The Imax Nutcracker

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Children's, Fantasy

Painfully unmagical but filmed in glorious IMAX-3D, this version of the traditional Christmas story, which debuted in 1997, seems to go on far longer than 40-minutes. And while there's only one very brief ballet interlude, it uses the familiar Tschaikovsky's score to establish atmosphere and bridge scenes, and features lots of stagy tumbling, posturing...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Painfully unmagical but filmed in glorious IMAX-3D, this version of the traditional Christmas story, which debuted in 1997, seems to go on far longer than 40-minutes. And while there's only one very brief ballet interlude, it uses the familiar

Tschaikovsky's score to establish atmosphere and bridge scenes, and features lots of stagy tumbling, posturing and prancing about. Little Clara (Lotte Johnson) receives the gift of a nutcracker shaped like a soldier from her eccentric uncle Drosselmeier (Heathcote Williams), a collector of antique

toys. Under its influence, she has an elaborate dream in which the nutcracker grows to life-size and, with the help of assorted dolls and a platoon of wooden soldiers, goes to war with an army of giant mice. When the battle is over, the nutcracker becomes a young prince (Benjamin Hall). He escorts

Clara to his magical home, which appears to be some nightmare version of the Ed Sullivan Show where ballerinas and Chinese acrobats rub elbows with plate-spinners, tumbling dwarfs, jugglers and a stilt-walker who looks like Johnny Rotten in a harlequin suit. The whole sorry business looks

like a movie directed by a production designer: meticulous care has been taken with the appearance of the creepy antique dolls and musical monkey toys, but the staging and editing are ponderous and awkward: The war with the mice doesn't need to look like a fight scene from Mighty Morphin Power

Rangers, but it would be nice if the toys and the scruffy rodents (which bear an unfortunate resemblance to gray bath mats with heads) didn't spend quite so much time standing around and tossing bits of cellophane at one another. In addition, the dialogue has the stilted quality of bad

19th-century theater -- "Dear, dear Clara," declares young Prince, achieving a level of vocal affectation rare in one so young -- and virtually all the narrative exposition is achieved through voice-over. Both GEORGE BALANCHINE'S THE NUTCRACKER and NUTCRACKER: THE MOVIE, essentially filmed

records of full-length ballet productions, look intensely cinematic by comparison.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Painfully unmagical but filmed in glorious IMAX-3D, this version of the traditional Christmas story, which debuted in 1997, seems to go on far longer than 40-minutes. And while there's only one very brief ballet interlude, it uses the familiar Tschaikovsk… (more)

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