HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Nutcracker Prince, The Crack On, KieferBuy this film here.
Year: 1990
Director: Paul Schibili
Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Megan Follows, Peter Boretski, Phyllis Diller, Mike MacDonald, Peter O'Toole, Lynne Gorman, George Merner, Stephanie Morgenstern, Christopher Owens, Diane Stapley, Mona Waserman, Noam Zylberman
Genre: Musical, Animated, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's Christmas Eve, 1850, in Germany, and young Clara (voiced by Megan Follows) feels uncertain about growing up. Disheartened and more than a little jealous of her beautiful older sister, Clara is cheered up by the gift of a fully-automated toy castle and unique Nutcracker doll from her eccentric Uncle Drosselmeier (Peter Boretski). Until the doll is broken by Clara's naughty little brother Fritz (Noam Zylberman). To cheer Clara up Uncle Drosselmeier recounts the story of how his nephew, Hans (Kiefer Sutherland) bravely freed the silly, selfish Princess Perlipat (Mona Waserman) from an evil spell only to be transformed by the vengeful Mouse Queen (Phyllis Diller) into the Nutcracker Prince. At first Clara dismisses this as just as fanciful story. Then later that night she happens upon an army of mice led by the newly-instated Mouse King (Mike MacDonald) attacking a shelf-load of her toys. Whereupon Clara's toys spring to life to defend the household led by the dashing Nutcracker Prince.

The second animated fantasy based on Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet, inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman's short story 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse King', The Nutcracker Prince boasts a cast overqualified for a fairly slight affair. Alongside Kiefer Sutherland, whose masculine Jack Bauer voice is sounds rather jarring coming out of the supposedly fourteen year old Hans (strange to think he did this movie almost back to back with Young Guns II and the original Flatliners), Peter O'Toole relishes his special guest star status with an exuberant turn as comedy relief old codger Pantaloon. An old toy soldier whose attempts at heroism initially prove more hindrance than help. Produced by Kevin Gillis, creator of cult children's cartoon show The Raccoons, The Nutcracker Prince was released straight to video but found favour with Nineties kids who, having worn out their VHS copies of Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin, were willing to settle for something sub-par but in a similar vein.

Of the many screen adaptations of The Nutcracker this, along with Carroll Ballard's Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (1986), ranks among the most faithful to the plot of the ballet. Which unfortunately results in awkward lulls in the story where the dancing ought to be. Like Don Bluth's saccharine adaptation of Thumbelina (1994) The Nutcracker Prince strains hard to mimic that Disney flavour. Yet, while overly sappy and insubstantial, the film is not without its own modest charms. Lavish backgrounds and period art design capture that special candy-coloured Christmas aesthetic beloved by fans. On a technical level the animation is polished, handsome at times but never dazzles the way a world as magical as that of The Nutcracker should. Easily the most entertaining portion of the movie is the story within a story that provides Hans (or is it the Prince?) with an origin. Told using a looser, breezier, staccato style of animation similar to that of the legendary UPA studio, it features more energetic performances and a zanier sense of humour.

Comedy stalwart Phyllis Diller brings some of that old-time screwball verve to her brassy, wisecracking Mouse Queen. She is great fun but exits far too early. Meanwhile the late Canadian comedian Mike MacDonald is genuinely sinister as the ranting psychotic Mouse King. Elsewhere Megan Follows, revered as the best screen incarnation of Anne of Green Gables (1985), gives a spirited turn despite being saddled with a Clara bereft of the fortitude and pluck scripts allotted Elle Fanning and Mackenzie Foy for their roles in The Nutcracker in 3D (2009) and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018). Scripted by Patricia Watson as a fairly generic and straightforward fantasy the film functions adequately as a coming of age fable wherein Clara ultimately rejects eternal youth in the Kingdom of Dolls so she can grow up and fulfill her dreams. Which, appropriately enough, include dancing in the ballet. The film does have the good sense to foreground Tchaikovsky's beautiful music as performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It also features a pop interpretation of 'Waltz of the Flowers' similar to those slushy MOR soul ballads spotlighted in so many Disney animated features of the Nineties.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 278 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: