The Nuttiest Nutcracker
The Nuttiest Nutcracker is a 1999 direct to video computer-animated Christmas special based on The Nutcracker, and directed by Harold Harris.
On a snowy Christmas Eve, Marie (Debi Derryberry) and her brother Fritz (Derryberry) are home alone with their Uncle Drosselmeyer (Jim Cummings). Marie and Fritz's parents are away for the night and Marie is dismayed at having to spend Christmas Eve without them. She then wishes for Christmas to go away forever.
A group of anthropomorphic nuts, Colonel (Jeff Bennett), Mac (Cheech Marin), Sparkle (Desirée Goyette), Stash (Kevin Schon), and Gramps (Cummings), overhear her plight, but become relieved at the scene of Uncle Drosselmeyer giving his niece and nephew Christmas gifts: a cannon for Fritz and a nutcracker doll for Marie. The nuts believe that the doll may be their prince (Cam Clarke) and proceed to tell Little Pea (Tress MacNeille), the youngest of the nuts, the story of how the nutcracker prince's relationship with a princess cursed by a mouse queen had turned him into a wooden figure, revealing that only true love will break the spell. Fritz takes the nutcracker from Marie. A chase up the ladder of the Christmas tree ensues, resulting in the doll falling hard to the floor. Upset by how "hurt" her nutcracker is, Marie turns Fritz away. She forgives her brother later in private, telling her nutcracker that out of all her gifts, she loves him the most. After kissing the doll on the lips, Marie becomes tired and falls asleep.
The nuts fall asleep as well, unaware of being targeted by the mouse queen's son, Reginald (Jim Belushi). He plans to steal the Christmas star on the top of the tree and take over the Christmas Kingdom. With his army of mice, he attempts to capture the nuts. The nuts fight toy soldiers, who prove no match against the mice. Mac stages a coup d'état with his own army of fruits and vegetables. The foods are eventually exhausted by fighting; Gramps is captured by three mice. Marie, awakened by the battle, sees her doll alive and fighting Reginald. Marie intervenes; Reginald is infatuated with her, but she brushes the mouse off her foot using the Christmas star. However, as the foods celebrate their victory, Marie is magically reduced to the nutcracker prince's height by Uncle Drosselmeyer.
The foods inform Marie that without the Christmas star, Christmas will be "gone forever". Fortunately, Marie still has the star. They head into the Sugar Plum Fairy's kingdom to seek help in getting the star back on the tree. Just as the entourage reaches the fairy's castle, Reginald shows up and captures Marie. Imprisoned in the cheese foundry of Reginald's palace, Marie laments her failure to save Christmas and imagines herself slow dancing with the prince in a chapel to emotional music. She is then summoned by Reginald, who offers to marry her. She refuses, but eventually sympathizes with the mouse king after learning that no one has given him a single Christmas gift.
The prince and the foods arrive at Reginald's palace, adamant on rescuing Marie and the others captured by Reginald's army. The foods are reluctant at first, but agree to sneak into the palace after noticing the prince's courage. Reginald and his sergeant perform a dance number. The prince is reunited with Marie. Chaos ensues when Reginald overhears a black-eyed pea laughing at him for not winning Marie's heart; a chase on flying motorcycles made of crackers and olives follows suit. In the middle of the chase, Reginald's palace starts to collapse. After the foods are rescued, Reginald falls into the cheese river due to his vehicle running out of fuel. Marie, having grown soft for the king, saves him and loses the star in the process. Reginald admits that it was "the first nice thing that anyone had ever done to [him]" before producing the star to Marie.
The group arrives at the Sugar Plum Fairy's castle, where she reveals that the Christmas star is able to grant any wish including the power to bring Marie's parents home. After making her wish, Marie gently tosses the star to the ceiling and the screen fades to white. Marie wakes up to find her parents greeting her along with Uncle Drosselmeyer and a guest resembling the prince. The film ends with Marie and the prince sharing a kiss while Mac and the nuts provide the mistletoe.
In the credits, the Sugar Plum Fairy stops the end sequence by requesting thanks for her role in saving the Christmas Kingdom. This occurs three times with no apparent thanks before the movie ends.
Why Christmas Goes Horribly Nuts
- The idea of adding anthropomorphic fruits, vegetables and nuts in a Nutcracker story can get really confusing.
- The animation is pretty low quality and quite effortless looking, which is ridiculous for 1999 standards. There were animation errors and clipping issues that were sometimes present.
- The story is a great idea, but it is not well-executed, and the result of the story is nonsensical and frustratingly idiotic.
- The original Nutcracker source material isn't grasped well in this film.
- Marie is a bland and weak protagonist.
- By looking at the video cover, you will think the foods are the main characters, but when you watch the movie, it will turn out that Marie is technically the protagonist.
- For the most part, the characters are annoying. And considering this is only almost 50 minutes long, they barely even get enough development time.
- The Nutcracker Prince doesn't do much but fight the Mouse Army.
- While the character designs on the fruits and nuts are decent, they might look like copies of VeggieTales characters.
- The weak humor doesn't stand well and falls flat most of the time.
- While the voice acting is good, it can be somewhat annoying at times.
- The musical numbers aren't good and can be summed up as forgetful.
- A lot of useless filler that only exists to pad out the runtime.
- The voice acting is pretty good, even though it can get pretty annoying at times, as mentioned above on WCGHN #12, particularly from Debi Derryberry, Cheech Marin, Phyllis Diller and Jim Belushi.
- The characters can actually be tolerable at times.
- Reginald, despite his implied bestiality, is a likable character and an entertaining antagonist.
- The story was a wonderful idea; it just needs better execution.
- The animation does look nice in some scenes.
- The character designs are okay despite looking like rip-offs of the VeggieTales characters.
- It does teach us some good morals about helping others and keeping a good attitude no matter how badly the things you wish worked out go.
- While most of the humor is weak, there are still some very good funny moments here and there.
- "Keep the Faith" was a pretty good and somewhat catchy song.
- It's kind of funny that the company that animated this movie ended up animating VeggieTales from 2004-2008.