I think I should either change the name of the blog to “Hapuriainen’s animation blog” or watch a Disney movie next, now half of the posts are not about Disney at all.

This time it’s Anastasia’s turn. The movie tells an alternative version of history about how Anastasia, daughter of tsar Nicholas II, didn’t die when the tsar family was executed. Instead, she loses her memory and grows in an orphanage as ‘Anya’. When she leaves the orphanage ten years later she decides to head to Paris, since she believes she’ll find her family and past there. She teams up with Dimitri and Vladimir, con-men who don’t know who she really is, but who plan to use her likeness to Anastasia in paintings (duh) to get the prize money for bringing the real Anastasia to her grandmother in Paris. Meanwhile, an evil sorcerer Rasputin plots to kill Anastasia to end her family life for good.

In general the plot works pretty well, but I didn’t like the amnesia plot point. Sure, it’s absolutely necessary for anything else in the movie to work at all, but how it’s written makes it look very contrived and the exposition dialogue telling it to the audience feels forced.

My favourite character was probably Anastasia’s grandmother Marie, even if she didn’t get much screen time. She was such a charismatic old lady who knew what she wanted. Now that I think of it, this movie has a lot of Strong Female Characters in it (okay, 2-3 isn’t “a lot”), and I’m sure it passed the Bechdel test by a large margin.


The titular character didn’t leave me much impression, which isn’t exactly bad since at least I didn’t hate her. The biggest reason for not hating her was probably that she was active enough to deserve to be the main character. I often see “you just want everyone to be dragon-slaying warriors!” as a strawman argument when defending passive (female) characters, but you really don’t need to be trained soldier to be relevant in a film and most importantly the film’s climax. Anastasia is an average 18-year-old woman and doesn’t have any noticeable physical talents so it would be highly unrealistic for her to win Rasputin and his magic creatures in a fist fight, but instead of having her sit on the sidelines during the action scene in the finale because she’s a weak woman the movie is written so that she can defeat Rasputin herself in a believable way.

I hate Pooka the dog. It has no purpose outside being the stupid cutesy sidekick that’s supposed to sell toys.

I didn’t really get Rasputin. I remembered that he was a lot darker villain. I mean, sure, he’s a zombie, but so much of his screen time was being goofy and having his body parts fall apart that it was harder to take him seriously. Not that a funny villain is a bad thing per se, I think Gaston and Hades are great villains, for example.

Also, I’m not so sure if Rasputin was that needed at all. To me there would have been enough conflict with Dimitri’s questionable methods and the whole magic angle felt unnecessary. The characters didn’t even know there was an evil zombie wizard in the story until the last 10 minutes or so, so I’d probably have liked it better if Rasputin was removed completely and the obstacles they face during their travel were related to something like Dimitri’s forged travel papers instead. You can have an interesting story without a irredeemably evil villain.

“In the Dark of the Night” is a fine song, but I prefer listening to it without the visuals. The goofy dancing bugs kind of ruin the mood. “Once Upon a December” is probably my favourite overall, the song is pretty and the visuals are great.

Anastasia’s massive amount of different outfits deserves a mention. I’d make a dress up of her if I wasn’t so busy with other stuff right now.


But yeah, overall an okay and enjoyable movie that didn’t do much particularly wrong, but still not near enough awesome to make it anywhere close to my “favourite movies” list.


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One Response to “Anastasia”

  1. Anastasia – wait, what? | Hapuriainen's Animation Blog Says:

    […] what? I’ve seen the movie already, and there was no evil adoptive family, she was in an orphanage! And the dude was called Dimitri! […]

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