×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bartok the Magnificent

The literally batty sidekick who swiped scenes throughout 1997's "Anastasia" is rewarded with his very own animated adventure in "Bartok the Magnificent," a lightly diverting direct-to-video opus. Tykes will likely be charmed by the brisk pacing, vibrant (albeit stereotypical) characters and engaging storyline, while parents may be especially grateful for a cartoon with much better production values than "Pokemon."

With:
Voices: Hank Azaria, Kelsey Grammer, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Tim Curry, Jennifer Tilly.

The literally batty sidekick who swiped scenes throughout 1997’s “Anastasia” is rewarded with his very own animated adventure in “Bartok the Magnificent,” a lightly diverting direct-to-video opus. Tykes will likely be charmed by the brisk pacing, vibrant (albeit stereotypical) characters and engaging storyline, while parents may be especially grateful for a cartoon with much better production values than “Pokemon.” Title should generate strong sales during the holiday season and enjoy a long shelf life as a homevid rental.

The sequel actually appears to be a prequel, since the setting is pre-revolutionary Russia. Bartok, the motor-mouth bat voiced by Hank Azaria, is a traveling entertainer whose showstopping specialty is the apparent killing of a ferocious bear. But Zozi (Kelsey Grammer), a grandiloquent beast with Shakespearean pretensions, only pretends to die. A good thing, too, since Bartok needs all the help he can get to rescue a kidnapped young prince. Baba Yaga (Andrea Martin), a notorious witch, is the most likely suspect. But even very small children will notice early on that Ludmilla (Catherine O’Hara), a duplicitous regent, is the real villain of the piece.

“Anastasia” co-directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman do a respectable job of establishing what promises to be a new direct-to-video franchise. Though certainly not as lavish as its bigscreen predecessor, the sequel is attractive and involving, with Tim Curry (as a suave giant skull who’s fond of riddles) and Jennifer Tilly (as a pink and precocious snake-like creature) well cast as supporting-character voices.

Azaria reprises his Bartok vocals with amusing brio, though Grammer is the real scene-stealer this time. Tape and DVD conclude with sing-along segments that reprise the pleasant but unremarkable original tunes by Stephen Flaherty (another “Anastasia” alumnus) and Lynn Ahrons.

Bartok the Magnificent

Production: A 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment release of a Gary Goldman production. Produced, directed by Don Bluth, Goldman. Executive producer, Lori Foster. Screenplay, Jay Lacopo. (Color

With: Voices: Hank Azaria, Kelsey Grammer, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Tim Curry, Jennifer Tilly..) Director of animation, Len Simon; art directors, Kenneth Valentine Slevin, Rob Nason; music, Stephen Flaherty lyrics, Lynn Ahrons; sound Mark Server; casting, Marion Levine. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, Nov. 22, 1999. MPAA rating: G. Running time: 67 MIN.

More Film

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content