1920s Vienna. Nine-year-old Mary lives in a home filled with lovely things and loneliness. Bothered by bratty brother Max and neglected by well intentioned, but distracted, parents, she yearns for companionship and adventure. On Christmas Eve, Mary's beloved Uncle Albert arrives with the gift of a wooden nutcracker doll. Later that night, Mary's imagination brings the doll to life. Introducing himself as "NC," he takes her on a wondrous journey through a stunning dimension where toys assume human form and everything appears ten times larger. But danger lurks. An army of toothy rat creatures, led by the flamboyant Rat King and his devious mother, has unleashed a plot to overthrow humanity. When NC is captured and placed under a paralytic spell, Mary, Max and a spirited band of toy sidekicks must rescue him from the Rat King's clutches and thwart his wicked plans to 'ratify' the world. —Anonymous
Good looking soufflé of a film.
Ordinarily, I am very much in favour of any half-decent adaption that will get folks to revisit some of these wonderful old stories and hopefully inspire them to go and see the theatre performances - and this combination of the delightful Hoffman story and an equally rousing score ought to have been a no-brainer...but... Oh dear! What can i say about this? It's dreadful - and that's a real shame because normally you can rely on Sir Tim Rice to deliver the goods lyrically, and Tchaikovsky had already done the business with his beautifully written music. What happened? Well the casting, for one - Elle Fanning is just downright annoying; the "Mouse Kingdom" has become a rad-ridden regime under a Fascist jackboot that even Frances de la Tour can't rescue from it's poorly made-up mediocrity, and despite the best efforts of the infrequently seen Nathan Lane as "Uncle Albert" - wearing the most obvious wig I've seen since our "Babes in the Wood" panto in 1975 - it's just flat, very good looking, but flat. No amount of whizzo special effects, nor the musical elements, can carry the banality of this effort. The best bit is whilst the credits are rolling (phew!) and we get a proper hit of the magnificent music from the Moscow State Orchestra.
- Aug 17, 2020
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