In 1916, Rasputin’s plans to kill the entire royal family fell through ice. Ten years later, Bartok the Bat sees the return of the lost duchess Anastasia and the reanimation of his master’s cursed relic—thus reunited with Rasputin to seal the fate of the Romanov family at last.
WBI ProfileClassification :: Θ347
Role :: Henchman (Rasputin’s servant)
Motivation :: Psychology (loyalty), Insubordination (employee), Personal/Material Gain (an end to Rasputin’s plots)
His Significance To…Rasputin—Bartok is Rasputin’s friend. He offers to teach him to dance and is always there for moral support, but he doesn’t actually assist in the murdering.
Anastasia—despite being Rasputin’s friend, Bartok spends a good deal of his time trying to convince the guy not to kill Anastasia. Go get a life, he says, let’s go dancing, he says. Forget the girl.
the movie—and, at the end of all things, Bartok doesn’t really do anything significant. His actions do not set anything important in motion; his main role is comic relief.
Notable Actionsremaining loyal—it is a special person who will hang onto your stuff for ten years, join you in limbo, replace your mislaid eyeballs and thumbs, and then come along for the ride when you assassinate a lost noble.
defending Anastasia—again, Bartok doesn’t really want to kill Anastasia. He’s a bat. He eats fruit and likes girl bats. He’s with Rasputin out of loyalty, not because he believes in the cause.
leaving Rasputin—finally, when Rasputin really is in a position to kill Anastasia, Bartok backs out: “You’re on your own, sir! This can only end in tears!”
Big Ideacomic relief—if the GIFs haven’t clued you in, this guy is hilarious. He has some of the best one-liners in the movie (and, considering how many one-liners there are in this movie, that is quite the compliment). In this way, Bartok relieves some of the darkness of the story. Rasputin—in the movie and in real life—was a shady dude. This way, it’s a little more palatable for a family movie.
the face of cute (I mean, evil)—let’s be honest. Bartok is not really evil. HE IS ADORABLE. He has funny lines and a little bat face and bat wings and he’s white and sweet. Rasputin is, truly, scum. Dirty, evil, corrupted, awful. And yet his partner is the face of innocence. More on that in a sec.
voice of conscience—lest you think that Bartok is unimportant, let me remind you there’s more to him than humor. His thoughts supplant his lack of action; he tries to dissuade Rasputin from killing Anastasia. Bartok is the voice of morality. He encourages his master to not do the bad thing and do something good and fun instead. Rasputin, of course, never listens, but he is never immune to the voice of goodness pushing back on his plans.
His character might be imaginary, anyway. Followed by a little white bat, I argue that Rasputin superimposes the personification of his moral compass upon the little guy. Anastasia’s animals don’t talk unless part of Rasputin’s perspective, as with Bartok and the bugs in “In the Dark of the Night.” Bartok doesn’t interact with any other humans. And, again, Bartok’s main contribution is trying to do the right thing and spare Anastasia.
If this is true, then we also get an idea of how Rasputin characterizes his morality—as a foil to himself. Bartok is small, pure white, and in good shape. This contrasts Rasputin’s looming, dark figure, which is both morally corrupt and in the process of physical decay. Bartok can fly free; Rasputin sold his soul and faces imprisonment in the afterlife. Bartok suggests alternatives to evil; Rasputin remains hell-bent on the destiny decided a decade ago. But there’s more: Bartok always refers to Rasputin as “sir.” In this way, Rasputin is always the master of morality. He is never in a position where he must compromise; there is never a time when he doesn’t have the power to choose.
What does that say about Bartok, I wonder? Rasputin was never forced to be good, but he wasn’t forced to be evil, either. He chose—and with such a moral character following him around, could he have chosen to be good in the end, too?
What’s your favorite part of the movie Anastasia? And, tell me, what do you think of Bartok?
Hey, just one last thing, dear mortals. If you haven’t already filled in my social media survey, I would love to hear your voice!