This is one of the last Disney movies of 2018, with Wreck It Ralph 2 and Mary Poppins Returns still to come. I have no idea why I was exciting to see this movie once I saw the trailer, it’s clearly advertised towards a young female audience but the set designs, music and really good looking effects attracted me to it. In the past few years Disney has tried to stray away from its usually damsel in distress being saved by a good looking man, Wreck It Ralph 2 even pokes fun at this.
Thankfully, Mackenzie Foy is a brilliant young actress to choose for the main heroine Clara. She’s just a young girl who loses her mother, then venturing into a mysterious fantasy world, only to discover she’s the princess to this world. She has a lot on her plate and delivers a realistic portrayal of how someone might react in this circumstance. I did really like how she’s barely a princess for any of the movies runtime, instead she becomes this strong, intimidating leader who isn’t afraid to go and face evil even when her squad is scared. Although the movie hasn’t been given great reviews, Mackenzie Foy is brilliant in this role and I hope this paves the way for a successful career.
Young Clara needs a magical, one-of-a-kind key to unlock a box that contains a priceless gift. A golden thread leads her to the coveted key, but it soon disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. In that world, she meets a soldier named Phillip, a group of mice and the regents who preside over three realms. Clara and Phillip must now enter a fourth realm to retrieve the key and restore harmony to the unstable land.
The costumes and set designs are a sight to behold. Some of the best of the year and certainly deserves an oscar nomination. Every character and setting pops and is treat for the eyes. There’s a really good ballet sequence half way through the movie, which for the first time ever actually made me want to go to the ballet and see it being performed live. The plot of the movie isn’t great and could have benefited from being more fleshed out, but I still need to give great to both directors who have created one of the best looking movies of the year. The story might be lackluster but the visuals most certainly aren’t.
That’s not to say that the whole movies plot is bad, when it takes itself serious and give us emotional moments then it works. It’s a shame that these moments are very far between, otherwise i’d have been much more invested in the story and characters. Besides Clara, I didn’t really care for anyone. Keira Knightley is incredibly annoying as Sugar Plum, her constant high pitched voice pierces through your ears and you’ll be waiting for her scene to be over with. Knightley does good with what she is given but the character is so incredibly annoying that it’s hard to like her. Everyone else is subpar, besides Foy no one gives a great performance. Everything is average and it really lets the movie down.
Overall, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is a fun family movie. It never strays too far from what we’ve come to expect from Disney and the reveal towards the end felt as though they were treating us like idiots. Despite this, the set designs are amazing, the ballet sequence is a stand out, and the costumes are all spectacular. It’s not a movie for everyone but if you’re looking for the next movie to take your kids to, then certainly take them to see The Nutcracker And The Four Realms.
The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (5/10)
Director: Lasse Hallstrom/Joe Johnston
Runtime: 99 Minutes