The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
It is risky to adapt classic tales in the modern age, after decades of fans flocking and making their own ideas of what such a story should look like, there’s bound to be many who are left disappointed. Such was the case of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which grossed over $1 billion dollars, and yet left some dedicated fans feeling as if their precious content had been exploited for cash. This is the same feeling some might get when viewing The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a new iteration of the classic Russian ballet. The beginning of the film certainly follows the story seen in the ballet, with the young girl Clara (Mackenzie Foy) attending a Christmas party at her uncle’s (Morgan Freeman) house. There she unexpectedly falls into a hidden world rife with evil mice and a heroic nutcracker (Jayden Fowora-Knight). Here things begin to veer into newer territory as Clara finds that this world is split into four different realms, all for which she is the heiress to the throne.
The film’s world is beautifully built, ranging from the dazzling set-designs to the brilliant costumes. Foy who had already shown fiery character in her role as Murph in Interstellar, carries the same charisma and strength into this film, proving that she is a leading lady to be reckoned with in Hollywood. The other standout might be Keira Knightley, who here plays the famed Sugar Plum Princess and is clearly having a blast at her role with her cotton candy hair and wispy voice.
However, the main problem that plagued this film was having the filmmakers mislead the audience. The film is less an adaptation of “The Nutcracker” as being heavily inspired by it. The main plot of this film seems to be a completely different blockbuster unrelated to Tchaikovsky’s ballet, which seems to have been simply shoehorned into the beginning. When veering into typical blockbuster territory we start to see common clichés, so that plot becomes predictable and bland. The classic animal sidekicks, battle showdowns, and lessons learned are all inserted; while valuable for any viewer to digest, the sloppy style takes away the weight that such elements should have.
It might take a while as you realize that the source material is being left far behind. Once you accept that the majority of this film is simply another Disney visual extravaganza, you might even enjoy yourself a bit. The strong lead by Foy and the short runtime (just over 1hr and 30mins) helps the film drive smoothly to the finish line.