The now-disproved legend of Anastasia, supposedly the only member of the Russian royal family to survive the massacre by the Bolsheviks at the beginning of the 20th century, is very loosely used in this animated adventure for girls from An American Tail director Don Bluth (if you want your tweenie to see a more serious – but not much more historical – version, search for the 1956 film Anastasia, starring Ingrid Bergman). In this tale, young amnesiac Anastasia (voiced by Kirsten Dunst as a girl, and by Ryan as an adult) is found by two conmen, who decide to take her to meet her possible grandmother in Paris, who has promised a reward if her granddaughter is ever found.
There are a few sweet songs here, and nice vocal work from Ryan, Cusack and Grammer, plus fun from Hank Azaria as Bartok the bat. But what were the writers thinking when they made the bad guy the ghost of Rasputin (voiced by Christopher Lloyd)? A straight-to-video/DVD sequel, Bartok the Magnificent, was released in 1999, with Azaria’s character taking centre stage.
Is Anastasia suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Rasputin will probably scare most under-7s.