Production Budget: $ 90 million
Gross so far: $65,000
Yeah, this movie isn’t out of theaters yet so I’m kind of jumping the gun. However I don’t really expect this movie to make over 179 million soon after this review. Call me a pessimist.
Why am I jumping the gun on a review like this. I’m sure you haven’t heard of this movie, cause I hadn’t. At least, you had not heard of this movie until you may have read some of the reviews for it. Reviews that say things like:
“From what dark night of the soul emerged the wretched idea for “The Nutcracker in 3D”? Who considered it even remotely a plausible idea for a movie?”
“One of the most misguided children’s films ever made.”
“One of the most wretched, misguided extravaganzas ever mounted on the big screen…”
With that kind of talk, I had to see what all the fuss was about. After all, it isn’t often you hear stuff like “abomination” and “travesty” without it being in regard to a Friedberg and Seltzer movie. I’ll admit my cultural ignorance and say I’ve never seen anything about the Nutcracker, but I don’t see how anything could suck that bad. No, that’s not right. I’ve been doing this for far too long to be that naive.
So this movie isn’t a ballet. Instead the writers change it up to be this strange dark fantasy movie. The movie is set in 1920’s Vienna and focuses on Mary (Elle Fanning). Her parents neglect her and she is lonely. On Christmas Eve her Uncle, Albert Einstein (Nathan Lane…and yes. THAT Albert Einstein) visits and brings her toys; among them a nutcracker. During the night, Mary is brought into the Nutcracker’s world where toys are brought to life and they are in a war with the Rat King (John Turturro).
This movie is weird. Like, Roberto Begnigni’s Pinocchio type weird. You know, the kind of wide awake nightmare that makes you wonder what exactly the director was smoking when he came up with some of the ideas in this movie. Why is Albert Einstein in this movie? Why is Nathan Lane in a Don King wig singing ‘The Theory of Relativity’ in a terrible accent? Why is there a Jamaican stereotype in The Nutcracker? Why are there rats with jet packs flying around? I have to admit, this movie surprised me. I can’t exactly show pictures of me watching this, but I think they can be summed up by the text emoticon o.O I was flat out befuddled by the odd crap I was seeing. I literally facepalmed seeing Nathan Lane in the most ridiculous goddamn wig I have ever seen.
But all this stuff is just stupid. I can deal with stupid. I don’t see anything really offensively stupi-oh shit they made the rats Nazis. Yup, they went there. The major conflict in this movie is the Rat King wiping out toys in his own concentration camps. I am not kidding. There is a toy concentration camp, where toys are being thrown into ovens. You can’t tell because of dry text but I seriously had to pause after typing that to marvel at the idiocy of that. Even Jerry Lewis had a last minute call of common sense to get him to realize The Day the Clown Cried was probably a bad idea.
Believe it or not, this movie gets even goofier. The cherry on top has to be John Turturro’s role in Nutcracker. I thought Transformers 2 was the low point in his career. Well, it turns out I was wrong yet again. Picture John with an Andy Warhol type wig, prosthetic rat teeth protruding out of his lips, and in full Nazi garb including the boots. Now picture all that, and imagine him tap dancing to Mariachi music while making little children cry. Frankly I’m stunned. I know actors do things for paychecks, but I have to wonder how much is enough to take some of this direction. “Yes John, glad you could make it on set. Now, your SS uniform is around the corner along with the rat teeth and platinum white shock wig. Now, in this scene you are going to be singing about your evil deeds to a jazz band in the background and it culminates in you killing a shark. No, I’m not kidding. John, this is my vision. I have been planning this movie for twenty years…stop laughing. Look, here is another pile of money. Just shut up and play the damn part.”
I suppose I should address the 3D part of this movie. It sucks. Okay I’ll go in a little more detail. They do absolutely nothing with it. Despite being made specifically for 3D, this feels like a 2D movie which had the 3D slapped on in post. There was nothing at all that necessitates you seeing this in 3D. The CGI is also shit. I will say I kind of liked the design of the Nutcracker character. It was actually kind of cute at times with its blocky features. That is probably the only nice thing I will say about the graphics. The rest of the CGI ranges from bad to god awful. The CGI used for the rat king is some of the worst CGI in movie history and I don’t throw that stuff around lightly.
The acting is over the top and hammy. Nathan Lane mugs in front of the camera every chance he gets and as mentioned before, John Turturro is downright embarrassing as the rat king. The only one that even gives a somewhat good performance is Elle Fanning. However her role is lousy and she isn’t given good stuff to work with.
The final thing I’ll mention are the songs. These are not anything from the Nutcracker. Sure, they are inspired somewhat by the Tchaikovsky ballet, but they are made new for this movie. None of them are memorable at all. They are all half ass clap trap about love and wonder and they are so bland I expect an apology from the actors after they are done singing.
Oh, I lied about the songs being the final thing. I have one last thing I remembered. For some odd reason Nathan Lane chooses to break the fourth wall despite no one else doing it ever again in the movie. Dear writers of The Nutcracker in 3D…fuck you.
Is this movie as bad as critics say it is? It’s pretty bad. I mean, at first you have a rather bad kids movie. But when you decide to thrown Nazi’s in your bad kids movie it does raise it that extra level. That being said, I’m not sure I can talk bad movie aficionados out of seeing this movie. After all, where else do you see a Planet of the Apes ape crush Nazi John Turturro’s head in between his thighs? Where do you see jet pack wearing rats driving motorcycles with Gatling guns on the front? Where do you see a shark killed with fluorescent lighting as a means of highlighting the Nazis plan to kill toy-kind? The festive holiday world of Nutcracker in 3D that’s where!