For many families around the world, watching The Nutcracker in some form or another is a holiday tradition. Whether it's live at the ballet (where the story comes to life to the music of Tchaikovsky) or in any of its numerous screen adaptations (such as the animated Nutcracker Prince), the story has been told and retold countless times since it was first written in 1812 by E.T.W. Hoffman as The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Now, thanks to New Line studios and writer Darren Lemke, we'll get one more look at the famous story.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lemke pitched New Line a reimagined version of the story that is written as a family action-adventure film, similar in style to the popular Chronicles of Narnia films. For those unacquainted with the story of The Nutcracker, here is a brief recap from the THR report:
"The story centers on a 12-year-old girl who, with her brother and sister, receive gifts from their clockmaker-inventor godfather on Christmas Eve, one of which is a Nutcracker doll. That night, the girl begins an adventure that includes a war involving a seven-headed Mouse King and his army of mice, curses and themes of ugliness and beauty."
So, what would an "action-adventure" nutcracker look like? Well, I mocked up something below that I think pretty much fits the bill.
Anyway, it is important to note that the New Line film is not the only version of The Nutcracker expected to hit theaters however. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King will compete for the hearts of cinema-goers worldwide alongside Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture version of the famous story, which we first heard rumors about only a month ago.
Will either of these film versions become holiday traditions in their own right? Even though it's way too early in the game to be judging either of these movies fairly, I'd say, going with my gut instinct, I'm going to give the New Line version the benefit of the doubt. It's not so much that I find the concept of an action-oriented family Nutcracker film especially stimulating as much as the fact that I am tiring somewhat of Robert Zemeckis' parade of Christmas mo-cap adventures.
To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed both The Polar Express and Zemeckis' most recent rendition of A Christmas Carol. In general, I think the digital technology he has innovated is stunning. While I still have a hard time with the "dead eyes" of some of the motion-capture characters, he has definitely made some major improvements since The Polar Express. However, I'd like to see how this technology would look on a truly original story. In fact, my favorite Zemeckis film in recent times is Monster House, and he was actually the executive producer on that film, along with Steven Spielberg.
What do you think? At this point, what sounds better to you: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King or Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture Nutcracker?