I was super excited for this movie for two reasons - 1. We were finally going to go to a movie in theaters for the first time since leaving the States! and 2. The Nutcracker story holds a special place in my heart and I was excited to see a version of it come to life on the big screen. From about as early as I can remember through my senior year of high school I danced in the Nutcracker every single Christmas season. It still never quite feels like Christmas unless I can enjoy some version of the Nutcracker story.
This movie brings it to life in a whole new way. The story doesn't follow the ballet really at all, though it does keep some key characters like the Herr Drosselmeyer, Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, Mother Ginger, and of course, Clara and the Nutcracker himself. Clara is a young girl who loves to tinker and play around with mechanical things. Her and her two siblings, brother Fritz and a heretofore unheard of sister Louise, are mourning the loss of their mother, when their father gives them the Christmas gifts she left behind for them. Clara's gift starts her on an adventure that takes her to a magical land where the real adventures begin.
I loved every bit of this movie. The musical score of the Nutcracker always brings a smile to my face, and they weaved it in expertly throughout. The story, while changing wildly from the traditional ballet, was creative and enjoyable. Sure, it was a bit predictable, but who cares when it is this much fun to watch! I thought the acting was great all around (afterwards Steve pointed out there were tons of cameos by famous British movie/TV persons that we didn't catch). And of course I loved the ballet dancing that was here and there in the movie!
I think I can confidently say this is one of my new favorite Christmas movies and will be a staple in my holiday viewing for years to come. If you love Christmas movies or the Nutcracker even a little bit, you need to treat yourself to this one. Even if you don't usually like Christmas movies... maybe this will be the one to crack your Grinch-y exterior, so check it out anyway!