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The Nutcracker Review

Image for The Nutcracker

Kistler, a young girl, has her Christmas Eve dream whisk her away to a magical world where a young prince (who once was the titular nutcracker) guides her through a dazzling party of prancing toys, mice and, of course, the legendary Sugar Plum Fairy

★★★★

Somehow it was thought sound business sense for moppet superstar Macaulay Culkin to advance his career by turning his talents to a spot of ballet. Actually, he only dances a teeny weeny bit, but this is just as well considering his tentative steps look more like Pinnochio after having sampled one illegal substance too many. In fact, Culkin mostly stands about with a pouty, superior look on his face, his tiny arms stuck behind his back, wearing a silly cast-off suit from Little Lord Fauntleroy.

The story, narrated by Kevin Kline, concerns a little girl, Kistler, whose Christmas Eve dream whisks her away to a magical world where a young prince (who once was the titular nutcracker) guides her through a dazzling party of prancing toys, mice and, of course, the legendary Sugar Plum Fairy.

The actual dancing in the film, performed by the New York City Ballet, is remarkably ordinary, more reminiscent of a school concert than professional dancers. And director Ardolino's decision to shoot his production entirely on stage narrows the film's scope, making it distanced and cramped. If there is a saving grace for this worthy but lacklustre folly, it's the classical score, hovering over the film like a gift from God. That, though, suggests going straight to the nearest music store and asking for "Tchaikovsky" might be a better choice than watching this film.

Worthy but lacklustre folly but with a lovely classical score