Today’s Prayer Focus

The Nutcracker: The Untold Story

also known as “The Nutcracker in 3D”
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for thematic material, scary images, action and brief smoking.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Moral Rating: Average—but not recommended
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Family
Genre: Action Family Musical Fantasy
Length: 1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release: 2010
USA Release: November 24, 2010
DVD: November 1, 2011
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Featuring Elle Fanning (Mary), Nathan Lane (Uncle Albert), John Turturro (The Rat King), Frances de la Tour (The Rat Queen / Frau Eva), Richard E. Grant (Father), Yulia Visotskaya (Mother / Snow Fairy), Yuliya Vysotskaya (Mother / The Snow Fairy), Shirley Henderson (The Nutcracker), See all »
Director Andrei Konchalovsky
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Distributor Freestyle Releasing

Our story takes place somewhere in the early 1920s in Vienna. We are introduced to our protagonist Mary (Elle Fanning). We open the scene to her and her brother Max, huddled around the Christmas tree. Suddenly, their Uncle Albert arrives with a gift for Mary… a nutcracker. Later that night, the Nutcracker comes to life! It’s up to Mary and the nutcracker known as NC, to band together and defeat the evil Rat King (John Turturro).

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this movie. Parts were good, and parts of it were not that good. The orchestrations were decent, throwing in some of Tchaikovsky’s original compositions from the Nutcracker ballet, every once in a while. The camera work was good. However, the acting and the plot were what needed the most work in this film, and therefore is the reason I gave this movie a low rating. Nathan Lane puts in a good, yet disappointingly short appearance as Uncle Albert. Even Elle Fanning puts in a decent performance. There is just something missing from this film.

Objectionable content

Violence: There is a scene where Max’s father can be seen dragging him by his ear, in anger. The Rat King takes a doll’s head and throws it around the room. There are a couple scenes where Mary is put in danger, including one where she falls from a great height (later saved). In another scene, people can be seen fleeing in terror from the Rat King’s army. The Rat King uses a prisoner’s head to crack open a nut. A shark is electrocuted. The Rat Queen bites the Rat King on the ear.

Language is very mild. One of the characters says, “Oh my bananas!” There are a couple instances where the Rat King insults his own mother, calling her an “old hag,” at one point)

Sex/Nudity: None

Other: There are a couple scenes where characters can be seen smoking. There is an instance where Mary lies to one of the characters.

Of course the real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do about toys, presents, or any of those things. Rather, it is about the incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the real reason we celebrate Christmas. His precious birth would later save us from our sins, and that is what Christmas is truly about… Jesus Christ.

Maybe I was a little harsh with this film. However, when a movie spends an estimated budget of $90 million, I was expecting a little more—more character depth, more substance… something. In short, while the orchestration is good, and the acting is fairly decent, I do not recommend this film.

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Movie Critics
“…Who had the lamebrained idea for a post-apocalyptic 3-D ‘Nutcracker’ that is lacking any trace of ballet?… this particular reinvention is embarrassingly bad: contrived, convoluted, amateurish and tedious. …”
Claudia Puig, USA Today
“…A dystopian aftertaste to those sugarplums… there’s no ballet… a full-blown Nazi allegory with goose-stepping rats in steel helmets…”
Mike Hale, The New York Times
“…‘The Nutcracker in 3D’ is one of those rare holiday movies that may send children screaming under their seats. Their parents, naively hoping to see a sweet version of ‘The Nutcracker,’ will be appalled or angry, take your choice. …Who considered it even remotely a plausible idea for a movie? It begins with an awkward approximation of the story behind the Tchaikovsky ballet, and then turns it into a war by the Nutcracker Prince against the Holocaust. … [1/4]”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“…Imagine watching Tchaikovsky’s ballet after taking a handful of peyote—on a day when all of the dancers call in sick and the orchestra decides to play a different set of the composer’s works. …a family-unfriendly 110 minutes from beginning to end, and feels a half hour longer. …”
Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle
“…a fantasyland Third Reich-inspired musical… Andrei Konchalovsky’s film doesn’t have an original thought in its fanciful head, ironic given the story’s nominal focus on the power of imagination. More aggravating still is the absence of a coherent narrative path… a veritable crime against both cinema and moviegoers’ wallets.”
Nick Schager, Slant Magazine

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