See the ballet or another film

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 December, 2011, 12:00am


It's hard to criticise a good-hearted, well-intentioned film. Add the fact that it's Christmas-themed, and you'd better approach it with even more caution. There's a certain soft spot in us all that hopes - and prays - that such a film will be worthy of the season.

But when you come across something like Andrei Konchalovsky's adaptation of The Nutcracker, without sounding too much like a Grinch, you tend to forget that sentimental blabber.

Einstein-lookalike Uncle Albert (Nathan Lane) is in town for Christmas. He gives Mary (Elle Fanning) a nutcracker called NC. NC comes alive and reveals he is a prince (Charlie Rowe), under a curse cast by the Rat King (John Turturro) and his mother (Frances de la Tour). They rob kids of their toys and burn them to fill the sky with smoke and ward off sunlight. Mary teams up with the toys to save the kingdom. But was it all a dream?

Fanning, who was nine when the film was shot, is the only decent thing in the film, which is incredibly boring.

There are obvious references to the second world war - the Rat King is Hitler-like, and the toy burning reminds one of Nazi book burnings, there's plenty of war imagery, and the film is set in 20th century Vienna.

Many of the costumes are ripped off from The Wizard of Oz, and NC has the most annoying voice ever recorded - a mix of an old woman and a digitised robot. Sadly, this film justifies Grinchdom.