The Joy of the New York City Ballet in an Exciting Family Holiday Motion Picture.
"A world of adventure and incredible beauty. Macaulay Culkin is excellent. Joel Seigel, Good Morning America
|Angels and sugarplums, a magic prince, a dreamy young girl, a mysterious old man and a Christmas tree that grows sky high. Enter the world of this enhanting new version of the timeless Yuletide fantasy, featuring the New York City Ballet and narrated by Kevin Kline.|
Macaulay Culkin (Nutcracker Prince) joins Darci Kistler (Sugarplum Fairy), Damian Woetzel (Cavalier), Kyra Nichols (Dewdrop), Bart Robinson Cook (Drosselmeier) and Jessica Lynn Cohen (Marie) for a sparkling movie directed by Emile Ardolino (Sister Act, Gypsy). The gift of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker is the loveliest you'll find under any tree.
"Delightful! My own kids are begging for a chance to see it again. Michael Medved, New York Post
"Exhilarating! Cause for rejoicing--like having the best seats anyone has ever had for The Nutcracker. Newsweek
"...an enduring Yuletide classic. Pamela Bruce, Austin Chronicle
"Captivating! Magic is conjured in one glorious scene after another. Stephen Holden, The New York Times
A lavish production of the Tchaikovsky ballet with state-of-the-art special effects.
Cast & Crew
New York Times
"...Magic....The camera enhances the fluency of the dancing and of the sweeping Tchaikovsky score..."|
"...A handsome version of the ballet..." -- Rating: B
"...Attractive....Gracefully and professionally executed....[The film] warmly evokes a festive Old World Christmas..."
ReelViews 7 of 10
For those not familiar with the story, The Nutcracker presents the magical, dreamlike Christmas Eve of a little girl named Marie (Jessica Lynn Cohen), who is escorted through various wondrous realms by a prince (Macaulay Culkin), culminating in a grand gala in the Hall of the Sugarplum Fairy (Darci Kistler). There is a great deal of dancing, some of it spectacular, with everything unfolding to the strains of Tchaikovsky's unparalleled score...The main problem with the movie is that it opts to present a relatively mundane version of the stage production. Utilizing almost none of the advantages offered by the medium, The Nutcracker stumbles when it should soar. Since there's no way for a motion picture to capture the feeling of watching a live performance, this presentation should offer something that transcends the stage's boundaries. It doesn't, and therein lies The Nutcracker's chief flaw...The pacing is uneven, with the first half of the film moving like molasses...The saving grace of this screen adaptation of The Nutcracker is that the source material is so good that it can survive even a flat interpretation. However, with a little more verve and imagination, this Nutcracker could have become an all-time classic holiday film.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 6 of 10
There are no doubt those who leap with glee as the holiday season approaches, eager to have another chance to see "The Nutcracker." I am not among their number. I've had it up to here with "The Nutcracker," which has been so overexposed that even Tchaikovsky's wonderful music has become too familiar. There ought to be some kind of rationing system for great music; United Airlines should be ashamed of buying the rights to "Rhapsody in Blue" and making it cheap as a commercial jingle...All of which brings us to "George Balanchine's the Nutcracker," the first movie, so far as I know, with a possessive title in honor of a dead choreographer. Usually that honor goes only to living directors with clout, as in "Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas." Tchaikovsky and Balanchine and the New York City Ballet notwithstanding, this "Nutcracker's" biggest name is twee little Macaulay Culkin, who plays the nutcracker and doubles as one of the children treated to a night's fantasy of dance and enchantment..."The Nutcracker" is fine as what it is, but need not become a habit. My advice is to limit one's viewing to certain passages in life. One should see it once as a child, once as a parent and once as a grandparent. If one does not become a parent or a grandparent, in this particular case that's just plain good luck.
- Roger Ebert