If you are looking for a classic telling of The Nutcracker in its classic form, this is definitely not it.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms should have been named Clara and the Four Realms for viewers to really know what they are walking into. The Nutcracker character is nothing more than a secondary character who could easily be replaced, though Jayden Forwora-Knight did an excellent job for what he was given. If you even search him out as part of the cast, he is so far down on the totem pole and not just because other leading actors are in the movie. In fact, he is hardly credited as The Nutcracker at all.
This tale revolves around Clara (Mackenzie Foy) after losing her mother before Christmas and how her and her family grieve while having to go through the holiday. When she is given a locked gift from her father that was once her mothers, Clara is determined to open it. Going to her Godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) party, Clara finds herself in a parallel world, the place that holds the key she has been searching for, and runs into a cast of characters that her mother once knew and brought to life.
Misty Copeland gets top billing as well in this movie despite her small part. She was the one that helped Disney recreate the movie from the ballet. She might not have bothered with the way that Disney proceeded to mess up the whole storyline. Though to be fair, if you wait until the credits, you get to see a nice sequence in which Misty Copeland dances with another male dancer in a more classical form of the tale. My boys loved that part and were so glad we stayed, especially when the one dancer started doing more of a hip-hop type dance to the classical music.
Expect big shocks that show off that someone was not a huge Nutcracker fan early in their life. Or maybe they suffered nightmares about those candy canes and sugar plums. Who knows, but it made for a chaotic mess of a movie. In fact, I would graciously say that this movie somehow got caught between the imaginations of A Wrinkle in Time and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
My boys, who had not been exposed to The Nutcracker before this movie, actually enjoyed it. Surprising as I never expected them to and I almost didn’t take them. They gave it a 4 to 4.5-star rating out of 5. They were more impressed by the battle scenes, even if there weren’t many. I, however, gave it a 3.5 out of 5.
I really wanted to love this movie. I am an avid fan of the ballet, though living in a house with all guys it doesn’t give me much of an opportunity to watch it. This movie did bring out some emotional feelings by the end (as I also know the loss of a parent). I only wished that the movie was not as jarring as it was because there were several times when I just began to feel one way or the other about a something that happened and suddenly it was over and another scene began. I could completely tell that this tale was put on by two minds, the two directors (Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston). But mostly, I left the theater wondering why so much of the story had to change for them to make it into a movie.
Have you seen The Nutcracker and the Four Realms? What did you think about it? Have a different opinion? Let me know in the comments below.