In theory, a Bronze-Age-Disney style animated feature film based upon E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original, printed page The Nutcracker and the Mouse King sounds like a terrific idea.
In theory, a lot of things sound like terrific ideas.
This movie comes from good old Goodtimes. Yeah. And it is indeed pretty terrible with cheap-ass animation and ugly, unlikable characters. And yet, it was a theatrical release. I’m pretty sure it was their only theatrical release — and to be fair, the art is not AS BAD as it is in “The Christmas Tree“. That’s small praise, but this movie will have to take what praise it can get.
Something that ought to be noted: The Nutcracker we are all familiar with is a ballet. There is no dialogue at all. Your performance might have someone narrating, but that will be the only words you will here.
I bring this up because nobody in this movie *ever* stops talking. Enjoy the hilariously miscast voice of Kiefer Sutherland.
The Best Parts:
3 minutes in – Now, this is the second “Nutcracker” movie I have seen this season that gives Uncle Drosselmeyer a nephew. (I also watched the film of the New York Ballet from 1993, but there was nothing in it worth making fun of aside from the one thing everyone remembers that version for: a hilariously miscast and very embarrassed-looking Macaulay Culkin.) Is this nephew character ass-born? Because I would have remembered him from the Boston Ballet version.
NOTE: The answer, via good old Wikipedia, has turned out to be: “Sort of. Not quite. It depends.” Thanks.
6 minutes in – “I can has inappropriate close-up on ma butts?”
8 minutes in – “I do so love this dress! It makes me blend into the background!”
10 minutes in – They invited Mok! 😀
11 minutes in – “Damn kids! Stop reminding me of the limitations of my 19’th Century technology!”
14 minutes in – Say, has anyone ever succeeded in cracking a walnut with one of these things? Also, when does the similar-looking carved doll who is actually an incense burner – it looks like he’s smoking a pipe – get a story?
15 minutes in – God, Uncle D. There’s Self-Insert and then there’s this.
20 minutes in – Right about now, everyone who is unfamiliar with the original story is going, “WTF?”
26 minutes in – All hail the stupid haircut! (Seriously, it’s like a 19’th Century Mullet. Also, LesYay?)
28 minutes in – That was unexpectedly gruesome.
29 minutes in – Yes, King. Of course. Because it was totally Hans’ fault that he got transformed into a doll by a talking mouse.
30 minutes in – “Yeah, well, sometimes life sucks, Clara.”
34 minutes in – Hey, you know what Peter Tchaikovsky’s music was needing all these years? Crappy lyrics with creepy overtones!
36 minutes in – You might want to do your job annoying little pet character.
38 minutes in – Sure, why not. I don’t see any leaps of logic in the Mouse King’s proposed progression; King of Dolls to King of the World.
41 minutes in – BURLY BRAWL!!!
43 minutes in – OK, that one mouse is clearly on something.
48 minutes in – “Woe is me! I am suddenly unable to leap over an enemy who is only one foot tall and open a door!”
50 minutes in – SUPER BRAWL!!!
51 minutes in – If I were the Nutcracker, I’d check to see if Meteora was in one of those boxes.
57 minutes in – And I guess we’re in a Magical Land.
58 minutes in – Yes, they sure are pretty. Until they start flipping out and beating all the smaller animals in the pond to death.
1 hour in – There’s just ten minutes left, everyone. We can get through it together!
1 hour, 2 minutes in – “Now with passion in our eyes, there’s no way we could disguise this sacred need! / So we’ll take each other’s hands cause we seem to understand we are just teens!”
(What do you mean that’s not what they’re singing?)
1 hour, 3 minutes in – Honestly, at this age, I’d rather have one of these stories end with, “No! You know what? Screw growing up and having to deal with all that b.s! I’m going to *stay* in this Magical Land and be a Princess and have Magical Adventures!”
1 hour, 4 minutes in – And look at how the movie seems to agree with me! Look at what is happening now that Clara has decided she just wants to be normal!
1 hour, 6 minutes in – AAAAAAHHH!!! What the heck just happened?
1 hour, 8 minutes in – “So, now that I’ve completely baffled you, can we do something about your hair?”
1 hour, 9 minutes in – Release the Bronze-Age-Disney-Style Oscar-Baiting Love Theme!
Wait, is that a Trope? That ought to be a Trope. To YKTTW!
Addendum: Yup, it’s a Trope now. A Trope that has since been Spammed with examples that don’t fit because people can’t be bothered to read the f-in’ description, but it’s a Trope.
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Why are all Fairy Stories the same?” – Clara
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – All of the women in 19’th Century Russia looked exactly the same. (Lazy character design team.)
* – Fairy Tale Heroes: Be advised that all the instructions you will get for saving the day will be needlessly complicated.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? The mice are kind of fun.
Good Soundtrack? Here’s the thing. They use the music from the Nutcracker Ballet – but it’s cut apart and stuffed in random order.
Hot Guys? Maybe if they did something with their hair…
Pretty Scenery? It looks like they stole pages out of a picture book and animated over it.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? It’s Goodtimes! What’s weird is that the story sequence and the dance sequence each have a nifty-looking art shift. Too bad they weren’t brave enough to do the whole movie in either style.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when the music is played out of order. Careful.
Head Movie Potential? No, not really.
Danny going nuts. Lawl.
A Lacewood Productions Film released by Warner Brothers in 1990. Written by Patricia Watson and directed by Paul Schibli.
In addition to the hilariously miscast Keifer Sutherland, there is Phyllis Diller, Peter O’Toole, Mike MacDonald, Peter Boretski, and Megan Follows.
Animation Backgrounds Article – And ironically enough, the backgrounds are very nice.