The Secret of Anastasia (UAV Entertainment, 1997)

“A teenage girl living in the ruins of the Romanov’s palace finds herself running from the Secret Police with her four magic instruments, who are all she has left of her family, whom she can’t remember. In a baggage car on a freight train, the young girl, Anastasia, finds the former General of the Tzar’s army, Vladimir Ichonovitch, stowing away in a suitcase. Ichonovitch assumes from the beginning that Anastasia is out to prove that she’s the heir to the Romanov throne, and that she wants the fortune. Anastasia, of course, knows nothing of this, but gets sucked into the con with Ichonovitch, who teaches her family history and dresses her up”

– April, IMDB.

The Secret of Anastasia is one of three “The Secret of…” movies released by UAV Entertainment. UAV (United American Video), was a company founded in 1984 that started out selling pre-recorded music and PC software before transitioning into producing animated direct-to-VHS films. Like Golden Films, UAV Entertainment produced its movies to compete with the theatrical release of larger studio productions. The Secret of Anastasia was released the same year as Don Bluth’s Anastasia, which also tells the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. In 2006, UAV Entertainment filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, laying off 400 employees over the course of several weeks.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
The Secret of Anastasia is the second Bad Princess Movie I ever stumbled upon (In fact, I’m pretty sure I watched it immediately after Golden Film’s Beauty and the Beast). The Secret of Anastasia is another enjoyably bad film for a lot of the same reasons that make Golden Film’s Beauty and the Beast a pleasure to watch (bad animation, bad story, etc). To give it some credit though, it’s actually a bit better paced than Golden Film’s Beauty and the Beast despite having roughly the same run-time (approximately 45 minutes). Scenes actually progress at a normal speed, so there’s less of a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ feeling to this one.

The film is a musical, which always seems to endear a Bad Princess movie to me. I’m not very musically inclined, so I can’t throw too much shade on the music in The Secret of Anastasia… but that said, it’s hard not to laugh at the so-so singing and often terrible lyrics. Have a listen to this song and see what I mean:

The Secret of Anastasia has a ‘twist’ ending, that everyone should see coming if you’re paying attention. In my first viewing I was not, so the ending came out of nowhere to me. I was actually a bit disappointed to re-watch the film and find out it was pretty obvious from the start! You win this round filmmakers!

I’ve gotten quite a few takes on the Anastasia story at this point (Not all of them are up on the blog as of yet). I really want to sit down and do a venn diagram comparing all of them, as they overlap with each other in different ways.

I’d definitely recommend The Secret of Anastasia for a Bad Princess Movie night. For bonus points, pair it up with something like Don Bluth’s Anastasia and see how it compares!

References

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