The Nutcracker and The Four Realms Review

I've been excited to watch The Nutcracker and The Four Realms ever since I first saw the trailer. I should mention that I have never actually seen The Nutcraker ballet even though I very much want to, but I grew up watching Barbie and the Nutcracker (2001) (I know its not the same but I used to love it!). A couple of days ago I started to see negative reviews surrounding this film and I found it hard to believe that the majority of critics didn't like it - as you all know I don't normally believe what critics say. So I went into the cinema hoping to see a magical and enchanting film, I was slightly disappointed. It is a visual sceptical with a forgettable narrative. Keep reading to find to out exactly what I thought - I will warn you now if you keep reading you will find major spoilers. 
The film begins with Clara (Mackenzie Foy) a clever girl who has an eye for inventions and her brother and sister receiving presents that their mother had prepared for them before her death. Clara receives an ornate egg, which she soon realises needs a key to open (she does not have the key). The three children and their father then depart for a party, where the children have to find presents by following a string with their names on. Clara's string leads her into the Four Realms. It is revealed in a rush that her mother created the realms and was Queen which makes Clara a princess. This all happens in a short amount of time with no real story established other than Clara is looking for the key that will open her egg. Just as she is about to take the key an adorable little mouse steels it and takes the key to the 'evil' Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), but not before Clara shouts at the mouse - which instantly made me dislike her character. We are quickly introduced to the leaders of the Realms: The Sugarplum Fair (Keira Knightly) Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez) and Shiver (Richard E. Grant) There is a short makeover sequence and then we get a ballet sequence showing the history of the Realms before Clara rushes off to get her key and stop the war. I know none of this really makes sense when reading but honestly it isn't much better on screen. 

The film reminded me an awful lot of Alice in Wonderland and Narnia, the main character Clara stumbles upon the realms through a secret entrance just like Alice falling through the rabbit hole and the children walking through the wardrobe into Narnia. Moreover time is different in the Realms where days can pass yet in the real world only minutes have passed. But unlike the most recent Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Nutcracker and the Four Realms does not go far enough with its craziness. I have to admit I love over the top visual films that play with colour and clever imagery and this film certainly offers that, but I wish we got to explore it some more. However when I say the film does not go far enough I mean with its characters. The Sugar Plum Fairy is the only stand out character of the film, I absolutely loved her and I wanted so much more. Almost every character in the film should have been just as off the walls crazy. I also called it weeks ago that she was going to turn out to be the villain, she is just to sugar sweet not to be. The Villain reveal was a strong point of the film and offers some of the most coherent narrative.

Character wise I was really disappointed with Clara, a character that had such protentional. Yet there was nothing really great about her, she is rude, she shouts in a really nasty way to innocent little mice, she is ungrateful when she thinks her mums present is nothing more than a musical box (I mean how many of use have ornate egg music boxes?), and she isn't exactly amazed when she stumbles into the Realms. Moreover she goes from not having a clue what is going on to ordering around an army in like two seconds flat. None of it makes sense, the film fails Clara as a character and I am so disappointed. The film was never going to be fantastic when it is centred around a stand offish character that has no presence and seems to change between multiple personalities. The nutcracker (Jayden Fowora-Knight) played his role well, but he had no back story and I don't think I every really connected with him. He is forgettable. The characters that are merable are the ones played by veteran actors, Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) is a friend of Clara's mother that leads her to the Realms, although he is only in the film at the beginning and at the end. He was interesting and I would have liked to have seen him more. Mother Ginger was also great. She has a powerful presence and an extreme amount of depth which this film really needed more of, she should have had way more screen time. But as I stated above the Sugar Plum Fairy was the star of this film in everyway. Every scene she is in, all my attention was on her and her high pitched baby voice that worked perfectly and lost some of its perfectness when she got angry. I love that she eats her candy floss hair when nervous and the way she takes pleasure in ordering her soldiers around. I loved her lines such as 'I dont want to play nice anymore', she sings 'I'm the Queen of the castle, and your a dirty rascal' and 'A true Queen does whats best for herself'.  She steels the show but her story arch just seems to get forgotten when Clara's time in the Realm comes to an abrupt end. 

Visual wise I cannot fault this film it is beautiful from start to finish. There is an overload of colour in the realms that works really well and almost reminded me of Disneyland. Before Clara enters the Four Realms the film is not any less beautiful, there are glittering trees and red ballrooms full of dancers. I personally love a dance sequence in a film. Whilst I am talking about dancing I did expect a little more ballet, there is some at the party before Clara enters the Realm and then the history of the Realms is shown though ballet. The ballet is performed by the talented Misty Copeland, it is a beautiful scene and quite possibly my faviourte scene of the film, it is just a shame that there wasn't more. There are also stand out scenes where everything just works well like when the Sugar Plum Fairy comes down the palace stairs with her Nutcracker army and the jester and Mother Ginger scene in the circus tent. As I say visually wise this film does not disappoint, the sets look detailed and the costumes are divine (I wish there had been a few more costume changes because they were just so stunning). The time and talent that must have gone into this film is evident and shines throughout and it will probably be the reason I watch it again. 


Overall I would not call the Nutcracker and the Four Realms awful it is far from awful, but it didn't blow me away as I thought it would. It is a beautiful film full of stunning visuals, I bet you could pause this film at any moment and it would be beautiful. But there is just something off about the narrative, the film feels so rushed, it would have been better if the film had been longer meaning that the story would have made a little more sense. I think it is worth a watch the talent of the people involved in this film is on another level. Do not let the critics stop you from seeing this film.


Also why are all of the Christmas films coming out in November this year? I am so confused!

Thank you for reading x

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Comments

  1. I thought the film was okay but there was far to much CGI for me.

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  2. Thank you for reading x

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