“Barbie shows that if you are kind, clever and brave, anything is possible in this tale of Clara and her amazing Nutcracker, who set off on an adventure to find the Sugarplum Princess.“– Anonymous, IMDB.
Barbie in the Nutcracker was the first CGI Barbie film, and the first Barbie film released since 1987’s Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World. The Barbie CGI films were an attempt by Mattel to re-engergize the Barbie brand, which was on the decline in the 90s. Barbie in the Nutcracker is the first Barbie film to feature the voice of Kelly Sheridan as Barbie, a role she continued to perform until 2015. Kirby Morrow, who voices the titular Nutcracker, previously voiced Goku (Dragonball Z, Ocean Dub), Miroku (Inuyasha), and Van Fanel (The Vision of Escaflowne).
Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
As mentioned a few times now, the Barbie movies are all pretty carefully crafted films, due to how carefully Mattel maintains Barbie’s public image. The Nutcracker is no exception to this, overall it’s a decent film that doesn’t have a huge amount of laughs to it.
Delving into potential spoiler territory here, but one of the things that does make me laugh in this one is Clara’s relationship with the Nutcracker, and how quickly Clara is ready to ditch the real world to stay with him. It doesn’t take her much time before she starts questioning whether or not she wants to go home, it comes way before her and the Nutcracker confess their feelings for each other. It’s especially odd because from what little we see of Clara’s home life, she seems to have a good relationship with her family members. Her brother is a bit of a brat, and her uncle a bit stern, but that alone doesn’t really add up to “I’m okay to ditch my family forever to be with a guy I just met”. Okay maybe this one wasn’t as carefully crafted as I thought.
Another thing that makes me laugh are the little dance breaks that pop up in the movie. They’re pretty proud of having hired real ballet dancers to perform motion capture performances for use in the film. This means that on occasion, the movie will kind of halt to try and show off the dancing (This is especially egregious at the end of the film, where multiple characters take turns showing off their moves). I think the dancing is one of those things that just hasn’t aged well, it might’ve been impressive at one point but in this day and age it’s just a bit ho-hum.
All that said, there’s still a bit of charm to be found in Barbie in the Nutcracker. If nothing else, check this one out so you can see the humble beginnings that the CGI Barbie movies sprang from.