Sunday, June 19, 2011

Anastasia: Beautiful movie based completely on...myth and legendary fiction

We just viewed the animated movie, "Anastasia" for the first time. Not that I was counting on it as a true history lesson, but I'm always up for bringing history to life for the kids, and an appreciation for the history of Russian Czars runs in my family, it seemed like a win-win. It's one thing to be completely historically inaccurate for the sake of fairytale/story-telling, but how can they claim it is "Based on a True Story"? Wow, that is a stretch!! I guess it does the job of drawing kids into the world of a lost Russian Princess, except she didn't really survive and yes, Rasputin beat the murder odds a tad, but this sure takes that to the extreme! With just a few changes (like not having her end up being the real Anastasia, and not having an undead Rasputin) would have made it more accurate, to say the least. If you're animating a classic, what's wrong with keeping the real history in the mix? I suppose it can lead us into a lesson of what a myth is... I would have enjoyed it so much more if she simply found out she wasn't the real princess but still lived happily ever after with the Dimitri guy at the end like they had it. When they had the grandmother reunite with her and acknowledge her is all bogus. Is it more based on the story of Anna Anderson? The woman who claimed to be Anastasia and died in the USA? That's all well and good, except the family never acknowledged her as the 'lost princess' and DNA after she died proved she wasn't.
I thought it was a Disney movie, but I guess it's Don Bluth. They should have, at the very least, included a booklet with the real story, so kids could learn from the film. Would that be totally out of line, 20th Century Fox? One reviewer on IMDB actually wrote, "suspend any disbelief - Just trust what the producers present you with and don't question it." ??? Yep, I guess if you go through life like that then everything is always 5 stars. Indeed, all the reviews I read said they knew it was historically inaccurate but loved it anyway, which is perfectly fine, but shouldn't the inaccuracies be in the small details, not the majority of the story-line/ending.
All and all, yes it's a cute, wonderful princess fairytale, but being so close to being based in truth (and claiming to be), one would hope they would have nodded more toward historical accuracy and even kept some of the alluded "mystery of Anna" that seems to draw the selling points in to the legend; leaving it open-ended, where they would never know if she had been the princess or not but "everyone is royalty in their own right" sort of ending would have been a better alternative.
On a saving note, I ran across a good website written from Anastasia's perspective with the facts, called My Name is Anastasia. It has a wonderful page about the myths surrounding her, including the strange movies--such as this one--which really have very little to do with the real Anastasia. So, if nothing else, as I said, the movie accomplishes sparking an interest into a historical figure through fairy-tale, but saying it's based on a true story, rather than legend, is entirely off-base.

R.I.P., Anastasia Romanov.

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