What You Need To Know:
(B, NA) Good triumphs over evil in this famous Christmas fantasy which contains nothing objectionable except a magical dream sequence.
Oh, please, Macaulay Culkin again–this time as the Nutcracker Prince in GEORGE BALANCHINE’S THE NUTCRACKER! This young man will undoubtedly attract younger audiences as well as non-theatre goers to this ballet classic. But why? Putting the child in tights looks more like a marketing tactic than a new adaptation of the ballet. The opening scene, a Christmas party in the home, is a huge disappointment. There is no real Christmas cheer. The actor’s physical movements are melodramatic, which may work in a theatre, but certainly not in a movie. Some individual performances are excellent–for example, the character “Coffee”–but the overall production is too flat and boring. At the screening of this movie, I sat with four nine-year-olds–all aspiring ballerinas. They were nearly falling asleep during the would-be magical scenes with the fairies. In a good theatrical production, these scenes can stretch the imagination and creativity of children. The nine-year-olds next to me were bored.
What unreached potential in this film! Filming THE NUTCRACKER could have provided such an opportunity to add dialogue, or perhaps film on a location. But this movie is filmed on a stage with mostly two-dimensional scenery and sets. Despite some good performances, including the excellent orchestration, the film version of THE NUTCRACKER more than disappoints.