Now that Halloween is officially over, it’s time to get ready for the holiday season! Disney has been making a lot of live-action adaptations of their properties lately, and now we have The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, the film is another retelling of the classic Nutcracker tale, and it stars a talented cast of actors like Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman.
Foy plays a girl named Clara who receives a gift from her dead mother, but she requires a key to open it. In order to get it, she enters a magical world separated into four realms, and hopes to bring peace as the new queen of the kingdom. With the help of The Nutcracker (Jayden Fowora-Knight), she will do whatever she can to unite the four realms. Everyone knows this story at this point, and it’s pretty predictable for the most part. However, it’s surprisingly still an enjoyable time.
What Disney always succeeds with in their live-action films is that the visuals are really impressive. While watching this movie, the world itself does look magical, and it’s marvellous to watch. The four realms each have their own unique and colourful style, and they’re quite extraordinary. However, the problem is that the audience won’t get to know more about the Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets, because they’re barely explored in the entire film. There is also one impressive ballet dance sequence, but that’s the only one you’ll ever get. There are some great moments, even if they’re not fully developed. Some scenes feel completely rushed, and some of them feel kind of bland.
The lead actress Mackenzie Foy is the best part of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and she brings an amazing performance as Clara. She has a bright future ahead of her after being a scene-stealer in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. The rest of the cast is also great, but it’s clearly Foy who stands out. Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy is a little jarring sometimes, because her voice is so cartoony. When she talks, it’s irritating at times. We know it’s supposed to take place in a surreal world, but it doesn’t mean the characters have to be so exaggerated. Also, the movie doesn’t always do a good job balancing its tone, as it’s noticeably inconsistent. It goes from being goofy to dark sometimes, and it can be quite distracting.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms isn’t anything new from what you have previously seen from this classic story, but it’s a movie that families will have fun with. It’s worth seeing for the visual style and Foy’s performance, even if the film isn’t groundbreaking or anything. If you just want to relive an old tale on the big screen, this might be for you. If you like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, you’ll probably enjoy it. Don’t expect it to be a mind-blowing cinematic experience, just go in and have a good time.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is now playing in theatres.