Who's In It: Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane, John Turturro, Richard E. Grant, Charlie Rowe
The Basics: Take the ballet The Nutcracker by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and then take the German story it's based on, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Put them in a bowl and mix them up. Then throw the contents into the street. After that, invent your own "freely adapted" story about a nutcracker that's equal parts Night at the Museum, Wild Wild West and Santa Clause Conquers the Martians. Then put it in 3-D, turn John Turturro into a rat, add idiotic lyrics to weirdo hip-hop arrangements of Tchaikovsky songs and make Albert Einstein be a character. Cast Nathan Lane as Albert Einstein and make him sing some of those songs. Drink it all down, barf it all back up and that's this movie. TA-DAAAA!
What's The Deal: It's the rare movie that comes along where every single element is wrong. From concept to execution it's like the bank or consortium or whoever funded this thing said, "We hate Christmas. Make everyone else hate it, too, please. Pull out all the stops. Ruin this beloved Christmas tale and ruin it well or we'll stop payment on your checks." So I don't think it's too much to ask that the people involved in the decision-making process be put into prison. Or at least exiled to some island where they can't go near movies again. Except this one. This one should be put on constant loop and shown to them 24/7, their eyes pinned back Clockwork Orange-style, no blinking allowed. Big loudspeakers should interrupt the movie every once in a while, say every 30 seconds or so, shouting at airplane engine decibels, "JUST LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" There will be no parole, no time off for good behavior, only punishment.
Welcome to Elle Fanning's Hound Dog: It was bound to happen to the next Fanning sister sooner or later. She signed on for a role in a movie that might have seemed like a good idea at the time. And she may have even enjoyed her experience on set, taking on an iconic role, one any little girl would be thrilled to play. And then when it all turns into an irredeemable pile of garbage, it's this weird little stain on the résumé. Not a career killer, just a moment that, 20 years later, she'll look back on and say, "I remember that everyone was really nice to me and I got to wear pretty dresses. I wasn't responsible for the rest of it."
Special Warning For People Expecting There To Be Any Ballet In This: In case I didn't make that clear, there's practically none. Zero amounts of pretty dancing. No Sugar Plum fairy en pointe. No waltzing flowers. Just a lot of loud crashing noises and running and steampunk helicopters vrooming through the sky and utter misery.