YMMV / The Nutcracker

The book provides examples of:

  • Squick: It's implied that Marie marries the 15-year-old Nutcracker Prince at the tender age of eight, although to be fair, the book doesn't specify how much time passes between certain events.

The ballet provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Displacement: Were you aware there was a book before the ballet?
  • Awesome Music: Oh, don't tell me you've never heard the Waltz of the Flowers, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, or Trepak without liking it... at least before you've gone insane from hearing them in every single Christmas movie trailer.
    • Or Pas De Deux. It's incredibly romantic, and was written on a dare to write a piece of music that played the scale in order.
      • Ballet critic Arlene Croce pointed out the particular chords bear more than a passing resemblance to a very common Russian Orthodox funerary piece. The theory goes it was in part a musical tribute to Tchaikovksy's Dead Little Sister.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Mother Ginger is very much this. While the other dances in Act 2 are frequently lovely balletic displays, Mother Ginger and her children are played chiefly for laughs.
    • The 1983 Pacific Northwest Ballet version filmed as Nutcracker — The Motion Picture (1986) had set and costume designs by Maurice Sendak and also takes on coming-of-age themes. Clara is played by a young girl in Act One, and Drosselmeyer is, as Roger Ebert and other critics noted, at least a bit of a Dirty Old Man who plunges her into the battle of the Nutcracker and Mouse King. Once the King is killed, the now-human Nutcracker and Clara are played by adults. They travel to a kingdom ruled by a pasha, played by the same actor as Drosselmeyer, who is jealous of their romance and tries to distract her with his dancing subjects (who replace the Land of Sweets characters).
  • Gateway Series: This is many people's first introduction to the ballet as a whole, especially for kids because it's quite family-friendly fare, and for non-theater-goers it's a part of holiday festivities. It's acquired a reputation as "Baby's First Ballet," not entirely unfairly as it's likely to be the first ballet most people see these days.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Some versions, like the Marinsky and Ratamansky versions, apply this to the "Waltz Of The Snowflakes" segment, where the snowflakes take on an almost menacing tone and convey the sense that Clara and the Prince are trapped within a potentially fatal snowstorm. The Marinsky version is literally this—lighting of the scene is very dark, the snowflake dancers are clad in black, and the singing is done by an actual children's choir onstage—the ghosts of children who have frozen to death in these woods in winters past.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: A common criticism from serious ballet fans, especially ones who are tired of seeing companies re-stage The Nutcracker every year rather than embracing edgier (though less commercial) fare. Give them their due; the entire second half of the ballet does take place in the "Land of Sweets."
    • Thanks to the number of dancers now using social media, it's hard to avoid noticing that they're often not so fond of the ballet, either, especially in companies where they may do nothing else for two months straight.
    • Even Tchaikovsky called it "fluff".
  • Values Dissonance: Depending on how much the national divertissements in the Land of Sweets play on stereotypes.
    • The Moor in the Baryshnikov version was done in Blackface.
  • Vindicated by History: Although the music was well-liked, the ballet itself was never very popular until the mid-20th century, when it practically became a Christmas tradition.