This classless, desultory "interpretation" of E.T.A. Hoffman's classic tale Shot In Hungary is a wildly overproduced early holiday release that isn't deserving of a wide release, let alone the major markets. It's much worse than the gristle on the dark meat you might have left over from a similarly bloated Thanksgiving feast.
Russian Andrei Konchalovsky's The Nutcracker 3D is a cloudy stereoscopic mishmash of a drama which at least retains a bit of Tchaikovsky's marvelous music though coupled with lousy lyrics by the usually effectual Tim Rice.
Dumbfounded and offended watchers get a little Wizard of Oz and Alice In Wonderland in what comes across as more of a Holocaust parable in Vienna nearly a century ago. Having this glorious ballet (check out a new DVD version) echo with something like The Boy With The Striped Pajamas with plenty of vapid visuals on large sets just goes to show how misguided the director of "Runaway Train" in his long-in-the-making project.
Nathan Lane, who once soared in the likes of "The Birdcage, now sinks into the role of kindly Uncle Albert (presumably Einstein) playing to back row it seems with his vocal prowess.
Albert's cute niece, Mary (nee Clara), done with weaker singing aplomb by Elle Fanning, has visions of a wooden-like prince (Charlie Rowe) from a nutcracker handed to her by him. The prince has a curse on him thanks to the Rat Queen (Frances de la Tour of The Book of Eli and currently Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1). De La Tour also, in Oz fashion, turns out to be Mary's nanny.
A fairly striking Yuliya Vysotskaya (Konchalovsky's wife) also has a double role as Mary's mother and the Sugar Plum Fairy who jettisons them to a place once ruled by the prince.
With some dubious psychological ruminating at one point, things rapidly disintegrate with the Fu hr-like Rat King (John Turturro) in concentration-camp like setting. Maybe the fans of Michael Bay will like the pyrotechnical displays, but for those not a little startled they are more headache-inducing than anything.
Scrapping the ballet this time around after an earlier go-around with a dancing deficient Macaulay Culkin is a garish goulash that detrimentally uses the visually inviting format to make the black smoke from toy incineration something of a whizzy CGI touch. It just reinforces a hideous, misbegotten spectacle, an unintentionally crass Christmas With Adolf.
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