Let's Watch: Dingo Picture's Anastasia:

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1 Ronka8723rd Apr 2010 08:55:50 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
Part 0: Exposition and Useless Background Information

I’ve got some time on my hands now that classes are over, so over the next few days I’m going to do a liveblog. I’ve never done one before, so please, be gentle.

The Subject: Anastasia. No, no, not the Don Bluth film— that one’s actually pretty good. I’m watching the one by (bum bum BUM) Dingo Pictures.

I must be crazy.

An Introduction to Dingo Pictures:

If you know anything about bad animation, you’ve probably heard of Dingo Pictures. They’re an “animation” studio based in Germany whose output might seem familiar— they make movies like “The Lion and the King,” “Dalmatians,” “Prince for Egypt,” and “Aladin.” They are masters of the mockbuster, but have not quite mastered anything else— the quality of their animation, voice work, and stories is… questionable.

It’s too generous to say that movies by Dingo Pictures are bad. They are astonishingly bad. They are outrageously bad. They are So Bad, It's Good gone so far they become So Bad, It's Horrible. They are pure and utter shit. Watching pictures of actual dingoes is more entertaining (not that that’s hard— they're so cute!).

On their site they have a legal notice, which I have reproduced for your pleasure:

Legal Notice: The copyright for any material used on this site is reserved. Any duplication or use of objects such as images, sounds or texts in other electronic or printed publications is not permitted without our agreement.

A copyright notice from a company famous for mockbusters is rich enough, but that fact that it’s written in Engrish just makes it all the better. I know what you’re thinking: If the company site is this bad, how much worse can the films be?

Let’s watch… and find out.

Intro to Anastasia:

In case you’ve never seen the Don Bluth movie, which this one is based on is in no way related to at all, here’s a summary: The Romanov family is killed during the Russian revolution, which was orchestrated by the evil Rasputin. Anastasia flees the palace with her grandmother, but they get separated; Anastasia only has her Orphan's Plot Trinket of a necklace to remember her by. Years later, a young woman named Anya goes to Moscow, where two con men convince her she is the lost princess Anastasia. They offer to take her to Paris to meet her grandmother. Unbeknownst to her but knownst to us, the con men are CON MEN and are lying about it— charming Dmitri and jolly Vladimir just want the cash that comes from retrieving Anastasia. However, it rapidly becomes clear that she really is the lost princess. Also, she and Dmitri fall in love. Meanwhile, Rasputin plots to kill her so he can finally have his revenge on her family or whatever. Also, he’s dead so his gooey bits are falling everywhere.

I don’t know how much of this movie is based on the Bluth film and how closely it follows the story, but I figured there should be some context. Anyway, onto the liveblog proper!

edited 27th Apr '10 11:56:46 AM by Ronka87

Thanks for the all fish!
2 Ronka8723rd Apr 2010 08:56:11 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
Part 1: The Beginning-ing

(You can watch it on You Tube here)

This cartoon comes as part of a package with what I can only assume is an equally horrible game. The screen is pretty basic and has no original touches or charm. There are some tacky screen caps in the checkerboard-style background, which make the screen look like a 90s-era anime shrine page.

The film starts with a still shot of the game/film’s cover art. A sort of attempt at classical music plays, while we get some establishing shots that look like they were drawn by a ten year old. They depict a snow-filled land, with no hint at all that the story takes place in Russia. The establishing shot establishes only that it’s cold. Oookay.

The first… er… “animated” shot is of a carriage rolling up to a mansion. It has fewer moving parts than a South Park cartoon. Then we get a close-up of the carriage (in profile, because that’s way easier to draw!), then another close-up of the driver, who has the first “spoken” line of the movie:


… WHAT THE SHIT? Honest to God, the very first line out of anyone’s mouth is both horrible and hilarious. Just the way he rolls his R’s… it must be heard to be comprehended.

We don’t get much time to laugh— banal dialogue is hurled at us in rapid succession. The Grand Duchess (who four lines in, is already a bitch) is calling for her servant . She has this high-pitched, faux-matronly voice that is simply horrible. Her servant arrives, sounding near identical to the Grand Duchess. But I‘m sure they‘re not the same voice actress or anything. While they talk there are tons of cuts: Cuts between close-ups of faces, mid-shots, shots of other characters— the camera fucking can’t stay still. Mr. Editor, you do know you can stay on one shot for, like, more than .5 seconds, right? Right???

The servant tells his mistress he checked her bags over. “WELL better to be safe than sorry orsomydeceasedhusbandsaidnesse pah?” What the hell, lady? Take a fucking breath. Also, is that French? That is the worst French I have ever heard, and I live in Canada. I’ve heard Acadians.

We are introduced to the king, who whispers that he just wishes his bitch of a mother would leave already. “The best part of the Russian winter is that my mother escapes to Paris.” I heartily agree, sir!

Anastasia agree too, because she laughs, prompting her grandmother too— wait, wait, wait, hold up. Anastasia looks nothing like the others. They’re goofy and cartoonish and weird. She’s smooth and angular and weird. She looks like Hansi: The Girl who Loved the Swastika. Epic character design fail— get used to it, guys.

“Yes, granny,” says Anastasia in a voice waaaay too deep for a ten year old. Is she thirty? She looks ten. Actually, she could be sixteen for all I know. I shouldn’t trust how anyone looks in this films, the art is terrible. She’s also cross-eyed.

The old hag wants to know why her son, the tsar, isn’t going with her.

“Now, you know the people are planning a Revolution,” he whispers awkwardly, “to drive ME away.” The people are planning a revolution? WHY DO YOU SOUND SO FUCKING CALM? This guy whispers everything in the same bored voice. It’s like he’s reading the label off a soup can— “Ooo, they’ve lowered the sodium, added more mushrooms, my people are planning a revolution, and it’s made with real chicken. Hmm, I‘ll pass.”

And then comes Rasputin. Oh, Rasputin Rasputin Rapustin. He has like three lines and already I love him. Design-wise, he’s bald, yellow-skinned, and has a bushy black beard. He and Anastasia must be related because he‘s perpetually cross-eyed, too. He also has thick, beautiful eyelashes; they’re almost as thick as his accent. Not quite, though.

“Mumble mumble (I actually didn’t understand what he was saying the first time, but it’s: “Imagine that”). The pipple think they kan rrule themselves? Ha! The pipple are stupid.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is so great. That is the best line reading ever. And it gets better: The Grand Duchess complains about Rasputin being the tsar’s advisor, saying, “He has the face of a traitor!”

Cue close-up of Rasputin cackling.

If this were a parody, that would be hilarious. In fact, I think it is a parody— I think it must be the world’s first unintentional parody. Whatever it is, it’s funny as hell.

Grandma bitchy-bitch gives a necklace to Anastasia (by the way, the movie pronounces it Anna -sTAH-see-ah), saying: “Wear this pendent around my neck so you won’t forget me.”

“I’m sure I won’t forget you even without the pendent,” says Anna -sTAH-see-ah. I’m not sure if she’s being sincere or snide— her voice is neither.

Her father’s response is great: “I’m sure none of us will.” *snerk* Okay, genuine laugh #3 out of me. But why is he still whispering?

The grandmother finally leaves in a carriage that is hilariously disproportional to her body. She rattles off clichés as she leaves, before stopping mid-word. I think they were trying to do that “Get some final words in before leaving” thing, and have her voice fade away, but in practice it doesn’t. She just says, “My son, do not trust Rasputin too much and.” FINISH YOUR CLAUSE, WOMAN.

Cheesy midi music, aaaaand fade to black. First scene over. Thank God. That felt like forever. How long was that? (checks watch) THREE MINUTES????? Cripes, the movie’s thirty! Oooooh boy, this is gunna be painful.

I’m going to take a break. I know, after just three minutes? But I’ll be back eventually… maybe…

To be continued…
Thanks for the all fish!
10 Years a Troper
Oh...oh my.

(beckons for someone to Pass the Popcorn)
Current avatar: the first character I rolled in The Swords Of Ditto. It's basically me in cartoon form, minus the glasses.
Taller than Zim
  • passes the popcorn*
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
It's me.
That was painful. That was truly painful.

EDIT: The original source I mean. Your commentary might be the only way I get through...

edited 24th Apr '10 5:04:43 AM by NiftyLostKite

...Let us in...
6 Ronka8724th Apr 2010 12:32:29 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
And we‘re back a dinosaur‘s story! Thanks for the comments, guys. :)

So, I bet you were all waiting with breath baited for part two of my liveblog on the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Anastasia, by Dingo Pictures. I know I can’t wait to watch more of this animated masterpiece! Well, let’s get a going!

Part 2: A Conspiracy of Idiots

Scene two has another establishing shot of the house. Yes, we get it, they live in that pink monstrosity. It‘s really a stupid-looking mansion, and it‘s drawn in… you know what, I didn‘t comment on the art much last time. My mistake, I‘ll remedy it now.

The backgrounds look like they were drawn with Magic Markers. In fact, you know what, they probably were— the movie looks like fucking Sonichu. It’s like it was drawn by a ten-year-old with OCD who wants to get the angles just right, but still doesn’t have the skill to make anything look realistic. It’s just so bad.

The character designs are no better. The noses and nostrils are huge, characters everywhere are cross-eyed and when they're not, they aren't looking at who they're talking to. No one and nothing is in proportion: Tiny necks support GIGANTIC heads, spindly little twig arms are attached to oddly-shaped bodies, and almost no one has feet or hands. The faces— oh, the faces. They look hideous and cartoonish in the worst possible way, and because there are only two-frames of animation, their faces stays like that forever. Frozen in ugliness. The art makes my eye glaze over most times— which is a good thing. The alternative is looking at this thing for one second more.

Anyway, back to the movie. The camera zooms in on a gate, which lies under the first visual clue this movie is set in Russia— a golden onion-dome. It looks less like a Moscow church and more like the towers of Agrabah from Aladdin, but it’ll do. Inside the palace, the servants— who haven’t changed position since the last scene!— are complaining about Rasputin.

“This Rasputin is totally ineffective! He has promised a thousand times the tsar would go with his mother to Paris!” the coachman says in a nasally drawl. A chef who looks waaaaaay to happy to be part of the conspiracy flips pancakes.

The servants bitch some more. The grandmother’s valet (who didn’t go with her to Paris… okay…) does a terrible impression of the queen mother. Considering they share a voice actress and already sound alike, it sounds totally retarded. The coachman complains about the tsar’s ineffective ruling and asks the chef to chime in about his wasteful spending. The chef lists off all the food he’s had to throw out, and it couldn’t be more obvious the actor keeps losing his place while he reads. “Ten loaves of— bread, eight kilos of bacon. (pause) As well!”

The servants reveal THEY are the masterminds behind the revolution, and that Rasputin was supposed to drive the tsar out of the country so they could take it over more easily. Okay… I… don’t understand how that revolution is supposed to work, but okay. Ra-Ra-Rasputin himself marches in— well, march might be too strong a word. Hobbles? He only has two moving joints. It kind of looks like a paralyzed man doing a jig. Anyway, he arrives in the kitchen, and the coachman complains some more.

I really admire how this guy’s voice doesn’t change at all while he speaks. Normal people’s voices go up or down slightly when they talk— it comes naturally. But he manages to rattle off these impressive acts of evil in the same dull nasally voice. It must take actual effort to be that bad!

Rasputin says something in his accent that I think is him giving an excuse for why the tsar is still there, but honestly I don’t understand. When your Just a Stupid Accent is so thick people can‘t understand you, you need to tone it down!

The servants are tired of Rasputin’s accent— I mean, his lame excuses, but Razzy tells them to have faith. “Kahn’t you wait a little bit?” his headshot tells us. Only his chin and lips move— maybe I was right about the jig and he has some sort of paralysis. It would fit in with his chronically crossed-eyes. Russian health care must suck. “I’ll keep my pRRRomise. TONIGHT, you will be RID of the tsar ovyessssss!”

I don’t know why he said that last yes like that, but he did. Also, during this speech, his left eye twitches a few times— the upper eyelid moves when nothing else does. I don’t think upper eyelids do that. It’s really creepy. Maybe they were trying to give him a nervous twitch, but… it just looks wrong. Then again, what in this movie looks right?

Fade to black, amid an eeeeeeeeevil midi bongo drum beat.

Fade back into Rasputin, in profile (of course), sneaking somewhere. I love his sneaky pose, he’s all on his tip-toes and everything. Again, he doesn’t really look like he’s walking— it’s like a weird dance. He’s just hopping from one foot to another. He’s also carrying a black circle on a string. No doubt it is some terrifying weapon he will use to kill the tsar— I hear tsars are allergic to black circles on strings.

Rasputin sneaks right into a new background, although his posture doesn’t change. He stops, his head rotates to look eeeeeeeeeeevilly over his shoulder, and continues. Then we get that headshot of him again, eyes upturned, cackling. My favourite shot of the movie.

He walks into another background, and finally enacts his devious plan: He rolls a bomb into the tsar’s room. That black circle on a string was apparently a bomb. Seriously, a fucking Cartoon Bomb. I thought this movie was just ripping off Bluth, but apparently it’s also inspired by the Looney Tunes! We’re then treated to an explosion that consists of a few jagged orange lines and a blank sheet of paper in quick secession. Worst explosion ever.

It seems to have worked, though, because Rasputin, standing only a few feet away, is cackling again. Shadows— the poetic term would be, “shadows dance over his face,” but the shadows don’t so much dance as they just flash on an off his face while the background changes colour. We know the explosion must have been fatal, because you can hear glass shattering. Gasp! Rasputin, you fiend!

Fade to black and into— oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. The house is on fire. How slow is a fade-to-black for something as dangerous and fast-moving as a fire? Bomb explodes-house catches fire is cause-and-effect— they could have just used a cut for that. It would have made the scene move faster and given it a sense of urgency instead of slowing it right the fuck down. What’s wrong, Mr. Editor— did you use up all your rapid-fire cuts in the first scene? Gah!

Like everything animated in this movie, the palace fire only has two frames, so the fire doesn’t so much terrify as cause mild eye soreness. Instead of “dramatic forest fire from Bambi,” think, “animated GIF from a 90s homepage.” There are sound clips of fire burning, but it’s closer to “campfire” than “palace fire.” There are no sounds of collapsing floors, no (more) shattering glass, no cries for help— just lightly crackling fire. And everything still looks like it was drawn in Magic Marker.

We cut to a few villagers or something rummaging around the palace rubble. The unimpressive fire sound clip is still on, and they haven’t shown the fire going out, so I’m just assuming they’re poking around in the middle of an inferno. They don’t seem very perturbed. They aren’t even fighting the fire— what kind of Samaritans are they?

“Nobody has survived,” says random woman with a ridiculous accent #1. “They must all be dead.”

“I can’t help thinking I think it looks like arsony,” says a crutch-carrying hobo. Arsony? What the hell is that? Is that anything like the crime call ARSON?

Anastasia weeps as her house burns down. She must be one of the people who didn’t survive the fire that they were talking about. Her dress is torn, which is a detail I’m amazed the animators put in considering how cheap this is. My surprise is dulled somewhat by the fact that they animated her crying by simply moving her neckline up and down. Fail, animators— fail.

The villagers finally notice Anastasia. Seeing as she’s covered in soot, they come to the logical conclusion that she was a servant in the palace. Um, how about maybe she was JUST CAUGHT IN A FUCKING FIRE? But how can I expect that much logic from a group of people who are just hanging around outside a still-burning building.

There’s some lip synching failure from the villagers and then Rasputin, skulking in the shadows, notices Anastasia is still alive. “Mumble mubmle random Russian possibly Anastasia iz still alive! I will change that immediately!” says Rasputin’s accent.

However, one of the villagers, a burly guy with a moustache and a very womanly voice, asks who she is. Anatasia says she… wait for it… can’t remember! Why not? Did she get hit in the head? Did she inhale too much smoke? Is she a methhead? Never explained! She just has amnesia and we’d better fucking like it. Rasputin sure does— he sounds so damn excited about her amnesia. I guess even he doesn’t like killing little girls? Or maybe it was too much effort after a long night sneaking on his tip-toes and rolling bombs around.

And another close-up headshot of Rasputin cackling. I swear, every time that shot shows up I love it more.

“We can’t leave her here standing here alone!” says Department of Redundancy Department man, still voiced by a woman. “You come home… to me. And when you have slept you will know. Who you are. Where you belong. You agree?”

The line readings are so funky. It’s like the actors don’t know how to read. Scratch that, they don't know how to talk. You don’t leave clauses hanging, people! “Who you are” does not make sense! Say it aloud, it doesn't make sense. ATTACH IT TO A SENTENCE, NUMBNUTS! Also, I'm not the only one getting a creeping feeling off this guy, right? "Come home... to me." Uh......

So the old-guy-with-a-woman’s-voice-and-terrible-syntax-that-makes-his-dialogue-sound-creepy invites Anastasia to his home. They ride the carriage from scene 1, which has suddenly changed colour, off to who knows where. Goodbye, Anastasia! Try not to get molested!

Rasputin goes to the kitchens again, which have somehow been rebuilt already. When did they rebuild it? When did they put out the fire? Are they seriously still standing around in a burning building? Never explained!

“Hey ssstop there what do you say NOW I have kept my promise the tasaaaaaaaaar is DEEEEEEAAAAAAD!” says Rasputin, without taking breaths. Because breathing normally and talking like a human being is for losers.

The servants are actually upset with Rasputin because his stunt nearly killed them all. I commend them for being angry at Rasputin for that. It’s the sanest thing anyone has said in the movie— if only they didn’t say it in those voices!

Rasputin is upset that the servants aren’t going to help him get elected president of Russia. Uh? Is that how it works? The tsar dies and Russia suddenly becomes a democracy? Lenin must have pulled some strings to change that around after his revolution. Anyway, the servants says they couldn’t help Rasputin win anyway, because the people can elect whoever they want. Clearly, they have no idea how democracy actually works.

I also have another favourite line: “Well, I certainly won’t vote for you you nearly killed us!” Snort! Way to tell that Rasputin off for nearly killing you all, Valet McWiggy. The line is followed by the coachman saying, “Why are you still talking to him?” I love how in this movie, even when he murders people, Rasputin is still treated like that weird kid in the schoolyard. “Just ignore him, maybe he’ll go away.”

Rasputin vows his revenge. “You will pay for that!” I never want to be reminded of elementary school again! “The day is yet to come…. YESSSSSS!” I don’t understand this threat, and he says it in the same tone he always does, so I’m not sure if it’s really a threat or if he’s just spouting word salad at this point.

Fade to black. I kind of expected the three servants to kill Rasputin, to keep it some historical accuracy, but I guess that’s hoping for too much. At the very least, I thought they’d rip off the Bluth film more closely, but I guess zombies making deals with the devil is too dark for a Dingo Pictures picture. Because regicide by bombing and countless servants burning to death isn’t dark.

Probably as good a place to stop as any. Our progress? We’re not quite eight minutes in, and already we’ve had a bitch leave for Paris, introduced a conspiracy against the government, blown up the palace, killed the tsar, had Anastasia lose her memories (seriously, what the fuck?), and had the conspiracy turn against Rasputin. I think I made it sound better than it really is. It’s just so bad. Everything is terrible.

Why did I decide to do this? Why are you all watching along with me? The answers to these questions and more will remain unanswered next time.

To be continued…

edited 24th Apr '10 6:34:48 PM by Ronka87

Thanks for the all fish!
Responsible adult
Speaking of dinosaurs, I insist on pain of death heartly suggest you look at Dinosaur Adventure after this. That one's a "classic."

When it comes to Dingo Pictures, you can measure the QUALITY by its "Start to Dramatic MIDI Bongos" time.

edited 24th Apr '10 12:47:47 PM by FreezairForALimitedTime

"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
It's me.
I like how they could have been lazy and made Raz's entire "Oh no she lives" thing a monologue with a still frame but they go the extra effort into "animating" his mouth thus making no sense whatsoever.

Also what was the point of that dog? I'll call him Joey. I hope Joey appears more often. He's the best actor yet.
...Let us in...
10 Years a Troper
"Raz"? "Joey"?

What's that, Joey? I can't hear you...you're talking too SLOW!

edited 24th Apr '10 5:01:05 PM by WillyFourEyes

Current avatar: the first character I rolled in The Swords Of Ditto. It's basically me in cartoon form, minus the glasses.
10 Ronka8724th Apr 2010 06:27:43 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
Freezair, I actually have watched Dinosaur Adventures, but it was a few years ago. I went into this anticipating it would as bad as that, and was actually surprised by how— I can't say good— by how "better than Dinosaur Adventures" it was. Because while this movie is terrible, there's something about it that makes watching it bearable— I think it's how totally evil Rasputin is. When he's on screen, I'm genuinely amused. There is nothing good in Dinosaur Adventures— the hero blows, the flying rhyming Petri rip-off is a nightmare to listen to, the father is an ass, the story is just so stupid, and that music. That fucking music. I hear it in my nightmares. I really, really, really hate that movie.

So yeah, I'll probably do it next.

^^ Yeah, I forgot to mention the dog. He comes right out of nowhere and is never seen or mentioned again. Maybe they just had some spare happy dog footage lying around the offices from "Animal Soccer Game" or something.

edited 24th Apr '10 6:37:52 PM by Ronka87

Thanks for the all fish!
The Ant King
I can understand why Rasputin didn't kill Anastasia. He needs all the time he can to keep up his reputation as Russia's greatest love machine.
Kill all math nerds
12 Ronka8725th Apr 2010 09:36:09 AM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
^ Ew. He is like 87 and Anastasia is like eleven. But she sounds thirty, so maybe it balances out.

Alright, gents and ladies, here we go again!

Part 3: Witches and Wolves and Bears, Oh My!

(Watch along with me on YouTube here and here)

Another establishing shot, showing us yet again that this movie takes place in a frozen hinterland. We get it guys, move on. The burly woman-voice guy with an orange coat walks on, his little dog trotting along beside him. I forgot to mention there was a dog that showed up at the fire for like one shot, apropos of nothing, and then disappeared for the entire scene. Well, I guess he belongs to the orange-coated burly man. We cut to Anastasia wearing what is either a poncho or a Hudson Bay blanket. The dog sniffs at Anastasia’s foot, prompting the burly she-man to say:

“Hmm she likes you. Normally she barks when foreigners come to visit us.”

Foreigner? She’s not a foreigner! She is your fucking princess! Why is she a foreigner? I kinda suspect the writers just flipped through a thesaurus to find a synonym for “visitor,” because they already used “visit” in the sentence, and they just landed on that one and said, “Fuckit. That sounds about right.” I hate whoever wrote the script for this movie.

Also, apparently the dog is a she. Thus, we have the movie’s second bitch. *rimshot*

Anastasia asks the dog’s name, and the man replies, sounding rather peevish: “Sasha.”

“Sasha,” repeats Anastasia, sounding like she’s about to cry. I know the feeling, girl— this movie makes me want to cry, too. The dog blinks, seemingly asking, “What the fuck? Why is she about to cry?” I’m wondering the same thing. Also, I always thought Sasha was a male nickname for the male name Alexander, but what do I know.

It turns out the reason she’s about to let fly the tears is that everyone has a name but her. Aw, muffin. She slept on it, and she still doesn’t remember who she is. Listen, girl, I still don’t know why you lost your memory in the first place, and you don’t see me crying about it. But that’s just because there’s too much else to cry about in this movie.

We do kinda sorta get a Hand Wave explanation of her amnesia, but it‘s an exercise in Viewers Are Morons. Orange-coat says, “You have probably lost your memory. From the exb-plosion last night. Things like that happen.” Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? When things explode, people lose their memories! They don‘t even need to be hurt or hit their head or having lasting brain damage or anything! That‘s because things like that just happen. It makes sense because it’s real.

“But I want it back,” whines amnesiac Anastasia. She is referring to her memories. If I lost my memories of this movie, I wouldn’t complain. “Will I get it back? When?”

We get a non-committal “maybe you’ll get your memory back, maybe not” from she-man of the orange coat, then Sasha barks. Apparently the she-man can speaks dog, because he understands the barking means Sasha wants Anastasia to live with them. She-man apparently wants her to live with him, too.

That’s… kinda creepy. It should be sweet, but in practice it’s creepy. This guy is just buckets of creepy.

To her credit, Anastasia sounds reluctant to stay with the stranger and his miraculous talking dog, but it turns out she’s just worried about her memories again. She agrees to stay, “but only until I know who I am.” Maybe you should ask who he is, first. Do you even know his name? Why would you spend the rest of your life with a man you don’t even know?!

With one life-changing decision out of the way, the pair talk about another matter. “But we need a name for you nevertheless,” says he-she, again with awkward pauses and weird sentence structure. Is it really that hard to write a simple, understandable English sentence?

Whatever. We’re now in the great “find a new name for the girl” scene. What name will they pick? A Meaningful Name? A Line-of-Sight Name? Some “Just A Stupid Name,” to go with her adoptive father’s ridiculous Just a Stupid Accent?

Anastasia picks “Asha.” I have no idea if that means anything, or if it’s a real name at all, but I notice it’s just one letter away from Sasha, so I’m betting it’s a Line-of-Sight Name. Now, whether it was line of sight for Anastasia or the writers, I’m not so sure. Either way is pretty dumb.  *

So memory-less Anastasia has made two life altering decisions, and it’s not even breakfast! The burly man announces it time to eat, and we inexplicably get shots of the dog running one way, then the shot abruptly flips and she starts running the other way. Again, there are only two frames, so she looks like she’s doing jumping jacks. Why is this scene here? Never explained! Nothing in this movie is ever explained.

They mercifully fade to black. What an unnecessarily drawn-out scene.

Next comes a plain black title card with white text. “6 Jahre später” says the title card. Since the producers were too cheap to replace the title card, a helpful narrator translates the German to “Six years later.” Way to Time Skip, guys.

Rasputin is walking in the forest; a rat is perched on his shoulder. Just so you know, as if you couldn’t guess, they drew him walking in profile again. This is actually just the same walk cycle they used when he walked into the kitchen in the second scene, so he’s doing his same little paralyzed jig thing.

The midi music is ominous this time, so we know something dangerous is going to happen. Suddenly, black wolves appear. Then a dorky-looking black bear shows up.

“We haven’t been elected,” I think Rasputin says. “This mob(?) has not ELECTED me agaaaaaaaiiiiiiiin!”

So, I guess maybe the wolves and bear aren’t going to attack him? They’re just there for colour? Why is the music ominous? Are they being clever and subverting our expectations, or just failing at creating the right mood? That’s not really a question—we all know Dingo Pictures couldn’t establish mood if they were threatened at gunpoint.

We get a close-up of an owl. What is it with these unnecessary animal shots? If they’re not going to be important, why bother animating them in? Dingo Pictures, your choices for what to cut and what to keep never fail to baffle.

A high-pitched voice says, “Democracy is it worth (possibly “isn’t worth;” you need to enunciate, dear VA!) anything. Let’s have, a revo-lewss-shion!” I put the comma in there to simulate the awkward reading, and the closest approximation I could to the weird pronunciation of “revolution.”

Okay, it’s as good a time as any to say that the politics in this movie are getting to me. I’m not a real political gal, and I don’t know much Russian history, but I know the tsar didn’t get overthrown by a democracy. And democracies do not spring up overnight. Also, you don’t just “have” a revolution. Also, if there’s been democracy for six years and Rasputin hasn’t been elected, who’s president? How is Russia working now? What happened to Communism? Does it not exist in Dingo Pictures Russia? And why is Rasputin still alive? Do the filmmakers even realize the Russian Revolution was a real thing? What what what what WHAT IS GOING ON?

But the stupid statement is only part of the mind screw of this scene. It turns out the high-pitched voice that wants down with democracy belongs to… a rat. Why… why can the rat talk? How come the rat can speak like a human, but the dog can’t? Where did that rat come from? How does the rat understand politics? Why is it hanging out with Rasputin? Seriously, this makes no sense.

The movie doesn’t allow us time to think things over. Rasputin shoots down the revolution idea himself, saying, “Eeeuuuuhhhhhh don’t talk such RUBBISH!”

Woo! First “rubbish” of the movie!

Anyway. “Don’t talk such RUBBISH, revolution, we had one just! a couple of yearrrrRRRRzz ago.”

I love how calmly he’s talking about political upheaval. “We had one just a couple of years ago!” Like they’re doing roadwork or something. Also, Rasputin clearly doesn’t know that Russia just can’t have enough revolutions. Russia dies for revolutions.

“K,” says the rat, “then you start a NEW revo-lewss-shion.”

Not waiting a second between lines, Rasputins says, “Some pipple say RATS are intelligent animals WHAT NONSENSE.” As he says this, we get a close-up of a wolf licking its lips. That rat better get fed to that wolf, otherwise we just witnessed another useless animated shot. And I have to listen to the rat talk again.

“No,” Rasputin continues, “the old babushka must help me. BABOOOOOSHKAAAAAAA!”

Another excellent line from Rasputin. The man’s comedy gold.

Now, here things get even more WTF-y. Seriously, I thought they couldn’t, but Dingo Pictures like to go Beyond the Impossible. Talking rats are one thing, but this is another. See, just now, I thought Rasputin was just shouting “babushka” for no reason. It was funny that way. But in fact, he is calling on some sort of Russian witch.

That’s right, guys— a witch. In a movie about the Russian Revolution.

The writers do realize this is based on historic events, right? I mean, the Bluth film has a supernatural element, and it’s hardly historically accurate, but at least they killed Rasputin and made passing mention to Communism. At least Rasputin was introduced as a supernatural villain, and stayed the villain throughout the movie— Bluth didn‘t throw in any more villains. At least Bluth didn’t introduce a fucking witch into the mix.

Babushka, who shouldn’t be in this movie, arrives in true Star Trek fashion, transported onto the background and cackling eeeeeeevilly. We get shots of wolves running.

OKAY SERIOUSLY MOVIE WHAT THE HELL. Why did you animate the wolves running? Was it to show how terrifying the witch is? Because it‘s not working! It doesn’t look like they‘re scared of the witch, it just looks like wolves running. There is no music to clue us in, no sign the wolves are afraid of her, no nothing to imply this is a cause-and-effect relationship between her arriving and the wolves being afraid. NOTHING! Is it just to show off that you can animate wolves running? Like it’s an art film and suddenly you need two wolves running? Because it looks hideous and you could have spent the money animating ANYTHING else in the movie. The two frames you spent on the running/jumping-jacks wolves could have been spent on that fire. That‘s a big dramatic event— it could have used those frames. It could have used at least four frames. You could have animated something falling down. Or you could have added another mouth onto a character, so they could do more than just open and close. You could have done anything else. And to make matters worse, those wolves are running in perfect unison. The movie copy-pasted them. And they use the same position as the dog running. The movie is poorly copying its own crap work. ARGH! ARGH ARGH ARGH STUPID MOVIE!

Anyway, back to this stupid movie. The witch gives us pointless exposition on things we already know— because we just watched them five minutes ago. I guess it’s for those of us who are taking day-long breaks between watching clips. She tells us that Rasputin has lost the elections again (which Razzy told us thirty seconds ago), that he blew up the palace (which happened five minutes ago), and that it happened six years ago (which the title card told us one minute ago). Thanks for the pointless info dump, you hag!

Rasputin is pissed because the witch told him when the tsar and his family died, he would come to power, but they‘re dead and he‘s not in power. Dude, the cliché. It buuuuurrnzzzz. In a move that surprises exactly no one, the witch announces that Rasputin is not in power because he didn’t kill everyone in the family— Anastasia is still alive!

But wait. If the witch told him to kill the family, why did he originally just want the tsar to leave for Paris? Was he just lying about that? Why did he need the help of the servants? Also, if he knew he had to kill the whole family, why did he leave Anastasia alive? Why not just kill her when she was at her weakest? It makes zero sense. The plot holes are so huge you could fit Russia in them. Twice.

The witch tells him to KILL HER, and he wonders how he’ll be able to find her after all this time.

“That’s YOUR problem!” cackles the witch before disappearing. Oh, snap! Did you get that comeback from Yo’ Mama?

As the witch dissolves, Rasputin flies into a rage. By that, I of course mean his upper eyelid twitches, his chin convulses, and he grumbles something that might be English, might be bad Russian, or might be Angrish. I really can’t tell.

And for no reason at all, the rat is on its back, Laughing Out Loud. Dude, it wasn’t that funny.

Part 3 wrap-up: Okay, so after about ten minutes of background— that’s one whole third of the movie, people—I think we’ve finally hit the plot. Maybe. Rasputin is trying to kill Anastasia so he can… be elected president, I think? Because a witch told him? But Anastasia is now called Asha and has no memories of anything? And she’s wearing a poncho?

God this is so stupid. This is so, so stupid. This is such a pathetically awful excuse of a movie. And yet I wonder: How much stupider can it get? Stay tuned ‘til next time to find out!

…or watch it on your own. I mean, nothing is stopping you… except your sanity.

To be continued…
Thanks for the all fish!
The Ant King
I eagerly await Anastasia's inapropriately-voiced love interest.
Kill all math nerds
When things explode, people lose their memories! They don‘t even need to be hurt or hit their head or having lasting brain damage or anything!

I hear that PTSD can make you lose your memory. You repress the memory of the traumatizing event.

This is hilarious, by the way.   *

*goes back to reading*

Responsible adult
Yaaay! Of all the Dingo pictures, "Dinosaur Adventure" is definitely my "favorite." But this is a prize, too!

I'm pretty sure the Rasputin of this movie is the same slightly-animated drawing who was also the villain in the Aladin one.

Oh, and this is late, but: Apparently, the games that come packaged with these Dingo things (the Phoenix Games stuff) are things like virtual jigsaw puzzles and coloring books (with, one hopes, better art). Since you wondered and all. But maybe you knew. I 'unno.

edited 25th Apr '10 8:03:57 PM by FreezairForALimitedTime

"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
16 Ronka8725th Apr 2010 08:15:00 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
I vaguely knew that, from casually browsing the Phoenix Games website. I've never played them, though, so I don't know how good or bad they are. I'm guessing bad.
Thanks for the all fish!
Responsible adult
Are they ever. I've also seen footage of some of the other "games" they've made, presumably aimed at an older audience. ...Wow.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
Taller than Zim
Should I mention that Sasha is a MALE name? (diminuitive of Alexander, IIRC)
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
The Ant King
According to wikipedia, Sasha can be a male or female given name.
Kill all math nerds
It's me.
Ah hell why does this thing have so much names in common with Psychonauts? It doesn't deserve it.

EDIT: Ninjas spell good.

edited 26th Apr '10 11:19:07 AM by NiftyLostKite

...Let us in...
21 Ronka8726th Apr 2010 03:26:57 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
I mentioned the Sasha problem briefly in part 3, but I really don't care that much. If we sat down and commented on every questionable thing in this movie, we would be here for years. And the thing's only thirty minutes long.

But let us not discuss the past! Let us move on to... the Russian past!

Part 4: A New Character Enters the Ring!

Fade into the next scene. This movie sure loves fading in and out of scenes, doesn’t it? There are other ways of transitioning, but clearly this is the one it likes best. Probably because the fade effect came included on their cheap-ass analog camcorder or something.

Anyway, fade into a crowd scene. A shocked crowd stares at a poster. You can tell they’re shocked because their mouths flap in unison while they make no sound whatsoever. Wait, there’s a kind of hushed whistling noise. It might be a dog whistle. Is that their attempt at Audience Murmurs? Jeez, they can’t even do walla right? You can download a sound bite off the internet!

Anyway again, the poster they’re all looking at is a Wild West-style wanted poster. “Belohnung” says the poster; it’s German for “reward.” There is no helpful narrator for us this time, so I guess we’re just supposed to deal. Also, I get that they’re a German studio, but why is the poster in German, if this is set in Russia— actually, know what, I don’t want to know, the more questions I ask the more time it takes for me to get this over with. Ugh.

The reward is 10,000 rubles— which is a pretty small reward for finding a lost princess. 10,000 rubles is like less than 400 dollars or something— I’m pretty sure, with inflation in the 1920s, it was worth less in Russia at the time. Stuuuupid. But then I’m no economist; maybe the producers know more about period Russian finances.

The last part of the poster is a picture of Anastasia. In fact, it looks like a screenshot from earlier in the film, but in greyscale.

The hobo from the fire shows up again to spew more exposition. He tells us that the Grand Duchess still believes her granddaughter is alive. “She must be pretty mad,” he says. I don’t know if he means angry-mad or ha-ha-loony-bin-mad, but I like to think it’s the former. She seems like the type of person who would reunite with her grandchild after six years and just be like, “Where the hell have you been all this time?!” And she’d say it in an annoying voice, too.

The villagers, most of whom were at the fire and don’t seem to have changed clothes in over six years, discuss the reward. They don’t discuss how much the lost princess looks like that girl they rescued from the fire six years ago, because they are dumbasses.

I have to stop and comment on Random Male Extra # 5 at 1:14, and his coat and boots. His coat looks like an open umbrella and his boots have heels so high it looks like he’s got cloven hooves. It wouldn’t surprise me if he actually were Satan, and this is some kind of cruel punishment from an inner circle of hell.

Moving along, we get a strange new character, who looks like he’ll be important because he’s drawn differently than everyone else. He’s wearing a long grey coat and stupid hat and wonders how many false Anastasias “will be pinned on HER (the grandmother)!” He has a voice that is waaaaay to deep for his looks— he looks like woman, or maybe Michael Jackson. He also has emo/hipster hair. And he’s throwing up the horns. Character design fail #87gajillionmillion, guys. But like I said, his design is different from the other villagers: Instead of goofy and cartoonish, his face is weirdly smooth, and kida girly.

Well, there you go. He’s Anastasia’s love interest. I’m calling it now. Everyone else in the movie looks oafish and disfigured and weird, so the two people who don’t are the hero and heroine. They can’t look goofy— Dingo Pictures wants their stars to look classy.

He is actually drawn rather similarly to… Anastasia. I mean, Don Bluth’s Anastasia. That’s… weird. Wait, looking back, I think he was also on the cover of this thing. Did they… did Dingo Pictures make Anastasia’s Love Interest look like Bluth’s Anastasia so they could put him on the cover to confuse potential buyers? They so totally did! They’re trying to trick buyers by making them think the man who is the main character’s male love interest is the main female character! That’s so fucked up. Dingo Pictures: Dropping Bridgets on unsuspecting viewers since I don‘t care when.

Anyway, I’m instantly proven right about him being a new main character, as out of nowhere, an old man who is not dressed for the Russian winter (isn’t it ever spring here?) shouts that the emo haired guy is a thief. “Therehe is the thief stop him. Stop.” You can really heard the concern in his voice.

“Oh dear,” says emo-haired man-boy. We get a mid-shot, which means detail on his face. The way the shadows fall is kind of… off, and he has thick, full lips, which make him look even more like a lady. “Oh dear that’s all I needed,” says the deep-voiced Dmitri rip-off. He, too, doesn’t sound concerned— concerned words are coming out of his mouth, but you can tell his heart‘s not in it. Maybe he really wants to get arrested. Or maybe his voice actor is just incompetent.

“Eh?” says hobo crutch man, and then we get a chase scene. Or, I think it’s a chase scene— no, no it isn’t. My bad, I thought something interesting was about to happen. It’s just the Dmitri thief-guy running away (in profile!) while everyone else watches.

These are the least helpful villagers in the world. First they hang around while the tsar’s palace burns down and don’t even attempt to put out the fire, then they mistake the princess of the country for a servant, and now they’re just letting this guy run away. They’re not even trying to stop him. These guys are jerks!

To make everything worse (because if there’s one thing Dingo Pictures can do it’s prove things can always get worse), there is no sound while this happens. No chase music, no sounds of shuffling, no cries of anguish— nothing. It’s just quiet. The only sound is the humming of my laptop. It just makes the whole situation even more awkward and slow-paced.

Next time you see a movie, any movie, take a moment, please, and think about the composers and sound designers. Their job is to take lulls just like this one and transform them into moments of joy, of tension, of horror, of action— take moments of awkward silence and turn them into scenes of beauty and emotion. Remember that without these artists, the movie would be less complete. The movie would be less meaningful. The movie would be… more like Dingo Pictures’ Anastasia.

Remember that, and think of them.

Anyway for the fourth time, back to the movie. The emo thief is name dropped so I don’t have to keep making up silly nicknames for him: He is Boris Klavaky, a town swindler. They complain about his various misdeeds: He stole 200 rubbles from the old coatless man, delivered someone water that was supposed to be vodka (the Russian stereotypes just leap off the screen), and sold rotten tomatoes to the hobo’s brother-in-law. I wish I had some rotten tomatoes, so I could THROW THEM AT MY COMPUTER SCREEN.

“It’s really about time we put a stop to his game,” says the old, coatless man. The villagers agree; they must have downloaded some walla clips like I suggested, because there are actual noises coming out of their mouths now. Except they are all still flapping their mouths in unison. Oh well, one thing at a time, Dingo Pictures. Baby steps.

Dmitri— I mean, Boris is still running (or rather, doing his best impression of a man running; he, too, suffers from Walking Paralyzed Jig Syndrome), but now he’s out of the town and in the wilderness. Your friend and mine, Dramatic Midi Bongos, shows up again; something important must be about to happen!

Oh, no, it just fades away really quickly. Well, that was disappointing.

Oh look, it’s Bambi! Bambi with an enormous head! Another pointless animal shot— thanks, Dingo Pictures! ‘Cause the movie didn’t have enough of those!

“You’re safe,” he says to Bambi. “No one’s close on YOUR heels but I have to disappear from Moscow!” That was Moscow? How is that Moscow? There are like eight people in that place. It’s a village, it’s not the fucking capital city. All these establishing shots, and they couldn’t even establish the city right? GAH.

More pointless animal shots— a headshot of Bambi and a hopping bunny. I guess that’s Thumper. They must be reusing material from Goldie, Dingo Pictures‘ rip-off of Bambi. Run away, Bambi! Run far, far away! Go toward the hunters— at least they’ll offer you the sweet release of death!

So Boris is off to St. Petersburg apparently. And I guess he’s walking there. It’s… kinda a long way to St. Petersburg from Moscow, but after butchering politics, physics, biology, graphic design, plot, composition, suspense, editing, and animation itself, taking some liberties with geography seems rather mundane.

We get a shot of Boris walking in the snow. From a distance, he actually looks a lot like Anya from Bluth’s Anastasia. Who’s supposed to be the heroine of this movie, again?

It starts to snow heavily, and Boris starts running. (Need I mention he runs in profile? Lazy, lazy, lazy animators.)

Let me take a moment to talk about snow. I live in Canada. I have seen a lot of snow, I have been caught in many snowstorms. I have driven through whiteouts, I have walked hip-deep through snowdrifts, I have survived raging blizzards. And I have seen flurries. Flurries are really big snowflakes that don’t do much damage; they are light and fluffy and are never scary, ever. The type of snow Boris is walking through is flurries. There is no tension in this scene, because there is no threat. Flurries are not dangerous. Flurries are annoying, but they are not dangerous. Being trapped outside with flurries is no more dangerous than being trapped outside in the cold any time else. If he was going to travel to St. Petersburg, he would have to sleep outside anyway. This is no more dangerous than what he was doing anyway. Ergo, it is not dangerous, ergo, it is not interesting.

Long story short, this snowstorm blows chunks. But anyway, I digress. I seem to do that a lot.

YET ANOTHER establishing shot, this time of a cabin. I have never seen this cabin before, but I assume this is Anatasia/Asha’s house. Wow! How lucky that Boris should happen to run into this particular house, where this particular person lives! Astonishing! Extraordinary coincidence! I wish the writers would die!

Boris knocks on the door; Asha’s orange-coated foster father, who also has not changed clothes in six years, says he doesn’t want to buy anything. Ha, ha, get it? He mistook a man freezing to death from flurries for a salesman! Oh ho ho ho ho— too amusing.

Boris appears at the door and says, “I don’t want to sell anything I just want to take shelter here please let me in.” Wow. I think that’s the worst line so far for not taking breaths. I mean, wow. And when did he open the door? Did he just let himself in? How rude! Well, I guess he is a thief, he doesn’t really care about manners, but then again he is begging for shelter. He could at least manage some courtesy.

Orange coat dude asks Boris his name. This seems really unfair, because orange coat dude never gave Asha HIS name when he invited her to live with him. I still don’t know his name— he’s just “orange coat dude,” or “the man with the womanly voice,” or “she-man of the orange coat.” I’m running out of names.

Boris, of course, gives his full, real name. Because people who live just outside Moscow won’t have any idea who he is; it’s not like people interact with one another and gossip or anything. And it’s not like he’s infamous in the villag— er, city or anything.  *

So orange-coat let Boris in because he “CAN’T continue with this horrible weather” of sinister flurries. “Be quiet,” he continues, after just shouting that Boris CAN’T continue with this horrible weather, “my daughter is alrrrready asleep.“ I don’t get this guy’s accent, but that’s the least of my worries. The fact that this movie is only half-way through is the most of them.

And we end on another shot of the dog. I just realized, this dog actually shows up in several Dingo Pictures movies. She/he is one of the main characters in Animal’s Soccer Match (in that movie, the dog is a boy, but then all the voices are dubbed by two Dutch guys, so everyone sounds like a guy), and he/she/it also appears in Goldie. Also, apparently Rasputin himself is heavily based off the villain from Dingo’s Aladin (yes, with one D). So this movie really is just a Frankenstein film composed of the crap parts of other crap movies. Hooray!

And so, the scene over, we get another fade out. But what is the fade out on? The house, to give some sense that the people are sleeping? Asha herself, so we can see her adult self? Something, at least, that isn’t moving? No, the fade out is ON THAT FUCKING DOG BARKING! AT LEAST FADE OUT ON SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE! DON’T FADE OUT ON A FUCKING BARKING DOG WHILE IT’S STILL MOVING IT MAKES NO SENSE IT LOOKS TERRIBLE WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT ARGH HATE I HATE THIS MOVIE WHAT IS GOING ON I DON’T EVEN ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!

*weeps quietly*

To be continued…

edited 26th Apr '10 4:29:07 PM by Ronka87

Thanks for the all fish!
Responsible adult
I was actually wrong about Rasputin. For once, he seems to be an "original" (wop-wop-waaaah) character design.

The sad thing about the trademark Dingo MIDI Bongos? They remind me of the dramatic music from Courage the Cowardly Dog. DAMN IT DINGO STOP MAKING ME COMPARE GOOD THINGS TO YOU.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
The Ant King
Does Boris sound vaguely like Jeremy Irons to anyone else?
Kill all math nerds
Good lord, I wish I'd been reading this thread since ages ago.

I absolutely love all of Dingo Pictures' output, so seeing one of their works liveblogged is an absolute treat.

Also, kind of late to comment on this but:

This Rasputin is totally ineffective!

RASPUTIN used POLITICAL INTRIGUE! It's not very effective...
Taller than Zim
with inflation in the 1920s, it was worth less in Russia at the time.

Russia actually largely avoided hyperinflation. Having a planned economy essentially cut of from the rest of the world does that.
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent

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