Photo Credit: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP
Everyone knows The Nutcracker, right? Maybe your dance school did the ballet when you were five and you were stuck being a mouse when you reeeally wanted to be a sugar plum fairy, but those parts were reserved for the fifth-graders. Or you've watched the 1977 Mikhail Baryshnikov version of the ballet on PBS. Or you just know the Tchaikovsky music from 6,000 holiday commercials.
Now: picture The Nutcracker as an action-adventure movie. Like Die Hard.
If you're having trouble with this concept, you're not the only one. Since New Line announced that they would be turning The Nutcracker (specifically, the short story on which the ballet is based) into an action movie, the movie blogosphere has been full of ridicule. Says the blog Slashfilm: "I feel like I’ve gone out to the movies with the Simpsons, and alongside all the crappy inevitable action movie sequels on the marquee is the version of the Nutcracker starring Bruce Willis as the mouse king."
We see their point, but we must respectfully disagree: We think The Nutcracker as an action film is kind of an awesome idea. And that's because the original story is crazy. Author ETA Hoffman wrote horror as well as fantasy, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King has its fair share of Stephen King-ish elements. The mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer, who's practically Santa Claus in the ballet, is seriously creepy in the story. After he gifts his niece Marie with a magical dollhouse and a nutcracker doll, he begins to appear in her nightmares, orchestrating a battle between the toys and a terrifying seven-headed mouse king. During the day, he tells her an elaborate story about how nutcrackers are actually real people who have been cursed with ugliness. Soon the dream world and the real world get all mixed up, and Marie nearly gets trapped in the doll's kingdom forever. Spoiler: there are no sugar plum fairies.
The screenwriter, who also wrote the upcoming fairy tale film Jack the Giant Killer, says that The Nutcracker will be a family-friendly adventure, similar to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If he models it after the Hoffman story, it will be kind of like a Disney princess movie by way of David Lynch. Which sounds almost as fun to watch as Baryshnikov in tights.
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Do you think a live-action Nutcracker film is a fun idea? Chime in below!