|The Nutcracker - George Balanchine (DVD, 1997) (DVD, 1997)|
|The Nutcracker - George Balanchine (DVD, 1997)|
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
|Genre:||Musical & Performing Arts|
Average review score based on 17 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
I'm a ballet teacher and have seen many different productions of The Nutcracker over the years, both live and on film. This is a quality presentation of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker by one of the premier ballet companies in the US -- New York City Ballet. The quality of the dancing is very high (The children in the cast are very well trained and really add to the whole production, rather than distract from it.) and the set is wonderful, and of course, the music by Tchaikovsky is marvelous, and in my opinion, remains magical no matter how many times you hear it.
With that said, I would say that I would have liked this ballet better if the Herr Drosselmeier's nephew/Nutcracker was danced by an actual student dancer from the School of American Ballet rather than Macauley Culkin. He was a popular child star at the time when this film was shot, and apparently the producers and movie executives thought that this movie would sell better if there was a well-known name to draw an average move goer, even though he seems to have little training in the art of ballet. (I have to admit, considering that he is not a ballet dancer, the child actor is not too bad in the role.) I find the narration by Kevin Klein unnecessary due to my familiarity with the story. Although, I can see why viewers who are not familiar with the ballet would appreciate the narration to keep them informed throughout this "movie".
As with most Nutcracker productions, many people will find the fist act (especially the party scene) slow. Things pick up the pace in the second act when the action takes place in the Land of the Sweets. The colorful costumes, beautiful set, and fast, brilliantly executed choreography will likely please the audience whether they have background in ballet or not.
This is a good holiday ballet movie to be included in most anyone's DVD library. Most young children will enjoy it -- especially if they are taking ballet. I have watched it many times and will continue to watch it every holiday season.
Spectacular dancing, choreography, costumes and sets.
Darci Kistler is superb as the Sugarplum Fairy, not just technically; she turns in the sweetest, kindest "good fairy" acting turn you will ever see. Damian Woetzel as her Cavalier makes the impossible look easy (he catches her on his right shoulder not once but twice in their pas de deux - neither using hands or betraying so much as a wobble; at another point, he pulls her across the floor while she remains in full pique arabesque; you'd swear she was a life-size figurine on a conveyor belt, except that she's beaming and breathing).
Wendy Whelan a sultry, breathtaking harem girl as "Coffee" (the Arabian Dance), Kyra Nichols as Dewdrop will melt your heart. How the Snowflakes pull off Balanchine's highly technical dancing in a full-out (fake) blizzard at the end of ACT I ---the "snow" piling up to 5" thick--- without slipping and/or falling, I have no idea.
And the imaginative, surprising, always-fresh choreography of George Balanchine just must be seen, there is no describing the beauty. This is the Nutcracker by which all others should be judged. Kevin Kline narrates; Macauley Culkin as the Nutcracker Price.
A few nits to pick: for "Trepak", Balanchine substitutes Candy Canes (?) for Russian Dancers, but it works with the "sweets" theme. Those expecting a Dancing Bear will be disappointed. And for some reason, Clara is called "Marie". Perhaps that's the character's original name in Tales of Hoffman, I haven't checked.
But these are truly nits. Ballet lovers will definitely be watching it several times over; it stands up to repeated viewing.
My 3 year old daughter is addicted to this dvd. We have the vhs tape but needed the dvd for our 14 hour trip to florida. We LOVE it because she LOVES it. It made the drive a success. She truly love the ballet, the colors, and the story line. She can act out the entire story.
This is not just a Christmas video. We are still watching it and it is now March.
This is a very well-produced production. It stays true to the familiar Nutcracker Story line, and includes all of the familiar dances. Narration (by Kevin Kline) helps to move the story along. Even though it is 11 years old, it does not feel dated. My 3 year old watched it from beginning to end several times and just loves it!
I got this for my daughter, age 2 1/2, and she loves it. I do too, it's a clasic. I love it in the DVD format because I can jump to the scenes she wants to watch over and over again. This is a great addition to our holiday movie collection.