What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this version of the classic Nutcracker holiday tale bears only a passing resemblance to the famous ballet and story that inspired it. Viewers expecting the whimsy of the original may be downright confused, enraged and -- if they’re 8 and under -- frightened. Here, the Rat King is a Hitler-like villain with the desire to burn children’s toys and a combative relationship with a dysfunctional mother (she bites his ear out of anger). Other disturbing scenes include a drummer boy (who appears human) whose head is yanked off and tossed around. Soldiers are shown wielding machine guns, and one character smokes a cigar. And the 3-D presentation makes some of the scary parts even more intense.
- Families can talk about how this movie compares to other versions of The Nutcracker. Is it scarier? Why? What audience do you think it's intended to appeal to?
- What made Joseph forget what he was like as a young boy? Do you think parents sometimes act like they’ve never been kids? What's the message behind this storyline?
- Does the Rat King seem scary or troubled?
- What does the Nutcracker mean to Mary? Is he a figment of her imagination? Why did he appear?