Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Isn’t the Nutcracker Sequel it’s Cracked Up to Be
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Keira Knightly, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Extra Feature Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers: Low
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While Disney’s fancy remake of the timeless classic, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, starts out with a lot of promise but fails to live up to it’s potential. I went into this film truly hoping to enjoy it. Released back in October ahead of the holiday season, this film checked a lot of boxes for movie goers heading into the holiday season. It was a family friendly film, it was themed around Christmas, and it was a sequel to one of the best known Christmas stories around.
It looks fabulous and it has a fantastic cast.
But despite all that it really failed to resonate with me or with my kiddos. I loved the beginning. I loved the introduction to the world and I loved all the characters and their actors. The first handful of scenes were amazing but somewhere after truly setting off on her adventure into the Four Realms, Clara lost me.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the character or the actress’s fault. Certain parts of the story still hooked me and I loved Jayden Fowora-Knight. That kid is an up-and-comer who needs to be in everything forever starting very soon.
But overall it just wasn’t that engaging.
This was disappointing because I loved the idea of this story being a sequel to the original and taking place in a world where the original ballet is actually a part of their history and a celebration of their existence. Stuff like that was awesome. The character design was awesome. The look and feel of the world was awesome. But the story wasn’t as engaging or original as one would hope and it fails to capture the sort of wonder that earlier versions have. The main plot felt like your usual predictable fantasy that was simply dressed up in a pretty Nutcracker bow to draw in the holiday crowd.
In the end, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms fails to live up to it’s potential or the charm of the beloved ballet.
There are a handful of featurettes included on the blu-ray release that focus on the making of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. In Becoming Clara, Mackenzie Foy reflects on her character in a short video while Unwrapping the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Unwrapped: The Visual Effects of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms are a pair of more comprehensive making-of featurettes largely focused on the set, costuming, and special effects among other things. Meanwhile, On Pointe: Misty Copeland talks about adapting the ballet for the few dance-centric moments in the film.
The special features also include a number of deleted scenes and a pair of music videos.
The special effects cover enough ground to be fairly interesting but without a strong connection to the film they aren’t really worth watching. The most interesting one in my opinion happened to be On Pointe which I thought was a very interesting featurette from the perspective of someone whose knowledge of the story comes from the ballet first and foremost.
I wanted to like The Nutcracker and the Four Realms but it clearly wasn’t the movie for me or my kiddos. It looked great and I loved the cast and characters but there’s only so much they can do with a story that falls short of everything you’d hope for in a Nutcracker sequel. Here’s to hoping the cast of talented actors – especially the younger ones – get another shot at a great Disney film again soon!