Arts and Culture

Reviewing the worst Christmas film of all time

Rotten Tomatoes describes ‘The Nutcracker in 3D’ as “misguided, misconceived, and misbegotten on every level”.

The review website lists it as the worst Christmas film of all time.

It is rated 0/100. 

So I decided to watch it.

The 2010 release was directed by Andrei Konchalovsky and Paul Lowin, who have overseen just six films between them since.

On this showing, it’s easy to see why.

The British-Hungarian musical fantasy thriller was widely criticised on its release due to its serious deviations from Tchaikovsky’s epic, as well as the rat army’s baffling similarities to the Nazi regime. 

Unsurprisingly, it proved to be a Box Office bomb, recuperating just ¢20 million of its reported ¢90 million budget. 

The movie begins with a waiter skating on an ice rink carrying some champagne and he looks set to take a tumble before the cameras pan away. 

Visual comedy without any of the visual aspect. Off to a good start. 

Albert Einstein (yes really) then arrives to look after his niece Mary and nephew Max, bringing the Nutcracker doll with him.

After a musical performance that makes me want to mute the film and turn the subtitles on, the Nutcracker comes to life and I hear his shrill, incredibly annoying voice for the first time.

As per his request in the film, he will henceforth be referred to as ‘NC’.

Now NC might be from a different era but it’s an interesting director choice to make a wooden doll in a children’s film so misogynistic. 

NC reveals that every toy in the house is now alive but even Buzz Lightyear and Woody couldn’t save this disaster.

The CGI in this film is arguably as good as it would have been in Tchaikovsky’s 19th-century original. 

After another song that fails to progress the story, NC is transformed into a real boy. 

This is a relief, as the creepy doll version was certain to prevent me from sleeping, let alone the children for whom this film was intended.

The rat Nazis appear for the first time and one protestor decides to attack. 

Unfortunately, his weapon of choice is a bouquet of flowers.

It’s time to meet the rat king as we arrive at the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.

Who will be the omnipotent leader of this seemingly invincible army?

Ah. It’s Gail from Coronation Street.

NC’s brief spell as a real boy is over as he’s turned back into that bloody doll.

Mary then wakes up and it seems as if it was all a dream. I wish I could do the same but unfortunately, the film still has an hour to run.

68 minutes in and I crack a smile for the first time as NC takes a running jump trying to escape a metal dog and gets wedged between two rocks because of his ridiculous hat. 

Fingers crossed he gets eaten.

Unfortunately, Mary is able to revive a lifeless NC using the power of love (she met him yesterday?) and the war can begin.

Except there’s no real war, just a brief riot that ends with the rats fleeing the sinking ship. 

Or in this case, the sinking helicopter with legs. Another inspired director choice. 

Despite the dire nature of this film, I had relatively high hopes for a mildly exciting final battle and yet I’m left disappointed.

Of course, everything returns to normal once the rat king disappears, with another cheesy (pun intended) song to celebrate.

Mary then wakes from another dream (is this Inception?) before being reunited with NC and this 95-minute horror show finally reaches its denouement. 

That 0% rating was generous.

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