In first grade I gave out Anastasia valentines to my classmates, carefully adding extra heart stickers to Michael M.'s valentine. I haven't thought about the 1997 film since, that is until revisiting this weekend and remembering, oh yeah, it's like a bootleg Disney film. It's not Disney, to be clear, but it has many watered down Disney qualities: a feisty princess, a roguish conman, profound historical inaccuracies, and so on. Yet, somehow it's enjoyable in it's cheapness.
Here's the plot, in case you forgot: Anastasia Romanov is the last surviving member of Imperial Russia's royal family, all of them indirectly killed by generic villain Rasputin, but, in trying to escape she bumps her head and forgets that. Dimitri is a former palace employee/cartoon dreamboat who, along with stock comic relief friend Vlad, is trying to find an Anastasia look-a-like to present to Anastasia's Grandmother in Paris. They do this, they get a reward of 10 million rubles. Amnesiac adult Anastasia (now Anya) fits the bill, and coincidentally is looking for family in Paris. Journeys are taken. Rasputins are awoken. Feels are felt. You know the drill.
In reality, Anastasia was casually dead like the rest of the Romanovs. A technicality.
In any case, enjoy this chronological recap of why Anastasia remains a cheap-but-thoroughly amusing Disney knock-off.
1. Our stunning princess is just as mediocre as any other child.
She brings her terrible drawings to grandma, who has to feign interest.
2. Security at the palace is awful.
Freaking kids all over the place eating apples.
3. Rasputin is every inch a half-assed villain.
He shows up at the ball with little explanation besides "We thought he was a holy man, but he wasn't, and then he wanted us all dead." Plus, Maleficent has so much more panache when it came to party-crashing.
4. JK HE'S A MONSTER.
MOST TRAGIC THING TO HAPPEN IN THE FILM.
5. Anyway, he trades his soul in order to curse the lives of the Romanovs.
Not very resourceful.
6. The curse brought a revolt?
Few people know this, but the French Revolution was also caused by sorcery.
7. Dimitri is rocking the Grandpa cap.
That look is so on-trend right now.
8. "This is crazy! Me, go to Paris?"
That IS crazy, considering the sign says very clearly "St. Petersburg."
Like this is definitively not Paris. You're many countries away from that.
9. She stops by the Haunted Mansion though.
They did not keep the scene where she goes on the Dumbo ride.
10. This close-up reminds us that Dimitri's kind of hot.
Like, not hot-hot, but definitely cartoon hot. This is largely due to his swoopy boy band hair and the fact that he's voiced by John Cusack. John Cusack's Voice Over is my celebrity crush. John Cusack Voice Over is also the name of my '80s movie soundtrack cover band.
We do a great rendition of "Better Off Dead."
11. This albino bat thing.
A POOR MAN'S SUBSTITUTE FOR IAGO.
12. Also Rasputin's main minions are like, slightly oversized bugs
SCAR HAD FLESH-TEARING HYENAS.
13. "Nobody told me I had to prove I was the Grand Duchess!"
I mean, that was actually the whole premise of why you got a ticket to Paris, but I get that you have memory problems.
14. When Anastasia was absolutely a dollar store Beauty and the Beast doll.
Spelled "Berru" on the packaging and having arms that are a distinctly different plastic from the torso.
15. This woman's gigantic rack.
17. The fact that she is totally dressed like Beyoncé.
IT'S NOT BEYONCÉ THOUGH, it's very clearly Josephine Baker.
18. Dimitri gets people in his champagne.
I HATE when that happens.
19. "Dimitri. I've heard of you. You're that con man from Saint Petersburg who was holding auditions to find an Anastasia look-alike."
She nails his identity, but it's dumb luck. If you know even the basics of Russian literature, you know that 65 percent of Russian men are named some variant of Dimitri.
20. "It started out that way, but everything's different now."
Taking lines from every teen rom com between 1984 and 2002.
21. Anastasia's fabulous princess hairstyle is a sock bun.
Ariel has perfect side bangs and deep red locks. Anastasia has what I did every day at my internships after I'd wake up at 5 am and not feeling like trying.
22. Kidnapping a royal is his master plan.
Like if this wasn't a children's movie how quickly would they have had a SWAT team gun him down? Not to say there were SWAT teams in imperial Russia, but there also wasn't talking albino bats. So.
23. "I spilled a bottle. The carpet was soaked and it forever smelled of peppermint. Like you. I used to lie there on that rug and how I missed you when you went away."
That's just kind of a weird thing to say to your grandmother.
23. This. dress.
What are those sparkly flesh toned circular decorations on her dress? Like, is that just a poor coloring job, or did Rasputin pull a Regina George in a bitter act of revenge?
24. This badass sorcerer villain warlock gets punched out by a guy who's 80 pounds.
Worst villain ever.
25. Dimitri then has to fight against a giant Pegacorn.
26. This uncomfortable sexual tension.
It all looks pretty heated considering he murdered her entire family or whatever.
27. Their faces when their kiss gets interrupted by the freaking dog.