Care Bears Nutcracker Suite (1988) is the fourth film of the Care Bears. It was aired as a TV special after the third film, The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland, flopped in theatres, then separated into three episodes serving as the Grand Finale of the Nelvana series.
This film is yet another version of The Nutcracker. The film's title is wrong; the term "Nutcracker Suite" properly refers to only the music from The Nutcracker ballet. This Care Bears film does use the Nutcracker Suite as Background Music.
Care Bears Nutcracker Suite provides examples of:
- Adaptation Name Change: Clara is called Anna in this version while Fritz is renamed Peter. (Clara’s original name was Marie.)
- Damsel in Distress: The Sugar Plum Fairy is the Vizier's captive for most of the film.
- Darker and Edgier: The special itself is usual Care Bears fluff... save for one jarring tone shift in a scene where a bunch of injured toys tell how the Vizier came to conquer Toy Land, featuring a shot of the Vizier killing the Prince to correspond with the toys' speculation that he may have been killed, and then going into disturbing detail about how the rats razed entire villages and forced all the inhabitants into slave labor, complete with chains and whips.
- Decomposite Character: The role of the Mouse King is split between the Vizier and the Rat King.
- Evil Chancellor: The Vizier. He's the Big Bad who wants to take over Toyland and ruin Christmas.
- Grand Finale: This is the final property on the Care Bears Family continuity.
- Identical Stranger: Seen at the end. Anna's new neighbor Alan is basically an expy of the Nutcracker.
- It Runs on Nonsensoleum: The toy train runs on candy.
- Mythology Gag: Ms. Walker being revealed to be an adult Anna is similar to the ending of The Care Bears Movie, in which Mr. Cherrywood is revealed to be Nicholas.
- Narrator All Along: Ms. Walker is revealed at the end to be an adult Anna.
- Plot Coupon: The Prince's ring. It has the magic power to instantly fix Toyland as soon as the prince takes it back before the Vizier can find it.
- Portal Network: There appears to be one connecting Toyland with the real world, although exactly what causes the portals to open when and where they do is never explained.
- Replacement Goldfish: Alan, for the Nutcracker. The ending reveals that he and Anna are still in a relationship as adults, although it's not clear whether they're an Official Couple or Just Friends.
- The Reveal: The Nutcracker is, of course, the missing Prince of Toyland.
- Santa Clausmas: The story is about saving Christmas, but no one mentions Jesus, and it gives the impression that the existence of Christmas is solely dependent on toys.
- Saving Christmas: If the villain wrecks Toyland, Christmas will be canceled! For... reasons!
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- The Rat King is another copy of Beastly. He shares Beastly's voice and general characterization. His relationship with the Vizier closely parallels that between Beastly and No Heart.
- The Vizier is basically the Wizard from The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland, minus the same voice actor (and only marginally more menacing).
- Taken for Granite: A variation done with wood rather than stone. This happens to nearly all the Care Bears in the film's climax.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Vizier is trying to do this - all he needs is the ring that belongs to the rightful ruler of Toyland.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained hat happened to the Vizier and the Mice after their defeat.