Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Velvet Blog in 3D

It's been ages, but The Velvet Blog occasionally likes to soften the blow of particularly harsh film reviews by appending the phrase "Garnish with Fluffernutter."

Why? Because we can.

Today's poorly received film is Andrei Konchalovsky's The Nutcracker. Er, no, actually, it's The Nutcracker in 3D. Really, that's the official title. (I think it's a pretty solid rule of thumb that any movie that includes 3D as part of its official title is going to be rough going.)

Roger Ebert is somewhat taken aback:
From what dark night of the soul emerged the wretched idea for “The Nutcracker in 3D”? Who considered it even remotely a plausible idea for a movie? It begins with an awkward approximation of the story behind the Tchaikovsky ballet, and then turns it into a war by the Nutcracker Prince against the Holocaust.

Am I exaggerating? At one point, the evil Rat King (John Turturro) has his troopers snatch toys from the hands of children so they can be tossed into furnaces, and the smoke will emerge from high chimneys to blot out the sun.

Yes. And the rats are dressed in fascistic uniforms. Against them stand our heroine Mary (Elle Fanning) and her Christmas present, a nutcracker (voice of Shirley Henderson) that has imprisoned a handsome prince (Charlie Rowe). And two-legged helicopters swoop low over screaming children, and the city is laid waste, and the rats dream of world domination.

You may be in disbelief. I was. “The Nutcracker in 3D” is one of those rare holiday movies that may send children screaming under their seats. ...

Only one thing could have made this film worse, and they haven’t neglected it. That would be to present it in 3-D. They have.

Garnish with Fluffernutter.

Ouch. Not even my addition of Fluffernutter will help.

I leave you with The New York Times' explanation of the film's PG rating:
“The Nutcracker in 3D” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). No blood but quite a bit of suspense and violence, including an electrocuted shark and a decapitation.

Because nothing says Happy Holidays quite like an electrocuted shark. (Which, oddly, I don't remember from the stage production.)

In all fairness, Scrooge, the 1970 musical version of A Christmas Carol, scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.


Scott said...

I had the same reaction to the Albert Finney Scrooge as a child; even, or especially, when it tried to become heart-warming I continued to find it bone-chilling. And for all I know it was a creditable, perhaps even admirable interpretation of the story, but I was too traumatized to revisit it, even in adulthood. said...

A Christmas Carol is supposed to be scary, isn't it? It don't think the original was specifically intended for children, although Victorian children were treated quite a bit more harshly than children are today.

I don't remember whether I originally saw the Finney Scrooge in the theaters or on TV, but I do remember that the second time I saw it, on TV, the scene in which he goes into the grave and winds up in hell was cut out.

Jim Donahue said...

It should be scary--but somehow seeing the actual images seems scarier (or at least scarier to a kid) than the words. I don't think my mom, taking her 8-year-old to a musical, G-rated Saturday matinee was expecting something quite so intense. The MPAA was a LOT more lenient giving out G ratings in those days.