Scott Marks of the San Diego Reader echoes the reward for the visuals, saying “[M]aybe see it anyway, for the effects work and production design, both of which are nothing short of spectacular.”
There’s apparently not a lot to advocate past the visuals. Variety’s Peter Debruge critiques the “soulless, overcalculated approach of this unwieldy tentpole-by-committee, which feels like a world-building scheme for some future Disneyland theme-park attraction.”
Christy Lemire at RogerEbert.com describes the movie as “a weirdly hideous hodgepodge of images and ideas, as convoluted as its confusing title would suggest,” including “It’s at once familiar and bizarre, overstuffed yet half-baked.”
Peter Travers writes in Rolling Stone:
Any description of what follows, together with a battle of tin troopers, clowns on the assault and a swarm of killer mice, would solely evoke different, a lot better movies corresponding to The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What this Nutcracker presents is so overproduced, so mechanical and so indigestibly whimsical that it gained’t simply be two-year-olds who need to puke it up.
Some of the movie’s discordant qualities might should do with the truth that it had two very totally different administrators: Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules) and Joe Johnston (Jumanji, The Rocketeer, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids). Johnston got here aboard the venture late for an in depth collection of reshoots. With his lengthy expertise as a visible results artist, Johnston presumably had a hand too in finalizing the look of the effects-heavy movie.
David Ehrlich in Indiewire is one among quite a few critics who observed that the muddled outcomes may need been as a result of mid-production government meddling:
While it’s troublesome to determine who directed what, it’s much more troublesome to shake the sensation that Johnston was employed to sand off the sides, and make this factor extra internationally palatable as a product. The compromised result’s suspended between a childlike sense of discovery and a company sense of obligation — at no level does it really feel just like the story and the graphics are speaking to one another, and even in the identical language (quoth the Nutcracker: “I don’t speak rodent”). The bland smorgasbord of particular results aren’t rooted in any actual pathos, and the inside power that Clara finds is just too underwritten to carry any weight. Things simply type of occur, one after the opposite, the entire manic enterprise so vague that inflections of Tchaikovsky’s music are wanted to remind you what you’re even watching.
Made at a price of round $125 million, Nutcracker is predicted to debut in second place this weekend within the $20-25 million vary.