The Nutcracker And The Four Realms

For many, watching a ballet performance of The Nutcracker, is a holiday tradition. It’s set on Christmas Eve, there’s Christmas tree decorating and an exchange of gifts just in the first act.

Whether you love ballet or not, the music alone evokes happy memories of Christmas anticipation for many. That is what I was waiting for when watching The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and sadly it did not deliver.
This retelling of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King starts off interestingly enough, gets a little dreary, then weird, then just plain silly, all the while not inspiring any Christmas spirit at all.
We have Clara Stahlbaum played by Mackenzie Foy. (If she looks familiar, you may be remembering her as Renesmee from, Breaking Dawn, the last installment of the Twilight series. Or more recently as the young Murphy in Interstellar.)
The opening of the movie gives us the impression that Clara is a very intelligent young girl. Which I suppose will bode well for her as the movie trudges along. Clara, her grief-stricken father and her siblings are mourning the passing the matriarch of the family. Marie Stahlbaum posthumously gifts each child a Christmas present and Clara’s is a silver egg that requires a key to open.
In her quest to find the key, she finds herself transported to a magical land where her mother reigned as queen. In the queen’s absence, the three realms of Flower, Snow and Sweets have united against the ruler of the fourth realm ruled by “Mother Ginger” played by Helen Mirren. If they explained what the fourth realm was, I must’ve missed it when I dozed off for a period. Yeah, it was that riveting.
The cast was visually entertaining. Keira Knightly as Sugar Plum Fairy from the Land of Sweets has hair that looks like spun sugar. Eugenio Derbez who plays Hawthrone from the Land of Flowers is festooned in roses while Richard E. Grant, who plays Shiver from the Land of Snow, appears quite frozen.
But other than parading around in their costumes, I couldn’t tell you why Shiver and Hawthrone they were even introduced. I left the theater wondering if a lot of the story was left on the cutting room floor.
My favorite parts of the movie were when ballerina Misty Copeland was performing, both during the movie and during the credits. I enjoyed the familiarity of Tschaikovsky and listening to Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo sing “Fall on Me”, also during the credits. So in other words, a music video of “Fall on Me” featuring Misty Copeland would be much preferable and would probably evoke more of that happy anticipation for Christmas than this drawn out movie.
Stick to Christmas classics like Love Actually and Die Hard and maybe catch a Nutcracker ballet if you want to get into the holiday spirit.
1 out of 5 stars
Second review by Tracey Barrientos

When I was younger, my mom and I would get all dressed up and we would take a special holiday trip up to Seattle to see The Nutcracker. I was captivated by the costumes, dancing and the story. When I found out that a film was being made based off of the famed ballet I was very excited especially with Disney behind it.

Clara is given a gift for Christmas that requires a one of a kind key. To find this key she must follow a piece of string that leads her into a world full of magic and mystery but is in a state of disrepair. Along the way she meets many different characters who want to help her find the key and restore harmony within the lands.

The film in its entirety is visually stunning and equally entertaining. In a way, the film sort of reminds me of Alice In Wonderland as it has a very Tim Burtone-sque feel to it. The star studded cast made the film that much better. It was lovely seeing Mackenzie Foy all grown up, the beautiful Keira Knightly with her somewhat annoying high pitched character voice, Morgan Freeman and Dame Helen Mirren’s amazing acting and Misty Copeland’s beautiful dancing just to name a few.

It is certainly refreshing to see a new twist on a classic story. I am pleased that they didn’t do away with the dancing along with the most familiar score listened to during the holidays. The CG sets were amazing with bold colors that made the film very visually appealing. It encapsulates an entertaining and adventurous story along with humor and excellent acting. In my book, that is the perfect recipe for a great film. I look forward to adding this one to my ever growing movie collection.

4.5 out of 5