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Film / The Nutcracker in 3D

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The Nutcracker in 3D, also known as The Nutcracker: The Untold Story on DVD, is the 2010 film version of the classic story and ballet directed by Andrei Konchalovsky and starring Nathan Lane and Elle Fanning.

As per the original story, young Mary receives a nutcracker doll from her uncle come Christmas Eve, which turns out to be a young prince who was turned into a doll by the evil Rat King when his army overthrew his kingdom. Now the Rat King and his army have the prince's subjects underfoot, all the while burning toys in a bid to blot out the sun with the resultant smoke, in hopes of making the world safe for ratkind forever.

Naturally, it's up to our heroes to stop them — even as Mary's quest is hobbled by the rest of her family's disbelief that it isn't All Just a Dream she's having.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Clara and Fritz have their names changed to Mary and Max respectively.
  • Adaptation Species Change: The Mouse King is now a Rat King, probably because rats are seen as less cute than mice.
  • All Just a Dream: The film ends with a Or Was It a Dream? as Mary meets Uncle Albertís new neighbour Nicholas Charles who looks a lot like the nutcracker prince.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Max since he is basically Fritz form the book and the ballet.
  • Ass Pull: In-Universe. The Rat King expounds on the joys of his evil empire.
    Rat King: "An empire that will last... (pulling number out of ass) a THOOOOOUSAND YEARS!".
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: As part of his Establishing Character Moment, the Rat King electrocutes his own pet shark at the end of his Villain Song.
  • Big Bad: The Rat King, leader of the rat army who wants to take over the world.
  • Blatant Lies: Mary tells Frau Eva the noise in her bedroom was her pillows combusting (and not NC coming to life).
  • Book Ends: The film starts and ends at a skating rink in Vienna.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Uncle Albert delivers a few monologues directly at the camera.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Rat King, especially during "Ratification", afterwards he takes pictures of crying children to "Spanish Dance".
  • Dark Reprise: If you listen closely, "The Lights Go Out" has a similar melody to Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Reed Flutes," albeit in a minor key in some parts. Needless to say, "Dance of the Reed Flutes" was not originally about Nazi rat men plotting to fill the world with darkness.
  • Darker and Edgier: Hoo boy. There are Nazi allegories, a characterís is briefly decapitated and the nutcracker almost gets incinerated.
  • Dull Surprise: Let's just say that Elle Fanning's acting could charitably be described as... restrained.
  • Gonk: The Rat Queen as she appears as a human with a ratís face.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Several of the characters sport this since the film is set in The Roaring '20s.
  • Historical Character's Fictional Relative: It's heavily implied that Mary's uncle Albert is Albert Einstein.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Downplayed. The rats are burning toys to din the sky so the surface world is more suitable for them.
  • Irony:
    • Considering the Nazis compared "undesirables" (especially Jews) to rats, the infamous "Ratzis" are pretty ironic indeed.
    • On a similar note, a couple of the Rat King's songs are pretty jazzy, even though the Nazis hated jazz.
  • Karma Houdini: While their regime is toppled, the Rat King and his mother the Rat Queen escape by transforming into rats and running into the sewers.
  • Modest Royalty: Despite his high status, the Rat King is usually seen wearing a dark blue Nehru suit.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Movie. This film takes the Nutcracker story... and combines it with Holocaust imagery, but with a pretty shoddy execution; it's too dark to be considered whimsical, but it's also too dumb and awkwardly written to be taken seriously, resulting in a complete tonal mess.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Rat King and his army of "Ratzis", who even operate toy crematoria!
  • Putting on the Reich: The rats have uniform that reassemble Nazi uniforms, including the signature helmet shape for soldiers, the high collar uniforms for higher officers, and even some Pickelhaubes among top-ranking rats. The Rat King even proclaims that his empire will last a thousand years.
  • Rewritten Pop Version: One of the film's major selling points was that the ballet's timeless score would have new lyrics by Tim Rice.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Rat King gets the band to play upbeat music while the rats burn toys and he takes photos of the crying children.
  • Steampunk: Only applies to the rat machinery and architecture such as the helicopter and for a very dark example, the factory that burns toys.
  • Thousand-Year Reign: The Rat King proclaims that his evil empire will last a thousand years.
  • Villain Song: The Rat King has "The Lights Go Out," in which he sings about how he hates humans and light and wants to take over the world.
  • Wicked Cultured: The Rat King proves to have a large and elegant vocabulary in "The Lights Go Out," even speaking in Latin for one line.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The bad guys are rats... and Nazi analogues.


The Rat King

And you thought the creepy Nutcracker was bad...

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