A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This film is intended to entertain, not educate.
As an animated adaptation of ETA Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," this movie focuses on the battle between the Nutcracker and his army versus the Mouse King and his army, and the dream realities imagined by the toymaker Drosselmeier and young Clara.
Positive Role Models
None of the characters go beyond their archetypal roles to emerge as positive role models.
Violence & Scariness
The voice and behavior of the Mouse King could be too scary for younger or more sensitive viewers. A girl is knocked unconscious after she slips and bumps her head on a grandfather clock. At different times, characters are ordered to be decapitated. An executioner wields a large sword. Throughout the movie, the Nutcracker's army does battle with the Mouse King's army, fighting with toy weapons.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are glasses of wine on the table of a royal feast, but they are not consumed by any of the characters.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Nutcracker Prince is a 1990 adaptation of the ETA Hoffman story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King." One of the bigger concerns for parents is the overall scariness of the Mouse King. His voice and general behavior seems tailor-made to give nightmares to younger kids. For parents expecting more songs and ballet, this scariness coupled with the battle scenes between the Nutcracker's army and the Mouse King's will be off-putting. There are other moments of mild cartoon violence throughout, but on the whole, this version of the Nutcracker features songs, dancing, and forays into magical realism. It isn't the best introduction to The Nutcracker, but for fans especially, it's an interesting version. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Parents and kids expecting more songs and ballet dancing will be surprised by the battle scenes and overall scariness of The Mouse King in THE NUTCRACKER PRINCE. While there are songs and dancing, the battle scenes, coupled with the strange and abrupt shift in style and tone from a Don Bluth-style of animation into a Rocky and Bullwinkle/Fractured Fairy Tales-style animation during a flashback sequence early in the movie, is enough to make this off-putting, to say the least. Not that it's terrible, but if you're looking for more of an introduction to The Nutcracker, this isn't the best place to start.
It's a bit slow in parts, and for younger kids, the mix of scariness of the Mouse King as well as some of the intricacies of the storyline make this a bit tough for them. The voice and overall demeanor of the Mouse King might even make adults shudder. Still, for fans of The Nutcracker in general, there's much to enjoy through the songs and the imaginative dream sequences.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.