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Bartok the Magnificent
Bartok the Magnificent.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
Produced by Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
Screenplay by Jay Lacopo
Starring Hank Azaria
Kelsey Grammer
Catherine O'Hara
Andrea Martin
Tim Curry
Jennifer Tilly
French Stewart
Phillip Van Dyke
Diedrich Bader
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Editing by Bob Bender
Fiona Trayler
Studio Fox Animation Studios
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release date(s) November 16, 1999 (1999-11-16)
Running time 68 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Bartok the Magnificent is a 1999 American direct-to-video animated adventure comedy film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. It is a spin-off and prequel to the 1997 film Anastasia (also directed by Bluth and Goldman).

The film centres around the kidnapping of the young czar prior to the Russian Revolution. Hank Azaria reprises his role from the previous film as Bartok, Rasputin's former bumbling small albino bat sidekick.

While several of Bluth's films have received sequels, spin-offs and television series, this is the only such project he has been involved with.

Plot

Albino bat Bartok arrives in Moscow and makes himself known by performing for the locals. His grand finale involves defeating a savage grizzly bear. Delighted with Bartok's bravery, the townspeople shower him with gold, including the young czar Ivan Romanov, who gifts Bartok with a royal ring, much to the chagrin of Ivan's assistant, Ludmilla. After the show, Bartok counts his earnings and is startled by the stirring bear, revealed to be his business partner and to not be savage at all, Zozi. Although Zozi is apprehensive about the ring, Bartok refuses as it was gifted.

When Ivan is kidnapped by the witch Baba Yaga, there is an immediate investigation. In seeking a rescuer, two children nominate Bartok, who, with Zozi, was already on his way to St. Petersburg when spotted by Cossacks. Bartok is brought before the townspeople, who are relying on his courage to save Ivan. Reluctantly, Bartok accepts, and he and Zozi set out for the Iron Forest. Upon arriving at Baba Yaga's hut, the duo must answer a riddle given by the entrance, a giant skull. With the riddle solved, Bartok is then captured by Baba Yaga, who explains that, in order to save Ivan, Bartok must retrieve three artifacts from the forest, without any assistance: her pet Piloff, Oble's Crown and the Magic Feather. However, Bartok quickly finds that these tasks are difficult, as Piloff is frozen to a boulder; Oble, a giant blacksmith surrounded by an aura of fire, must be tricked into letting his crown be stolen; and the Magic Feather must be obtained without flight, utilizing only the previous two items.

Returning to Baba Yaga with the objectives completed, the witch reveals that she needs something from Bartok himself. Baba Yaga rejects all his offers and, outraged, Bartok lashes out at her, accusing her of lying and cheating, and claiming that everyone hates her. Suddenly stricken with guilt, Bartok apologizes and cries, allowing Baba Yaga to obtain the most important ingredient: tears from the heart. She conjures up a potion from the objects, and reveals that she never kidnapped Ivan and that the potion was intended for Bartok himself; it will make whatever he is in his heart ten times on the outside. Bartok and Zozi return to town and lead Ludmilla and Vol, the Captain of the Guard, up to the top of the tower, where Ivan is imprisoned.

There, Ludmilla locks Bartok and Vol in with Ivan, revealing that she had Vol kidnap the prince (telling him to "get him out of the way" as in kill him, while Vol misunderstood and locked him up instead, supposedly for his own safety) while she framed Baba Yaga as part of her scheme to steal the throne. She steals Bartok's potion and leaves her prisoners in a well tower, quickly flooding with water. Ludmilla consumes the potion, thinking her beauty will become tenfold. Unbeknownst to her, the potion, in fact, causes her to transform into a giant, wingless, three-horned, pinkish-purple dragon, as it unveils her true wickedness. After seeing her reflection, Ludmilla's mind degrades to a mere beast, and she goes on a rampage, burning the town with her fiery breath.

Zozi comes and rescues Bartok, Ivan and Vol. Bartok battles Ludmilla and tricks her into climbing the tower. When she reaches the top, the tower crumbles, crushing Ludmilla and unleashing a wave of gushing water that douses the flames. As the townsfolk gather around the wreckage, Zozi hails Bartok as a true hero, not only for defeating Ludmilla but also for showing Baba Yaga compassion. Bartok returns Ivan's ring and Baba Yaga appears, writing "Bartok, The Magnificent" in the sky. Bartok bids Baba Yaga and Piloff goodbye, undoubtedly counting on seeing him again someday.

Cast

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