***Spoiler Free until After the Ads***
Clara needs to find a key to open a gift from her late mother. Her godfather has that key, but it takes her quite the journey to actually get to said key. She’s not pleased with her father because he seems unaffected by her mother’s death. He comes across as being obsessed with maintaining appearances. The quest for the key sweeps Clara into a magical world on the brink of war. But is everything as it seems?
- This comes across as a movie that tries very hard, yet falls short in several aspects.
- Disclaimer: I did know the critic consensus going in, and I might have been tainted by that, though I strive hard to form my own opinion to these things.
- The Story (2.5/5 stars): I don’t actually know the story of the Nutcracker, so I couldn’t tell you about here it deviates from the original. In the movie, they try very hard to stick in some intriguing, gut-wrenching twists. In fact, I think they try so hard that it ends up making it very predictable.
- I got bored.
- Sugar Plum’s voice. It’s beyond annoying. (This is no fault of Keira Knightly. I love her. Pretty sure that’s just the way they wanted the character to be.)
- Side characters’ performances are also okay. Nobody else really impressed me, but they did their jobs well enough to immerse the audience in the strange world Disney created.
- It’s mostly a kids story. Hard to predict what they will think of it. Guess you’d have to poll them. Yet, there is at least one section that strikes as downright creepy.
- Mackenzie Foy’s performance is decent. She has an air of innocence about her that gives Clara the right balance of naïve heroine and girl-finding-her-way. (Aside: If you’ve ever read Redeemer Chronicles, Mackenzie Foy is definitely an actress I could see portraying Vic.)
- Small bits of humor, especially from the CGI mouse come across as well-timed and fitting. (specifics below)
- Soundtrack has some beautiful pieces.
- This movie is a pretty even blend of the color factor from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie (starring Jonny Depp), Effie Trinket’s fashion style from The Hunger Games series, and Oz The Great and Powerful. I thought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was new, but apparently it was 2005. Yikes.
It’s okay. I’ve definitely seen worse movies. Perhaps, I secretly had higher expectations than I should have going in. I’m probably not in the target audience anyway. Strangely enough, I’m gonna go with the critics on this and rate it as a semi-disappointment.
Associate links to follow…
(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)
The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.
If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.
Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.
Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.
- Funny parts: When Clara orders the nutcracker to do something sternly and the mouse turns and shakes his little fist at the man. Also, before that, when the mouse and the man together move aside the grate in the floor. When Sugar Plum grabs a wad of her hair and eats it. (Pretty sure it is cotton candy.)
- The concept behind the creation/ turning people into inanimate objects didn’t make much sense to me. Sugar Plum says something like “I gave them life, so they will only obey me.” But later, she has one of the soldiers hitting the button to create the next batch. Does that mean that they will only obey that one soldier?
- Trade Federation. (When the creator gets turned into a toy, the animated toys keel over.) Why don’t they turn into small toys again?