IMAX Corporation has chosen this holiday favorite for large screen 3-D treatment this year. But don't expect a ballet with dancers leaping toward you. This production has chosen to do a more straight-forward drama version of the E. A. Hoffman tale. However, Tchiachovsky's ballet music, in abbreviated form, is used as the soundtrack and the Sugar Plum Fairy still gets to dance. Clara makes the annual holiday visit to Uncle Drosselmeier's house with her parents and brother. Although the rest of the family isn't thrilled with their eccentric relative, Clara finds the toy-filled house fascinating. And her uncle seems to be able to almost read her thoughts. She's particualrly drawn to a castle made of spun sugar, kept under glass to keep mice away. As the family leaves Drosselmeier's, Clara is given a large wooden nutcracker painted like a soldier. Walking through the park, Clara's brother grabs the nutcracker and trows it toward an ice cover pond. Despite warnings, Clara chases the sliding toy and falls through the ice. She soon finds herself in a world where toys are bigger than life. But they're threatened by an army of mice and a seven-headed mouse king. The Nutcracker and toys bravely battle the mice until Clara throws her shawl which tangles around the seven-headed king and makes him disappear. To Clara's amazement, the Nutcracker turns into a real prince and takes her to his castle of spun sugar. Sugar Plum, the cook, shows how she keeps the castle together by spining sugar into a fairy figure. With no objectionable elements, THE NUTCRACKER can be a fun outing for the whole family.
The mice and mouse king may scare very young children. Purists may also find fault with 'The 1812 Overature' sneaking in during the battle scene. Although free of offensive material and the 3D, large-screen format dazzles, the acting leaves something to be desired. Peopled with largely unknowns and filmed as a theatrical presentation, the production loses ground with less-than polished stars. But young viewers won't mind as the toys come to life and the sugar castle buzzes with acrobats and colorful movement.
Few times - Mild (pushing and shoving during toy battles)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog:
Seven-headed mouse king may scare youngest viewers
Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)