The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, a weird-bad movie and an old yet terrifying beast returns.
BARBIE IN THE NUTCRACKER
Hey, y’know how in Toy Story, all the human characters look like weird monster people? Imagine an entire movie of that.
Ok, now stop screaming.
Cool, so as someone who is COMPLETELY UNFAMILIAR with the Nutcracker story, this was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. Like, we’re gonna do the whole “Hunter uses a wikipedia summary as a creative device” thing, because I actually don’t know how to summarize this.
Ignoring the framing device of Barbie telling the story, we start on the following.
“A girl named Clara lives with Drosselmeyer, her stern grandfather, and Tommy, her younger brother. On Christmas Eve, they receive a surprise visit from their Aunt Elizabeth.”
Drosselmeyer sure is one fuck of a name, but moving on.
“Clara receives a Nutcracker that Aunt Elizabeth tells her contains the heart of a prince”
I sure hope that’s not literal, because this nutcracker looks actually frightening.
“Clara fixes the Nutcracker and falls asleep near the Christmas tree. She awakens to see her Nutcracker suddenly alive and fighting the Mouse King and his mouse army. When Clara tries to help, the Mouse King shrinks her down to his size, though he is still unable to defeat them and temporarily retreats.”
Well, we sure are jumping into the crazy with both feet outstretched, ain’t we? So noble mouse king and his evil army of mice are pretty much our villains I guess for some reason. And our heroes?
“The Nutcracker explains that he needs to find the Sugarplum Princess who is the only person who can stop the Mouse King from taking over his world. The wise owl of the grandfather clock advises Clara to follow the Nutcracker, since the Sugarplum Princess is the only one who can make Clara her original size again. The owl also gives Clara a locket that has the power to send Clara home after they find the Sugarplum Princess.”
Ok, sure, that’s kind of a goal. Whatevs. So eventually Clara realizes that the Nutcracker is actually Prince Eric, who has been cursed by the mouse king.
Has nothing to do with what I’m talking about, but this image had to go somewhere and here’s as good a place as any.
Afterwards, there’s a battle that nutcracker and Clara win, but at a cost.
“The Nutcracker was injured in the battle and Clara kisses him,”
FUCKING TENSE SWAP, HOW I HAVEN’T MISSED YOU!
“whereupon he is restored to his true form as Prince Eric. Clara, because she was able to break the spell, is revealed as the Sugarplum Princess. Eric is crowned king and the couple, who have fallen in love, dance as the citizens of the Land of Parthenia celebrate their victory. At this time the shrunken Mouse King makes one more attempt to defeat Clara, stealing her heart-shaped locket and opening it.”
Ok, makes sense.
“The Mouse King is knocked to the ground by a snowball and apparently dies,”
“but Clara disappears, having been magically returned home.”
Then she wakes up, because it’s a dream, or maybe it isn’t or maybe I don’t give a fuck.
Back in the framing device, we get an ending and–
JE-sus Christ in high heaven, that is fucking haunting.
In the research for this, I discovered that wikipedia has a page for the term “crotch”. I’m not telling you how that came up, but it did and I wanted you to know that.
But on to the point, which is that Beethoven remains a remorseless engine of death in this film. He is so horrifying in fact, that, Judge Reinhold and his wife want to get him the fuck out of their house. But the two children, clearly succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome, don’t want to see their tormentor go. So, to hopefully improve his behavior, the kids begin secretly taking Beethoven to obedience school, where he clashes with a drill sergeant-liketrainer in a true war of master generals.
Unfortunately, while fleeing the obedience school, Beethoven gets mixed up with an identical dog named Michelangelo, who is owned by a rich fami– wait.
I’m sorry, is this just the same plot as “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties”? Like, actual question because this I’m not sure which movie should be ashamed but ONE OF THEM SHOULD!
So the two dogs switch houses, Beethoven acts like a war criminal and wrecks havoc in the rich family’s house, while Michelangelo is very well behaved and impressive. Eventually, an associate of the rich family dognaps Beethoven.
Oh for fuck’s sake, god dammit, that’s it.
IS DOGNAPPING A REAL FUCKING THING??!!!!!
Because I have NEVER heard of it happening in real life, but this is like the fifth movie to use it as a plot device.
I’m on Twitter as @ShutUpHunterR and if you have ever experienced a dognapping or know someone who has, please actually let me know. Feel free to Facebook message me as well. Hell, if you see me in public, please shout it at me from across the street.
I really want to know about one time where this has ever actually happened.
So eventually the dogs switch backand Beethoven’s reign of terror resumes once more.
That’s all for this week, next week, I’ll put myself through hell for your amusement some more.