Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Family Fun Edition w/Bartok the Magnificent
Actors: Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, Kelsey Grammer
Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Musicals & Performing Arts, Animation
A spellbinding mix of adventure, comedy, romance and music, this acclaimed animated spectacular tells the thrilling story of the lost Russian princess Anastasia and her quest to find her true identity. When the shadow of r... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Amy B. from BELLEFONTE, PA
Reviewed on 8/26/2009...
We absolutely love this movie!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Beautifully crafted DVD!
L. Rogolsky | New Jersey | 04/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PLEASE BE AWARE: The lovely cover image you see on Amazon is actually from the first DVD release of this movie. If you order this product, you will receive something that looks like this. (Unfortunately.)
Despite the horrible artwork on the cover, this DVD set is by far one of the best 2-disk special editions I have ever seen. The movie is presented in its original widescreen cinemascope glory with sparkling menus, tons of extras, a tour of the castle, and a bonus movie. If it only had a concept art gallery, I would put it all the way up there with the Disney Platinum Editions.
The first disk makes use of a map of Anya's journal to Paris as the main menu integrated with clips from the movie. It also has something the Disney DVDs have been lagging on lately--a commentary. A commentary, no doubt, with Don Bloth and Gary Goldman, the two masterminds behind this film and many other animated masterpieces.
Aside from that, the first disk also contains bonus features on how to draw four of the main characters in the movie. Now, most "how" to draw features start out with a perfect drawing of a character and then show three steps, each with perfectly matching lines and expect you to do exactly the same thing, which is simply ridiculous. This one was different, though. Don Bluth hosted four beautiful art sessions talking very realistically about how real artists do it, from 6B pencils to kneaded erasers to the fact that it's okay to make mistakes. He went through the process step by step and amazingly, his drawings looked very sketchy and none looked exactly like the character he was drawing. I thought this was wonderful because it teaches that not all drawings come out perfect at first and even the best artists don't just sit down, put their pencil to the paper, and have a perfect picture magically appear. The only thing I didn't like about this feature was that you had to click Continue after each step or it would just stay paused.
The other main feature on the disk was a singalong track containing songs from various older 20th Century Fox movies and hosted by a girl claiming to be Anastasia, but sounding nothing like her older or younger voices. The funny thing is, most of the songs on this track had absolutely nothing to do with Anastasia. In fact, I was surprised they expected kids to buy this DVD and know about these old movies such as Young Frankenstein, Shirley Temple, and many others including songs from the other newly rereleased animated Fox "Family Fun Edition" DVD, Fern Gully. Despite having little to do with the film, this 45-minute singalong track felt complete enough to sell on its own without any other attachments so it was a very hearty feature.
The second disk had the must unenthusiastic narrator I have ever heard in my life. Never the less, the disk's menu is a beautiful CGI tour of the Romanov palace. Each shelf contained objects that the real Anastasia might have had along with a description of their use and place in history. Some objects turned out to be games and others were more bonus features.
The meat of the disk was a 45-minute documentary about the making of the film. It was very nice to hear from all the voice artists and other people involved, but the best part came from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman's commentary. Those two men always know exactly what to say! Their honest, straightforward, and down to earth nature really made this DVD a gem to own. They have no intention of playing down to a young audience and are clearly very passionate about what they do. It was always wonderful to hear their insights on the movie and the art of animation in general and they really made this set worthwhile.
Among the other features on the disk were a music video of Aaliyah's rendition of "Journey to the Past," a trivia game with questions that were not too easy, but not too hard about the film, and a virtual paper doll of Anastasia. There was also a multi-language reel of "Journey to the Past" and "Once Upon a December," preceeded by a list of phonetic letters. The "karoake" section of the reel was extremely tedious because it would first show Anya singing a line in one language, followed by two girls who were being used as examples of how phonetic letters are pronounced repeating that line, then the line was played without singing so "you" could sing it in that language, and then Anya would sing it one more time and these four cuts would repeat for every line in the song in every different language. Fortunately you also have the option of just watching the multi-language song reel by itself without the girls or karaoke versions.
Now we come to the icing on the cake. Not only do you get the movie Anastasia in this set, but you also get its spin-off film, Bartok the Magnificent, absolutely free! This 60-minute film is too long to be a short, but too short to be a movie and isn't really worth buying by itself. However, considering that it's free, it's quite a worthwhile bonus feature indeed! With a unique story, original musical numbers, and everyone's favorite pink and white bat, it's sure to entertain for at least one sitting even if you never want to watch it again after that. The movie has nothing to do with Anastasia, but instead involves Bartok trying to rescue the kidnapped prince of Moscow. There are unfortunately no cameos of anyone else in Anastasia, but nevertheless, it's a cute flick.
At $10 on Amazon, this DVD is an absolute steal and anyone in their right mind should grab it the first chance they get. Not only do you get a gorgeous and expertly crafted film, but you also get a SingAlong movie, a second spin-off movie, games, historical references, and beautifully insightful commentary from the ever-devoted, ever-friendly Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. The princess Anastasia has truly returned to her rightful throne. The only reason I did not give this item 5 stars is because of the cover art."
Once Upon a December
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 06/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This warm and romantic film from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman has long been my favorite animated feature. This mostly fictional story of Russia's famous Anastasia and her search for her family is sprinkled with humor and great songs. The animation, from snowy Russia to glamorous Paris, is top-notch and the story is both heartwarming and fun.
A great cast of voices, including Meg Ryan (Anastasia), John Cusack (Dimitri), Kelsey Grammer (Vladimir), Christopher Lloyd (Rasputin), and Angela Lansbury as Anastasia's beloved grandmother add depth to an enchanting film. Anastasia wants to leave Russia for Paris because the necklace she wears has the inscription, "Together in Paris," which she is sure holds the key to her journey to discover who she is and where she belongs.
Dimitri and Vladimir plan to pass her off as the real Anastasia for the reward in exchange for her visa out of Russia. The banter between Anastasia and Dimitri masks a growing attraction, of course, and when Dimitri discovers before she does that she really is Anastasia he knows he must step aside.
Complicating matters is the evil Rasputin, who has placed a curse on her family and sold his soul to destroy them. His little fruit bat, Bratok (Hank Azaria), is a very funny creation and turns out to be not so evil at all.
The story is peppered throughout with great songs, including "Journey to the Past" and the haunting "Once Upon a December." Anastasia is warm and involving, separating it from other animated films. When Anya discovers she really is Anastasia, it is bittersweet, as she now must choose between her past and her future. Love may conquer all, but not if the evil Rasputin has his way.
This is a heartfelt and funny animated feature you'll want to own and watch over and over. This particular edition comes with lots of extras for hours of family fun. Don't miss this one."
The Lost Princess Anastasia.
Jurai's Heir | Denham Springs, LA, USA | 10/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How can you argue with this edition of "Anastasia" you get tons & tons of Special Features, Interactive Games, Menus and a bonus film "Bartok The Magnificent" all for the price of one. Both films seem more colorful & better in sound, then ever before. "Anastasia" is in (Widescreen 2.35:1) and "Bartok The Magnificent" is in (Fullscreen 1.33:1). Overall this edition is way better then the first editon, so if you have the first edition buy this one too, believe me you will not be sorry. As for being a biography on the real Princess Anastasia, this doesn't do, but for a family cartoon it works really good!."