Much like many of Grimm’s tales of fairies and magic, “The Nutcracker” has left the realm of familiarity and entered into the territory of common reference and Disney cartoon spin-offs. Even if you haven’t seen it, it’s likely you know the storyline verbatim and could pick out the melody in an instant.

In fact, most people don’t realize how many mediums “The Nutcracker” envelops. The two-act ballet, which was originally performed with the score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was based on the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It didn’t find initial success, but obviously has done well since its opening night.

The double-edged sword is this: Although audiences love the classics they were raised on, it is often difficult and risky for filmmakers to adapt works like “The Nutcracker.” It happens, more often than not, that we who cherish the original are easily persuaded to rebel against the new version based on one false scene or one annoying actor.

Which is why I was hesitant about this reinterpretation of The Nutcracker. As mentioned before, I don’t know exactly what I thought it was about or how I thought it was supposed to be. Acclaimed Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky brings his imagination and the element of 3-D to the fable about a prince trapped as a nutcracker and the young girl who must help him.

Elle Fanning is 9-year-old Mary who is bored with her Viennese Christmas locked in the house. With the appearance of her Uncle Albert (Nathan Lane) and the enchanting nutcracker he bears as a gift, things start kicking into life, literally of course. The Nutcracker (Charlie Rowe) takes Mary to his world of fairies, sugar plums and Christmas toys. When attempts to overthrow the happy kingdom come into fruition by the evil Rat King (John Turturro) and his mother (Frances de la Tour), Mary must save the day.

Featuring new songs penned by Oscar-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice (“The Lion King,” “Evita”), the film is a hard one to place on a scale that doesn’t really have an axis. On the one hand, the scenes that play to our sense of Christmas cheer are why we see these films in the first place. The set décor and costume design are fantastic. On the other hand, the story turns gimmicky with the 3-D shtick we’ve seen too much lately, and Turturro’s rat crew are too modern to fit in with the rest of the film. However, Fanning is an on-screen doll who carries her scenes even alongside CGI co-stars. If anything else, The Nutcracker is a fun ride this holiday season to introduce kids of all ages to a classic.

Grade: B

The Nutcracker in 3D releases in select theaters Nov. 24.