Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” was a child’s dream come to life. It was colorful and vivid, the settings and scenes pleasing to the eye, capturing the fantasy of the world brought to life. The costumes were whimsical and fanciful, emphasizing the ethereal realm in which the movie takes place. But that is where the magic ends.
The plot is inspired by the ballet and the story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” It focuses on Clara Stahlbaum on Christmas Eve, lost from facing the grief of her mother’s death. While at a party, she is transported to another land separated into four realms-the Land of Sweets, the Land of Flowers, the Land of Snowflakes and the Land of Amusements.
Clara must save the people from an unsuspecting evil. In doing so, she learns to look inside herself and not judge others by their outward appearance. The story is very whimsical and wild, but the message is still very simple.
This movie fell short of expected Disney standards. It received a 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and came out of opening weekend with a weak $20 million earning, nowhere close to breaking even on the movie’s budget.
The plot seemed too big for the movie. It played on typical themes and messages relayed by many other Christmas movies: The importance of being yourself, family and togetherness. Clara struggles with her mother’s death, as do her siblings and her father. This leads to a classic tense relationship with her father that mends through the lessons she learns at the end. There were also messages of not judging a book by its cover and looking inside yourself for the answers shown while Clara undertook her adventure. However, they felt generic, the movie did nothing to bring originality or spins in bringing the message to audiences.
Major questions that were left unanswered at the end of the film that would have allowed the plot to develop further, allowing for a more solid resolution. The villain, while predictable, was not very clear in the reasoning of their evildoing.
There was also the difficulty of not knowing when Clara’s mother died. Knowing these two key things would help to relay the emotions of Clara and the villain more clearly to the audience and allow them to empathize further.
In spite of a star-studded cast, the film lacked chemistry. There was Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Mackenzie Foy and Morgan Freeman who plays, of course, a wise man. The plot was too much a hurdle. While it is evident that they did their best to serve the movie justice, the acting could not save the lacking story.
The film was a generic Christmas story that could have enraptured the attention of audiences of all ages and filled their hearts with a Christmas joy, had there been better attention to plot.
Rating: 4 out of 10