Dancers all around the world dream of becoming Clara Stahlbaum, the main character in the Nutcracker ballet. When Disney announced their own version of the Nutcracker film, there was a lot of excitement leading up to it. With a cast full of renowned actors, it was expected to do well in the box office. But, was all the anticipation leading up to the film really worth the hype?
As someone who participates in a version of the Nutcracker every year, I was anxious to see how closely the movie followed the original storyline of the ballet. There are, in fact, many plot differences in Disney’s film. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how these differences were executed.
One of the most noticeable differences in the plot was how the character, Mother Ginger, was changed. In the ballet, she is seen as a cheery, motherly figure to the gingerbread boys and girls in the Land of Sweets. In the film, she is portrayed as a wicked being, who wants power over the other Realms.
Another major difference is the absence of some of the major characters from the ballet. In the ballet, there are many characters that dance for Clara in the Land of Sweets, including Candy Canes and Chinese Tea. During the movie, these characters are completely erased.
The movie follows the story of how Clara Stahlbaum discovers an alternate world called the Four Realms. She learns that the Fourth Realm is home to the evil Mother Ginger, who fought against the other realms to gain power, but failed. The Sugar Plum Fairy is the regent of the Land of Sweets. She tells Clara that she plans to build an army to fight Mother Ginger using a machine that was created by Clara’s mother, the Queen of the Realms.
The differences in the plot from the original ballet added a new perspective on the characters and really allowed the viewer to get to know the characters’ personalities in a deeper manner. While there are some characters omitted from the film that were in the ballet, the characters that were added made a positive contribution to the movie.
Critics were on the fence about this movie. Some seemed to enjoy it, but the movie earned an overall 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 3 out of 5 on Common Sense Media. A review from the New York Times called the movie “a family holiday movie that will do well enough for now; it probably won’t linger in your memory long enough to make it until the next inevitable adaptation comes around.”
Despite expert reviews, If you are looking for a classic, family-friendly Christmas movie, Disney’s Nutcracker film is likely the movie for you. This movie is still showing in theatres (as of 11/28/2018), so get your tickets now!