While some of us pansies hold on to cute family fare like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas and Santa Claus: The Movie (what?) as our favorite holiday films from youth, the cool kids always remind me that the best Christmas films of the ’80s are action flicks like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. So why isn’t Hollywood still making shit like that? Probably because, just as Mom told me would happen, the nerds run things now (plus, you didn’t see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in the theater, asshole). And so instead we get stuff like Zemeckis’ Christmas Carol, which is both too family friendly and too technology-focused to be cool in any way.
But maybe the tides will change in a couple years if Zemeckis’ next Christmas craptacular, the uglimated version of The Nutcracker that Dustin told us about last month, is forced to go up against another adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s classic story. There’s apparently a more action-packed, live-action Nutcracker and the Mouse King being written by the guy who’s also turning Jack the Giant Killer into an adventure movie for director Bryan Singer. Unfortunately, it won’t be R-rated or have a lot of swearing and gun battles, but it may just be the closest thing to an ’80s Christmas movie we’ll get for awhile (again, your fault for not supporting Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).
Reportedly it’s only really going to be as action-packed as the Chronicles of Narnia movies, but they’re still cooler than that weird Beowulf, even with its cartoon Angelina Jolie boobies. Hopefully this version, from the producers of Twilight, will hire as many real actors as possible to stick it to the mo-cap-happy Zemeckis. And I’d like to be the first person to suggest the guy from the current NY Lottery commercial for the lead. I totally see him as the next RPattz, enough to jump the gun and prematurely call him NCrakkz.
Here’s what other film blogs are saying about the better of the dueling Nutcrackers:
It’s nothing more than a pitch right now. My first impression is: hope it stays that way. I feel like I’ve gone out to the movies with the Simpsons, and alongside all the crappy inevitable action movie sequels on the marquee is the version of the Nutcracker starring Bruce Willis as the mouse king. At least that would be casting against type.
“This Christmas…CRACK SOME NUTS!” Ah, I can see the poster’s tagline now. […] I love the music, but I’ve found every version of The Nutcracker I’ve seen to be excruciatingly boring. Yes, I realize that makes me sound like an uncultured, knuckle-dragging caveman. I have no doubts that seeing a live performance would change my tune, but, until then, I’m interested in the idea of a dance-less, action-oriented fantasy film (just don’t lose the Tchaikovsky, please). I’m also expecting plenty of product placement from Planters.
I can totally see Nutcracker as an action film, however the gritty realism of kicking ass and taking names might give some less respectable connotations to the title of Nutcracker.
But really, the story is about a toy come to life after dusk on Christmas Eve and enters into a war with the Mouse King and his legion of mice warriors.
Hell ya, bring it on!
So maybe there won’t be guns or missiles in the upcoming big screen adaptation, but according to the THR article, the pitch from Darren Lemke looks to add an “action-adventure” element to the already mildly adventurous story. The story of Clara and her seemingly alive Christmas gift is not necessarily ripe for action, but there are scene that could be expanded upon to make for an interesting visual treat for moviegoers.
Since The Nutcracker isn’t a story I hold close to my heart, I just might end up being interested in this one as it continues to develop. After all, the endless ballet and animated versions on television won’t be hurt much by an update. It’s not like they’re turning It’s a Wonderful Life into some sort of time traveling caper where a man has to save himself in the past in order to save humanity in the future. Please, don’t get any ideas from that, Hollywood.