The Nutcracker Prince Reviews
Plot: Set around the 19th century, the movie starts with a young girl named Clara and her family celebrating Christmas Eve. During the Christmas celebration with many of the family's friends, the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeier gives Clara a Nutcracker that she becomes very fond of. Uncle Drosselmeier tells Clara the story of how the Nutcracker was his nephew who was transformed into a nutcracker by the Mouse Queen for revenge over breaking her spell on the princess of a far away land. Later that night, Clara sneaks into the toy cabinet to play with the nutcracker while everyone is asleep. But suddenly Uncle Drosselmeier appears and uses magic so that the Nutcracker and all the other toys come to life to fight the now dead Mouse Queen's son, the Mouse King.
This is not really a good movie, but it could've been much better. What really killed it for me was when Uncle Drosselmeier was telling Clara the story about the Nutcracker and the animation was completely different. Basically the movie all of the sudden started to focus more on making Looney Toons kind of comedy. In a way it kind makes sense in terms of trying to get it into the younger crowd, but it's already an animated film so they don't need to go that far. There's plenty of cartoon humor even after Uncle Drosselmeir tells the story. So they should've stuck with the animation from the movie in general rather than make a whole total change of animation and style for just that particular part of the movie. And there were quite a couple of lines that just really didn't make sense. So the really good parts were just the last 20 minutes. I mean it may not be spectacular, but to me they set it up well enough to really work as a climax in my opinion. Plus what's kind weird yet interesting is that some of the voice actors are Peter O'Toole, Phyllis Diller and even Kiefer Sutherland.
Clara: Clara was an okay character. In a way they did a good job with her character, but at the same time, they left you with things about her that you wish they got more into such as her view about growing up.
Hanz/Nutcracker: He was good. Nuthun really stood out when it came to him. Really he was another one of those title characters where all the other characters in the film are shown way more than he is.
The Mouse King: He was decent villain, you have to like how they at least try to make him both evil and funny. Though apparently in the book, the Mouse King had seven heads so I wonder what it would've been like if they went with that.
Music: What mostly made the music good was that a lot of it was the score from the actual ballet of The Nutcracker. But the problem was that there was also music during the story Uncle Drosselmeier told that also didn't really work.
And that's my review for The Nutcracker Prince. It was not well made because the change of animation and style earlier in the film kinda ruined it. But the last 20 minutes was good enough even after 15-18 years of my view of film growing that I find it to be good enough to be one of those movies that I have a guilty pleasure over.
The voice acting is incredible. Megan Follows did great as Clara with her lovely voice, Phyllis Diller did a good job as the wicked and creepy Mousequeen, Peter O'Toole did great as Pantaloon who was so funny during the movie, Mike McDonald did a fantastic job portraying the funny and frightening Mouseking. Yes, there are some violence in a kids movie and would frighten those who are 8-12, but the action was very intense (I found that character a perfect description from the book since he was the one who had gotten so much abuse from his mother. In fact, I felt sorry for him). Peter Boretski did very good as Uncle Drosselmeier and let's not forget Kiefer Sutherland's amazing performance as Hans/The Nutcracker with just a right tone for the prince.
The music is the best aspect throughout the entire film. The sparkling motifs from his beautiful ballet score captured the spirit of the story with emotional moments where Clara decides to go back to her home and grow up instead of staying with the Nutcracker which is heartbroken and her final battle with a dying Mouseking.
The Nutcracker Prince is an enjoyable experience for me and I think this would be recommended to Nutcracker fans as not only one of the best Christmas films of all time, but one of the best Nutcracker adaptations to date from the classic 90s.
Nothing could be further then the truth. This enchanting title from my childhood featured only one moment when I could not watch without getting scared and that was the scene where the mouse queen cursed the beautiful Princess in the fairytale. Other then that I was quite happy to sit back and enjoy the magic.
I would like to point out in response to Entertainment weekly that the Mouse queen and the mouse king are the only abusive characters in the film and the only antagonisers. As such the mouse queen is abusive to her son, calling him stupid, while the parents and guardians of Clara and the Prince are loving and supportive characters who are always nurturing and never belittling.
Similarly Roger Ebert is very quick to criticize the film merely on the death of the villain. In both attempts to slay the mouse king the heroes do not provoke attack but rather run from the danger and try to respond non-violently as much as possible. The mouse king in both instances falls to his death with very little visual support from the film but more implied imagery. This is far different to say Anastasia where Rasputin deteriorates into ashes before the eye of the audience or the Black Cauldron where the Horned King's flesh is pulled from his bones before he implodes.
All in all the Nutcracker Prince is a charming affair where the good characters do not provoke or encourage violence but instead attempt to go on a magical adventure to save their friends and break the curse placed on the hero. If it weren't for the villains constantly trying to off them then there would be no violence at all. So lets let the violence go and stop criticizing this film on the actions of the bad guys when it is the messages put forth by the heroes that stick with the children of today. :)