Title: The Nutcracker in 3D

Directed by: Andrey Konchalovskiy

Starring: Elle Fanning (Astro Boy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Nathan Lane (Hitman 2, Swing Vote), John Turturro (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and Frances de la Tour

Sometimes the most impressive places are only in people’s imaginations, but the obstacles they overcome in their dreams still significantly change their outlook on life. This is definitely the most important message put forth in Cinemarket Films’ new Christmas movie, ‘The Nutcracker in 3D.’ The new take on the classic fairytale not only expertly shows the struggle between good and evil through new characters and plot points, but also sticks to the original story’s lesson of the importance of love and courage.

The film follows Mary (played by Elle Fanning), a nine-year-old Viennese girl who is upset that her parents left her and her brother Max (portrayed by Aaron Michael Drozin) with their Uncle Albert (played by Nathan Lane) on Christmas night. While their mother (portrayed by Ulia Vistskaya) is excited to be singing for peers, Mary wants nothing more than an exciting evening with her family on their special day.

Mary’s night suddenly improves when her Uncle Albert gives her a special toy, a wooden Nutcracker (played by Charlie Rowe), who likes to be called “NC.” Mary believes in NC’s enchantment, and therefore he comes to life. He brings Mary into a magical world of fairies and sugarplums, but her fascination is suddenly turned upside down when she discovers he’s really the prince of his own planet.

NC, who was once a boy, was turned into a toy by the evil Rat King (portrayed by John Turturro). The Rat King wants to rule NC’s planet. Therefore, the Rat King has his mother put a spell on NC so he can’t come back to life and take his power back. But Mary and NC’s friends do whatever it takes to help him reclaim his planet and his power.

Although Lane is no stranger to musicals and was attracted to this new telling of the beloved ballet because he wanted to do a family film, most audiences will surely be drawn to Fanning. As the film’s executive producer Moritz Borman said, she was “the absolute perfect choice…She’s a phenomenon. Never seen so much talent packed into such a small frame.”

While the 12-year-old actress looks just like her older sister, ‘The Twilight Saga’ star Dakota, viewers of ‘The Nutcracker in 3D’ will instantly see that acting comes just as naturally to Elle as her sister. Even at such a young age, with her convincing and heartfelt portrayal of Mary, Fanning instantly has become one of the top up-and-coming actresses to watch.

Fanning has such a deep connection to Mary that she makes it easy for viewers to believe they’re right alongside her, fighting the Rat King to set NC and his planent free. Mary is also a great influence for kids, as she doesn’t let anyone stand in her way or tell her what to do. For example, when her father (played by Richard E. Grant) tells her that she’s only dreaming that NC is real, she doesn’t give up. She goes right back to her room to help NC with his crusade to take down the Rat King.

‘The Nutcracker in 3D’ has a great message for children, teaching them that like Mary, they can do whatever they put their minds to. Even if people tell them that their dreams are impossible to reach, like Mary’s father told her, kids will learn that with a take-charge attitude, nothing is beyond their reach.

However, that message may be lost on most children, as they’ll be fascinated by the film’s creative and colorful sets, including Mary’s family’s Christmas tree, and its impressive special effect, such as when she flies with snow fairies. While director Andrei Konchalovsky has been dreaming of adapting ‘The Nutcracker’ into a live-action film for the big screen for 40 years, he definitely made the right decision to wait until now to make it. As he has said, “CGI and visual effects are so advanced today that the only limit is your imagination.”

While ‘The Nutcracker in 3D’ is definitely aimed at children, as they’ll be the most dazzled by its beautiful sets, it also sends a great message. Mary’s take-charge, fearless attitude proves that dreams really do come true, no matter what obstacles people have to overcome.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Nutcracker in 3D
Nutcracker in 3D

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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