If you are a moviegoer who enjoys travelling to alternate realities and being engulfed in a total fantasy for 1 hour and 40 minutes, then the new Disney movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, is the movie for you.
The movie is based on the 1816 story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, written by German author, E. T. A. Hoffman. In the original story, the main character, Marie Stahlbaum’s favourite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive, defeats the evil Mouse King and takes Marie to a magical kingdom.
Adapted from the story was Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker – a widely successful ballet.
The film director is Lasse Hallstrom, who has directed films such as Chocolat and What’s eating Gilbert Grape. Famous actors such as Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren play key roles in the movie.
The storyline differs from the traditional Nutcracker storyline, with a much darker spin on the Christmas classic.
The tone of the film demonstrates polarity – contrasting between the magnificent and frightening. This is appropriate because it showcases the typical theme of the honourable verses the malevolent.
The movie has a female lead, Clara, played by up-and-coming Mackenzie Foy. She is anything but an innocent, delicate girl who needs saving from the Nutcracker.
The movie starts off with Clara, as an ordinary girl, and her family attending an elaborate Christmas Eve party at her Godfather, Drosselmeyer’s home in London. Her godfather’s gift sends her on a pursuit to another dimension, the Four Realms, where she learns her deceased mother was the creator and queen of the land.
As Clara ventures through the Narnia-like world, she must overcome her fears in order to serve the greater good. It is her duty as a princess to protect the Four Realms from the villain who threatens the citizens’ survival.
There is a beautiful ballet performance by Misty Copeland. Graceful, vulnerable, yet strong. However, it doesn’t fit the narrative of the story.
There are some creepy scenes which take away from the wholesomeness of the child-friendly ballet. Mother Ginger’s spooky clowns, a giant mouse king compiled of hundreds of mice and a twist on Sugar Plum Fairy’s role as the villain are a bit nerve-wrecking to watch.
The costuming is over the top and that’s a good thing. The make-up is flawless. The characters’ exquisite style reflects the Marie Antoinette era. Viewers experience a flashback to this time in history as a result of the meticulous designs and attention to each and every detail.
To further the idea of Clara as a fearless leader, she wears a Nutcracker uniform, which has never been done in past Nutcracker adaptions.
With such a vibrant cast, and the overall jaw-dropping look of the movie, the Nutcracker soldier played by Jayden Fowora-Knight seems to blend into the scenery rather than make its own memorable presence.
The movie sends out a good message for females to be leaders and risk-takers.
As a non-stop visually appealing experience, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the perfect movie to watch to get into the holiday spirit. Just don’t expect too much from the storyline.
Rating – 4/5