”Jaw-dropping” is an apt description for The Nutcracker in 3D, assuming the word is taken literally. This semi-delirious, grand-scale extravaganza from the restless Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky (Uncle Vanya at the high end of his aesthetic spectrum, Tango & Cash at the Hollywood low end) uses the basic building blocks of the famous children’s story about a little girl, a wooden nutcracker with a broken jaw, and dolls that come to life on Christmas Eve. But woe to the parent who thinks the kids will see any sugarplum fairies twirling to the music of Tchaikovsky, enhanced by the depth shifts of 3-D. We’re in the darkest Terry Gilliam-ish territory here, spiked with imagery from Holocaust nightmares and drug trips. Attention, university film clubs: Here’s your cult-ready midnight-movie programming.
In Konchalovsky’s kaleidoscopic, CGI-enhanced world of lonely, rich children (circa 1920s Vienna), lovely Elle Fanning plays Mary, whose vivid imagination gives life to the wooden nut cruncher named NC. Visiting Uncle Albert (Nathan Lane) — who just happens to be Albert Einstein — explains the mutability of reality in a song about relativity. Added camp: A goth/Hitler-like Rat King with mother issues (John Turturro) sings an anthem to evil that will scare cultists as well as kids silly. B+