Movie Reviews

Barbie in the Nutcracker Review

I just finished watching the classic film Barbie in the Nutcracker (2001) directed by (our favourites!) Owen Hurley and produced by Rob Hudnut. The voice artist for Barbie / Clara is Kelly Sheridan. I ranked it 25th in my Ultimate List of Barbie Movies [which you can find here], because it was too ‘quest-y.’

The Animation

Look, it’s not BAD, but it’s not GOOD, either. The sea is fantastic, while the hills in the distance is terrible. But I suppose it is 2001, so I should cut them some slack. It was strange how, when walking in the snow, some people made footprints and others didn’t, depending on what part of the movie it was at. It was also a bit silly how, at the end, the people watching the dance didn’t move.

Dancing

Choreographed by Peter Martins. Notable dancers include Abi Stafford, Janie Taylor and Maria Kowroski. All our favourites! Music by Arnie Roth. We have the snowflake fairy dance, garden fairy dance, children’s dance, dance with the captain and major and two dances with Clara and Eric. Then we have two dances with Barbie and Kelly. It sounds like a lot, but with the snowflake / garden fairy dance, the rest of the scene is shown more than the actual dancing. It’s all good, regardless, but not as good as other Barbie ballet movies.

The dancing I did particularly admire is the one with Kelly and Barbie, at the end. I know all the steps just by watching the movie over and over again! (yes, without the video, I can do the steps). I just can’t do them well. 

It’s interesting to watch Clara develop throughout the movie with her dancing. When the snowflake fairy invites her to dance, she tries and makes a mistake. She then gets visibly annoyed with herself and stops. When the garden fairy invites her to dance, after spending some time in that land, she does some small steps and seems to feel pretty good about it. At the end, she dances freely with Eric as the Sugar Plum Princess.

Bonus Features

Living in a Ballet Dream is probably one of the best ballet documentaries I have seen. And I have seen, like, five. I would buy this movie just to watch the documentary. No joke, it’s literally the best thing ever.

Costumes

Beautiful! Clara’s dress at the beginning was especially pretty. Personally, I thought the dress at the end was a bit too sparkly, but the skirt was nice and floaty, especially when dancing. Her hair was beautiful.

Storyline

Unpredictable if you haven’t seen before. Rock monster, meeting Captain Candy and Major Mint, The Mouse King’s fake castle, invisible wall, etc, were all plot elements I thought were quite good.  I especially liked Tommy and how Elizabeth dragged him away from the presents. It showed Clara as a real, everyday person, who has annoying siblings like the rest of us. ; )

Characters

All characters have distinct personalities, which is sometimes rare in Barbie movies.

Clara herself is responsible, quiet and well-mannered. She often doubts herself, such as when climbing up fireplace, going through mouse hole, etc, although this decreases throughout the film. She is very quick thinking, such as when throwing the shoe (which later returns to her foot…)

Clara’s apprehension about leaving the new land, such as when approaching the faux castle, is excellent character development. In this new land, she is brave, she goes on exciting adventures, she has the Nutcracker, everything is (almost) good. In her old land, her parents are dead, she feels tied down by her strict grandfather and she is just regular, responsible Clara, nobody special at all. We can see, at the beginning of the movie, that Clara admires her aunt, Elizabeth Drosselmeyer, because she goes on lots of adventures and travels all over the world. This tells us that Clara wishes she could be as interesting as her.

On the other hand, staying in the new land means losing her grandfather, aunt and younger brother, who are her only remaining family, and everything she’s ever known. When she and Eric finally announce their love for each other, and Clara discovers that she is a princess, she decides to stay in the new land.

(Sucks for her, though, because she has to return to her old land anyway)

Barbie-The-Nutcracker-barbie-movies-1808415-624-352

“This locket was supposed to take me home, but in my heart, I’m already there.”

Was it a dream? Did Clara simply ‘wake up?’ No! If you look around the room in the morning, we can see the garland has fallen off the mantel piece and the shattered tree decorations.

Toys

Here is a beautiful shot by Olga Vasilyeva on Flickr. Click the link to go there!

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To view all the toys, go to this site:

http://barbie-movies.wikia.com/wiki/Barbie_in_the_Nutcracker/Merchandise

The main doll is seemingly inexpensive? It’s really confusing, since she’s so old and so beautiful.  I’ve seen it from $12 to $70. If you compare it to 2009 Fashionistas, which were $25 at the time and hundreds of dollars each now, that’s a huge deal! Perhaps they produced way too many?

Anyway, the movie is great, 10/10 recommend would watch again.

 

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