Film: Anastasia

Opened: November 21, 1997

Directed by: Don Bluth & Gary Goldman

Starring: Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Andrea Martin, Rick Jones, Liz Callaway, Kirsten Dunst, Lacey Chabert & Jonathan Dokuchitz

Though often confused for a Disney animation, Anastasia is arguably the best animated film not from Disney or Pixar.

Dimitri (John Cusack) and Vlad (Kelsey Grammer) are on the hunt to find Anastasia – the long-lost granddaughter of the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) who’s thought to have survived her family’s execution. Anya (Meg Ryan) seems to fit the criteria, but soon realizes there’s more to her story.

Anya is unlike any of the animated heroines you’ve seen before and has a fair amount of spunk that she uses against Dimitri. It’s refreshing to see such a strong female character in a kid’s film.

With music and lyrics by Lynn Aherns and Stephen Flaherty, the songs are Broadway ready. “In the Dark of the Night” tops any Disney villain song.

Final say: A fun mix of history and mystery. ★★★★★

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