The Nutcracker and The Four Realms

Mackenzie Foy is Clara, Keira Knightley is Sugar Plum Fairy, Eugenio Derbez is Hawthorne and Richard E. Grant is Shiver in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

The obligatory Thanos snap joke about five realms being wiped out aside, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms is the weakest film to come from the Disney umbrella this year.

Fourteen-year-old science nerd Clara Stahlbaum (Mackenzie Foy) gets a gift from her late mother as the holidays approach.  It’s not just any gift as this gift is supposed to contain everything inside that she needs.  There’s just one problem.  This is a gift that requires a certain type of key and can’t easily be picked.  Help is on the way when the Stahlbaum family attend the party thrown by godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman).  This is because of the presents being the highlight of the night.  The present that she is set to receive just happens to be the key she needs.  Getting this gift is easier said than done.  This is because a mouse swipes it just as she reaches for the key!

Clara finds herself in a pickle in this unknown world.  A Nutcracker soldier, Captain Phillip Hoffman (Jayden Fowora-Knight), introduces Clara to this mysterious land full of Snowflakes, Flowers, and Sweets.  The land means nothing to Clara until learning that she’s a princess and heir to the throne.  All Clara wants is the key but it’s in the hands of Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) and the Fourth Realm.  This version of Mother Ginger takes an inspiration from the ballet but that’s where it stops.  This is also because she’s a new character for the film.

There are some intricate set designs, don’t get me wrong, but as far as what we expect from The Mouse, this film is the weakest of the bunch.  While the story does keep some aspects of the ballet, it’s not much in the long term of things.  The production and costume designs are the film’s best qualities but the script can certainly be improved.  Maybe this is what happens when the story largely comes from a non-speaking ballet and a classic book written in the early 1800s.

Holiday classics that originate in books and on stage don’t always translate to the screen.  Rather than being a giant mouse, the Mouse King takes the form of 60,000 mice, created entirely in CGI.   At least one of the mice are cute so I guess it’s okay.

While The Nutcracker and The Four Realms re-imagines the story for a new generation, some things are better left untouched.

DIRECTORS:  Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
SCREENWRITER:  Ashleigh Powell
CAST:  Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Miranda Hart, Sergei Polunin, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Omid Djalili, Jack Whitehall, Meera Syal, Ellie Bamber, Misty Copeland, with Helen
Mirren and Morgan Freeman.

Walt Disney Pictures opens The Nutcracker and The Four Realms in theaters on November 2, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.