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The Nutcracker in 3D

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The Nutcracker in 3D
The nutcracker art.jpg
This is why making a scary retelling of a classic Christmas ballet is a horrible idea...
Genre: Christmas
Directed By: Andrei Konchalovsky
Produced By: Andrei Konchalovsky
Paul Lowin
Written By: Andrei Konchalovsky
Chris Solimine
Based On: The Nutcracker
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Starring: Elle Fanning
Nathan Lane
John Turturro
Charlie Rowe
Frances de la Tour
Aaron Michael Drozin
Richard E. Grant
Julia Vysotskaya
Jonny Coyne
Hugh Sachs
Shirley Henderson
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Mike Southon
Distributed By: G2 Pictures (United Kingdom)
Vertigo Média Kft. (Hungary)
Release Date: November 24, 2010 (Canada)
December 8, 2011 (Hungary)
December 28, 2012 (United Kingdom)
Runtime: 110 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Budget: $90 million
Box Office: $20.5 million

The Nutcracker in 3D (released on DVD as The Nutcracker: The Untold Story) is a 2010 British-Hungarian 3D Christmas musical fantasy thriller film adapted from the ballet, The Nutcracker.


In 1920s Vienna, a young girl receives a magical doll from her uncle, Albert Einstein (yes, that Albert Einstein), on Christmas Eve.

Why It Cracked

  1. Extremely horrible and beyond awful acting, even from actors such as Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane, John Turturro and Richard E. Grant, with the child actors being the worst offenders.
  2. Not only is it extremely unfaithful to the source material, but it also completely changes the plot of what made the original story/ballet such a magical tale.
  3. The Nutcracker Prince's design as a Nutcracker toy is creepy and unnerving.
    • In addition, Tinker's design bears an uncanny resemblance to serial killer John Wayne Gacy's "Pogo the Clown" alter ego.
  4. The cinematography and camera angles are very weak and cheap-looking.
  5. It contains several unnecessarily creepy scenes for a movie, including but not limited to:
    • A scene where the Rat King electrocutes a shark with a lamp.
    • A scene where the Rat King places a nut on the table and smashes it using a prisoner's head, which copies the "disappearing pen" scene from The Dark Knight.
    • Mary spraying ink in the Rat King's face, causing him to go feral.
    • A robot dog jumping in front of the camera to scare off the Nutcracker.
  6. The plot of the film is very confusing, as the movie can't decide whether it's supposed to be real or all just a dream.
  7. To make the writing seem even more weird, they literally added Albert Einstein as an uncle to the main characters.
    • Also, it would make no sense for Einstein to celebrate Christmas, since he was Jewish in real-life.
  8. The visuals and special effects are nightmarish and awfully cheesy, like when the Rat King pulls the Little Drummer Boy's head right off.
    • The CGI itself is also of rather low quality.
  9. The side-plots are just plain dumb and pointless, like how we find out Einstein carries a bunch of "lucky pebbles" around with him.
  10. The rat people are ugly and they look more like humans with rat-like textures on their faces.
  11. Pointless, dull songs and musical numbers. The songs are also poorly written and badly sung, too.
    • Also, for an unneeded reason, they add lyrics to most of the original soundtrack of the Nutcracker ballet and Tchaikovsky's other musical works.
  12. The fourth-wall breaks from Einstein feel out of nowhere and overall unneeded.
  13. A predictably lame "happy fairy tale" ending.
  14. Godawful final battle, which involves the Rat King and Queen turning back into rats. This seems pretty obvious, yet the movie treats it like it’s supposed to be some kind of twist.
  15. For unknown and unnecessary reasons, the rats are all Nazis and even recreate the Holocaust by gathering up children, taking their toys away (which are clarified as living people in this universe) and burning them in factories to fill the sky with smoke.
    • During the scene where the toys are being burned, the Rat King decides to do an upbeat song.
    • Adding even more bad taste, the Rat King literally takes pictures of the crying children and shrieks like a madman.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Even if the songs are poorly written, the music itself is well composed.
  2. The costume and production designs look nice.
  3. While the cinematography is bad, some of the sets are very nice to look at like the town, the factory and the bedroom.


Upon its release in North America, the film was met with a unanimously negative response. It managed to receive a 0% "rotten" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 28 critics' reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Misguided, misconceived, and misbegotten on every level, The Nutcracker in 3D is a stunning exercise in astonishing cinematic wrong-headedness". It achieved a score of 18/100 "overwhelming dislike" on fellow aggregate Metacritic. Metacritic would later rank it the "Worst Limited Release" film of 2010. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it one out of four stars and asked "From what dark night of the soul emerged the wretched idea for The Nutcracker in 3D?". Ebert went on to claim it as "one of those rare holiday movies that may send children screaming under their seats".

Claudia Puig of USA Today accused the film of being "contrived, convoluted, amateurish and tedious", and panned it for lacking any trace of ballet, unlike several previous versions of The Nutcracker. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Lisa Schwarzbaum gave it its only positive review from a professional film critic, awarding it a B+ and remarking "Attention, university film clubs: Here's your cult-ready midnight-movie programming".



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