Thursday, February 2, 2017

Nutcracker: A Christmas Story: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleThe Nutcracker:  A Christmas Story
My Rating**

AdaptationStarring Marc Wenke as Ebenezer Scrooge

Year of Release2007

Format:  DVD,
live-action, feature-length film of a ballet performance 

Is this adaptation reverent?  No, this adaptation is not particularly reverent.  The only song I recognize in it is the Nutcracker March.

Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"
  No, there is no singing or talking in this adaptation, just instrumental music, dancing, acting, and pantomiming.

What does my wife think of it?  She hates musicals, and refuses to watch any part of this adaptation.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation does not follow the original novel very well.  It's hard to follow at all.  It's a combination of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. Fortunately, it is filmed with credits as subtitles for four of the actors:  Marc Wenke, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge; Paul Boyd (Bob Cratchit); Joyce Cuoco (Clara Cratchit); and Anna Vita (Mrs. Cratchit).  Also fortunate, is that the DVD comes with a program which lists scene selections, to help the viewer understand what they're looking at.

The story begins in a town with several buildings, where men dressed like British soldiers dance ballet in the streets.  One of the buildings has a sign which reads "Drosselmeyer Toys"; another reads "Scrooge and Marley Investment Co."  Marley's name is crossed out.  I think the gist of this scene is that while Bob treasures newspaper to burn, Scrooge treasures the currency he counts in his counting house.

Another scene shows Scrooge going to bed at 9:30, after checking the safe in his home.  At midnight, he receives a rude awakening by the Devil and his minions, who put him in chains.  There are a couple glimpses of a man whom I presume is Jacob Marley.

Then a young woman with gray hair shows up and sends the Devil and his minions away.  Then another young woman dances with a young man.  I'm guessing this is young Scrooge with his fiancee.

Another scene shows Scrooge getting nine girls out of one bed and giving them Christmas presents.  Spanish, Russian, and Thai long nail dances are performed.  Harlequins dance around a young woman dressed like a clown in a box.  

Back in town, finally, there is a grand finale.

What dialect is used?  [Not Applicable]

When and where does this adaptation take place?  London in the 1800's.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel? 

Is this adaptation supernatural? 
Yes, this adaptation is supernatural, with at least one ghost, the Devil, demons, and at least one goddess or angel, who banishes them.
Is this adaptation "framed"
Perhaps this adaptation is framed by Scrooge's fantasies and dreams.

What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are includedThis is a musical, by Tchaikovsky, and a ballet, with several international influences, including Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

How attractive is the visual art?  The set, wardrobe, architecture, and art are excellent.

How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
  The transitions are well done.  I don't remember any annoying special effects, but the camera work and film editing are excellent.  For example, the head shots of the principle actors with subtitles to indicate their names and the names of the characters they play...  Also, the camera zoomed in on the signs on the buildings, and on the clock to show time advancing more quickly than in reality, and what time it was...

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  The most remarkable things about this adaptation are, perhaps, that it doesn't include any singing or talking, and is combined with an adaptation of The Nutcracker.

What extras are included on the tape or DVD?  Scene selection is available.  

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