The core and darker nuances of the original "Nutcracker" fairytale by E.T.A. Hoffman (with music by Tchaikovsky) are kept alive in this adept cinematic interpretation with its combination of ballet, special effects, and Maurice Sendak's costume and production designs. The Pacific Northwest Ballet Co. perform the tale about a young girl's dream. The Stahlbaum house is celebrating the night before Christmas, and the children, Fritz and Clara (Vanessa Sharp) welcome their godfather Herr Drosselmeier (Hugh Bigney) who brings them gifts. Clara's gift is a beautiful nutcracker, so beautiful that her brother becomes jealous and breaks it. Later, when everyone is in bed, Clara sneaks back to the Christmas tree to look at her repaired nutcracker and has a marvelous and often menacing dream. The Christmas tree grows to fill the room, and a mighty army of mice led by the Mouse King threatens her. The Nutcracker and the toy soldiers try to defeat the army but the Nutcracker is captured, at which point Clara (Patricia Barker as the dream Clara) bravely clobbers the Mouse King, and the army is defeated. From that point onward, she and the Nutcracker -- who has turned into a Prince -- have many adventures in the Land of Snow where a series of more than seven different dances introduce enchanting and grim characters.
by Eleanor Mannikka synopsis