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nutcracker in 3d
Click for full sized poster

The Nutcracker in 3D

Starring Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane, Charlie Rowe, John Turturro
Screenplay by Andre Konchalovsky and Chris Solimine
Based on the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet; new songs by Sir Tim Rice
Directed by Andre Konchalovsky

IN SHORT: Neat-O. [Rated PG for thematic material, scary images, action and brief smoking. 110 minutes]

]We're not sure if we want to start our review of The Nutcracker in 3D by writing about the film's metaphorical comparison between its adaptation of Tchaikovsky's ballet into a dramatic musical of the kind we would expect to see from, say, Terry Gilliam and certain historical realities, like the rise and fall of Nazi Germany and the holocaust. We'll leave it to the film students in our audience (you know who you are) to do that kind of writing . . . and you'll have a great time writing it, too, 'cuz said metaphors could virtually drown the viewer of The Nutcracker in 3D. That is, if you let 'em

We prefer the squeals of the 9 year old girl sitting behind us at a private screening of the film. Yes, we do go to screening rooms when necessary -- and the November/December awards wannabee insanity is one of those times -- and we asked said femme about the film on the way out. A beaming mother, uh, beamed when her offspring called the film "awesome!"

What was "awesome," besides the carefully excerpted and enhanced pieces of Tchaikovsky's score, is the fantastical story laid on top of those excerpts. We begin in Vienna, sometime in the 1920s. Mother (Yulia Visotskaya) and Father (Richard E. Grant) are off to evening festivities to celebrate Christmas. Kidlets Mary (Elle Fanning) and Max (Aaron Michael Drozin) have been waiting anxiously for the arrival of their Uncle Albert (Nathan Lane), who arrives with a servant to carry a very special present for the kiddies. It is an oversized model house, mechanically automated with characters in its various rooms banging drums or performaing as a clown or, my favorite, a monkey reading a newspaper. Uncle has also brought a very special present, a nutcracker in the form of the emperor Napoleon. Max, the sneaky little boy that he is, breaks the nutcracker. Uncle fixes the toy, and the housemaid Frau Eva (Frances de la Tour) puts the kidlets to bed.

But there was too much excitement in this household and Mary cannot sleep. Indeed, when she sneaks downstairs to have another look at the house, she discovers that the Christmas tree reaches hundreds of feet into the air and the characters in the house and hanging as ornaments on the tree, have magically come alive. Which means the Nutcracker has become a little boy (Charlie Rowe), hailed as a Prince by all the other toys come alive.

The Prince's kingdom has been overrun by rat creatures who cannot stand daylight. The Rat King (John Turturro) and his devious mother (Frances de la Tour) maintain a thick black cloud over the kingdom, fueled by burning Christmas toys. The rat military has forced humans into slavery and a magical Snow Fairy (also Yulia Visotskaya) tells Mary that she and "NC" can, essentially, save the day!

Little brother Max, on the other hand, is entranced by the motorized bicycles that the rats ride. He falls to the dark side. Just another rescue for Mary and NC to effect. Along the line, though, something really terrible happens to one of that couple.

We don't put a dollar rating on family friendly films. We just give the usual thumbs up or down and, since we are still in possession of two working hands, we give The Nutcracker in 3D an enthusiastic Two Thumbs up

See the flm. Download the wallpapers.

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