The Nutcracker in 3D: Nathan Lane and Nazi Rats!
Announced at Cannes in 2007 and scheduled to shoot that summer, Andrei Konchalovskys version of The Nutcracker arrives several Thanksgivings past its due dateCGI-enhanced, 3-D-retrofitted, and bizarrely high-concept. As co-scripted by Konchalovsky, The Nutcracker 3D is closer to the E.T.A. Hoffmann story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King than to Tchaikovskys snowflake-dusted Sugarplum Fairy fest; nominally set in 1920s Vienna, its less a dance-film than an operetta, with Tim Rices lyrics put to Tchaikovskys music. Nathan Lane, wearing a gray fright wig and mimicking Walter Slezaks Sachertorte accent, is the kindly godfather; the little heroine is Elle Fanning, noticeably more childish here than she will appear next month in Sofia Coppolas Somewhere, but nonetheless rivaling big sister Dakotas knack for the sudden shrill scream. John Turturro plays the villainous Rat King in make-up that makes him look alarmingly like Phil Spector. Sigmund Freud is repeatedly name-checked, but the influence of another onetime Vienna resident is far more evident: The evil rodents who take over the city in a bit of 9/11-evoking terror are nothing less than Ratzisthey even operate an extermination camp for childrens toys, complete with crematoria. Konchalovsky not only anticipated Toy Story 3s dump truck to hell sequence, he exceeded it. In one fantastic bit of business, Turturro (or his avatar) dances an exultant flamenco amid toys heaped in the street like bundles of confiscated clothing. The wildest thing about this movie is its faith that what kids (and parents) really want for Christmas is a Nutcracker version of the Final Solution.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.