Soyuzmultfilm has been responsible for a lot of animated classics, and being fascinated by Russian folk-tales Beloved Beauty seemed a recipe for greatness. And it was, every bit as beautiful as the title suggests. The stop-motion animation is really striking, it is full of detail and atmospheric colours, often beautiful but wonderfully dark too. There are some traditional animation-looking special effects, which are also very nicely done and not jarring in style at all. Also terrific is the music score, the main theme is the epitome of loveliness, while the swordfight between the tsar's son and his companion(a hunter or soldier) about half-way through is rousing in a haunting way and in particular the scoring for the climax, which is kind of like a mix of Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky. The songs are also really beautiful, and sung by a very angelic-sounding soprano voice. The writing moves the storytelling forward and is thoughtful and not unintentionally funny or full of irrelevant filler. The narration makes the story understandable for younger audiences too. The story is very Russian folk-tale-like, and has a lot of charm and magic and is full of atmosphere. The characters are archetypal but all serve a purpose to the story and all of them are engaging and memorable. Beloved Beauty and the antagonist Kaschey the Immortal stand out from a design and character stand-point, you can't take your eyes off Beloved Beauty and Kaschey is genuinely scary. The voice acting is a good mix of noble and theatrical, the only one that didn't come across as quite right was that for the Tsar's son, his voice sounded like(and please forgive any potential rudeness) a woman trying to speak in a deep tone. Beloved Beauty sounds very ethereal, the tsar's son's companion has a noble richness to his tone and Kaschey is voiced with twisted malevolence. All in all, very detailed, atmospheric and magical. If you find it on Youtube under its Russian phonetic alphabet- look to Wikpedia to help you with that- title, do check it out as you will be as enchanted as this viewer was. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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