Последний богатырь, or The Last Bogatyr, was released in Russia on October 16, 2017. Co-produced by Disney and a Russian studio called “Yellow, Black, and White,” The Last Bogatyr quickly became a box office success. Just one month after its release, the film had already made $28.8 million USD, replacing Stalingrad (2013) as the highest-grossing domestic film in Russian history.
The Last Bogatyr highlighted Slavic folklore and proved that Russian audiences had a desire to see a Disney interpretation of their country’s rich folklore tradition. The film used beloved Russian characters like Vasilisa, Baba Yaga, and Koschei the Deathless. The Last Bogatyr depicts Ivan (Victor Khorinyak), a normal man, who is transported from current-day Moscow to the fairy tale country of Belogorie. In this world, Russian folk characters are alive and magic is an essential part of everyday life. Unexpectedly, Ivan finds himself at the center of a struggle between light and dark forces.
Although financially successful, the critical reception of the film was somewhat divided. After the film premiered in Moscow, Russian critics gave The Last Bogatyr an average press rating of 67/100. The general consensus in the press was that the film’s storyline of a chosen hero who needs magical assistance to overcome evil was clichéd. Critics agreed, however, that the film created a purely Russian story with elements of humor. Moreover, critics noted that The Last Bogatyr was a major accomplishment of Russian national cinema, as it was created in Russia with national stars and a relatively small budget. Rather than using the cinema as an escape to see Hollywood films with Western celebrities, The Last Bogatyr provided a means to celebrate Russia’s contributions to world culture.
Dmitry Dyachenko directed The Last Bogatyr, which stars Viktor Khorinyak, Mila Sivatskaya, Ekaterina Vilkova, Elena Yakovleva, Konstantin Lavronenko, Yevgeny Dyatlov, Alexander Semchev, and Sergey Burunov.