THE NUTCRACKER follows nine-year-old Mary who receives an enchanted nutcracker as a Christmas gift. On Christmas night, The Nutcracker or "NC," comes to life and takes her on a wondrous journey into his magical world. She soon realizes that this fantastical kingdom is facing danger from the tyrannical rule of the evil Rat Kin...more
THE NUTCRACKER follows nine-year-old Mary who receives an enchanted nutcracker as a Christmas gift. On Christmas night, The Nutcracker or "NC," comes to life and takes her on a wondrous journey into his magical world. She soon realizes that this fantastical kingdom is facing danger from the tyrannical rule of the evil Rat King and his devious mother. When NC is taken hostage, Mary and her newfound toy friends must uncover the secret of the Rat King to rescue NC and his kingdom. less
“A largely forgettable film with a story peppered with useless puns! Avoid.”
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The story behind this adaptation of 'The Nutcracker holds' more intrigue, sorrow, joy (to an extent), promise and potential than the anything the final product has to offer. Director Andrei Konchalovsky was once responsible for such sublime fare as 'Siberiade' , 'Uncle Vanya', 'Duet for One', 'Shy People' and even 'Runaway Train'. Though once he made 'Tango & Cash' things have not quite achieved the same critical or commercial success some of his earlier work enjoyed. I'm guessing this must have been a "comeback movie" of sorts considering he announced how it had been his dream for nearly 20 years to get this project off the ground. A budget of nearly $90 Million, a cast filled with capable actors if not impressive ones, an adaptation of one of the most beloved ballets in history, what could go wrong? Nearly everything from what I see and have read.
Usually I don't give a damn about box office earnings but this movie's earnings truly startled me; apparently the movie was such a commercial failure that it grossed only about $280,000 on its $90 Million budget.
'The Nutcracker' is a Russian ballet adapted from a story 'The Nutcracker & the Mouse King' by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Though I did not have much first hand knowledge, going through information about it, I discovered an abundance of previous adaptations. Having not watched any of them I didn't quite know what to make of the current one beyond what it has to offer.
Mary (Elle Fanning) much like most kids in fantasy movies finds herself emotionally detached from her surroundings and parents. Everything changes with the arrival of her eccentric uncle Albert (Nathan Lane); who judging by his looks may or may not have the last name, Einstein. Uncle Albert gives Mary a toy, called N.C. which magically starts talking much like Pinocchio and we learn how he used to be a "real boy" in a fantasy kingdom far away. The evil Rat King (John Turturro), who's obviously fascinated by Hitler and his Nazis thugs, seized control of N.Cs kingdom and cast a spell upon him thereby turning him into a wooden toy of sorts. But with Mary now N.C. returns to his kingdom where the curse is broken and he turns into a real boy and the two of them duke it with the Rat King in an attempt to reclaim the kingdom.
The story is a humbug. With nothing new to offer beyond everything we have already seen. Andrei Konchalovsky tries to liven up things by presenting an alternate look at totalitarian society with cyber punk bikes with mounted guns and Nazi-looking insignia thrown in for good measure. There is a strong hint of anime inspiration in the art direction department which looks good for the first few scenes but eventually gets repetitive. The fairy tale elements and whatever little ballet sequences serve to remind the audience how the creativity pales in comparison to other good fantasy flicks.
The 3D though not a nuisance is a complete waste with it not adding anything to the overall quality of the film.
The horrendous makeup doesn't help the actors one bit, especially John Turturro who's portrayal of the Rat King borders on comic. For some strange reason the director chooses to show his transformation into a live-size rat beyond the "ratty" makeup already on display. The rest of the cast are adequate in roles that require nothing much of them.
'The Nutcracker in 3D' holds some promise but delivers little. I doubt anyone across various age groups will find something to hold their attention for more than a few seconds. On the other hand it might pique your interest in previous incarnations of the same tale and maybe even in watching the original ballet in learning how much has it been butchered here.