The Nutcracker and The Four Mediocre Realms

A personal look at a new film


Mandy Huynh, Reporter

My experience with the Nutcracker is limited to the cartoon version on Tom and Jerry, which was watched every year during Christmas back in my childhood years. As someone who has almost no knowledge of the actual ballet, I went into this movie with no expectations other than the standards of a Disney movie. The company has a talent for bring back old tales and reviving them with that classic Disney magic. So, can The Nutcracker and The Four Realms directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston, make a name for itself or does it have to live off of the famous ballet?

The film starts with a young girl named Clara, played by Mackenzie Foy, grieving over her mother’s death. She follows a gold string, which leads her to The Four Realms, and there she loses her key to her mother’s heirloom. Clara meets a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip played by Jayden Fowora-Knight. Together they set off and try to find Clara’s key.

This movie is gorgeous. Every set design looks like it popped out of a storybook. Even the real world London in the beginning of the film has beautiful details springing with life, especially in one scene with mechanical gears and machines. The costumes were just as vivid; for example, the Sugar Plum fairy had cotton candy hair and a dress decked out in candy- a treat for the eyes! The main character Clara has charming and gorgeous dresses as the story goes on, which I won’t spoil here. This movie is definitely eye candy.  

Some little things I enjoyed were the ballet scenes. The scene when Clara first enters one of the realms and is treated with a show is especially beautiful. The dancers danced gracefully and the camera work really highlights this.

On the other hand, the movie has some pacing issues. The beginning is so slow, which is fine. It’s just the characters aren’t that interesting to watch yet. Every second of the beginning is needed to understand Clara’s character and the movie does a good job of this, but Clara is such a stereotypical lead. She’s your plucky, young, not like other girls gal with a liking for mechanical stuff instead of dresses, which is interesting but it’s brought up four times in the film.

Also all of the other characters don’t get that much time in the spotlight. I barely learn anything about Philip the soldier. Even the chemistry of Philip, the male lead with Clara is non-existent. Philip gets more chemistry with another character down the road in for the last half of the movie.

The classic Disney villain twist is predictable. I won’t give away too much but the villain is disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong. There are certain characters that are wonderfully charming. Sugar Plum has some quirky lines later  and Mother Ginger’s posse is so much fun to watch on screen.

Despite all of the bad things about this movie, I can appreciate the hard work that went into the set designs. Overall, I enjoyed Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, but honestly I think you should only go see this movie for the visuals since it doesn’t offer that much in terms of story.