“Clara is on the verge of growing up, with dreams of traveling the world in the grand ballet… When midnight comes, Clara finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle between the mice and her toys being lead by the confused nutcracker. If the prince of the dolls can defeat the Mouse King and win the hand of a fair maiden, it can break the curse upon him. However, Clara must chose between the dreamworld of her new companion and his adventures or her real world where the dreams and adventures of growing up still await her”– Max Vaughn, IMDB.
The Nutcracker Prince is a 1990 Canadian film, and was animated by Lacewood Productions in Ottawa, Ontario. It was the first theatrical release for Lacewood Productions, who previously produced Katie and Orbie and the For Better or Worse TV specials. The film features the voices of Kiefer Sutherland as the titular Nutcracker, Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) as Clara, and comedian Mike Macdonald as the Mouse King. Peter O’Toole, best known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, voices the old soldier Pantaloon.
Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
Full disclosure, this one is yet another film I remember watching in my childhood, so I have a lot of nostalgia for The Nutcracker Prince. That said, I do believe that this is one that holds up even without the filter of nostalgia. I would put the The Nutcracker Prince firmly in the “Actually really good” camp of movies that have appeared on this blog.
One of the main things that I like about this one is the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker. In a lot of other adaptations I’ve seen, the Nutcracker usually has a bit more experience dealing with the whole “I’ve been turned into a little wooden man” thing. In The Nutcracker Prince, the titular Nutcracker is just as confused as Clara. They’re both thrust into a very odd situation together, and they both very quickly step into the roles they’ve been assigned. I think this makes their romance feel a lot more natural. I definitely root for them a lot more than the couples in the other Nutcracker films I have.
The Nutcracker Prince seems to have had a fair amount of budget thrown at it, resulting in some pretty decent animation. It’s not Disney theatrical level, but it’s far more polished than the majority of films featured on this blog.
I don’t want to spoil the ending to this one, but I will say that the last interaction between Clara and the Mouse King is surprisingly intense! It actually took me by surprise when I rewatched this one as an adult. I daresay it might be my favourite part of the film.
If I had to pick a genuine favourite out of all the Nutcracker films that I own (AKA, pick one based on quality and not “How much did this make me laugh”), I’d choose this one. So if you can manage to find a copy, definitely check this one out.
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