and other places. Anna Anderson’s story also starts in Berlin. The cartoon goes the other way around — starting in Russia and making their way to Paris.
And romance — it’s here we finally see more emphasis on romance blossoming between Anastasia and Dmitri, and she leaves her role as princess to go be with him (which is clearly shown, unlike the stage and movie version where you are left to wonder if she goes off to be with anyone).
I am sure there are a lot more differences but these are the biggest ones, and you can already see how different the cartoon is from previous renditions and history!
What I like/dislike about it:
This has been the version I grew up with, so it has a special place in my heart! I’ll start right off by saying that the music is a favorite thing of mine, hands down! When I watched the movie (1956), I found myself missing the music. The movie still ended up being enjoyable and I’ve come to appreciate it and like it on its own but the cartoon in my opinion is much more lively, more emotive and that in part is because of the music.
Here are a couple well-loved songs:
The cartoon is also more adventurous and daring — and scary, but adding an evil sorcerer will do that! There is certainly more at stake in the cartoon.
Romance and musicals are certainly two things I adore so that makes the cartoon a winner for sure, and in my opinion the cartoon is the most emotional.
What I dislike though, is the lack of historical accuracy. I quite enjoy that from the movie and stage play – how they focus on the impostor part heavily, and how Anastasia has to convince more than just her grandmother, and how she is suffering not knowing who she is. But, look forward to my next blog post! The Broadway — which takes a blend of this and a blend of the movie and history and produces something amazing!
Did you grow up watching this Anastasia? What are you thoughts on the cartoon? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next month for Anastasia: The Broadway!