The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review
If there is one Hollywood studio that has really been sticking out like a sore thumb this decade for all the right reasons, its Disney. But really, should we be at all surprised? They have been a studio that has specialized in family entertainment. But purchasing both Marvel and LucasFilm in such a short span has been both a pleasure and a profit for the studio, and no matter what you think of those franchises, Disney has more than justified buying them. It looks like they will be expanding on their Marvel branch of entertainment very soon and if they do, more power to them. I just wish they could have pulled it off sooner so that certain characters could have met certain characters before contracts went bye-bye. It will also be interesting to see what happens when they launch their streaming service Disney Play next year.
Disney has also had plenty of success taking their old animated tales and giving them the live action treatment. I thought this was a needless endeavor. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed by movies like "The Jungle Book" and "Beauty and The Beast" and "Cinderella." I am curious as hell about "Dumbo," "Aladdin" and my personal favorite Disney movie of all time, "The Lion King" next year. All of this success has lead them to start taking some chances, and when you start taking chances, that can't happen without some ambition and in this day and age, ambition counts for alot.
I've seen The Nutcracker play, but I vague memories of it. Because I saw it when I was in 2nd or maybe 3rd grade. I know that "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" is partially based on "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by E.T.A. Hoffman and "The Nutcracker" by Marius Petipa. I haven't read either of those. I am by no means an expert on this material. Neither is most kids growing up right now. Like I said, this is a wildly ambitious venture for Disney. Ambition always counts for me, and I was curious to see how this would unfold.
As with most Disney movies, "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" is spectacular to look at. Just freaking spectacular to look at. If you need any reason to take your family to this movie, take them for the visuals. Your kids are going to lose their minds just looking at things happening on the screen. This is a movie built for the biggest screen you can find. The costume design is exquisite in the film as well. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised at all if the movie gets one Oscar nod for costume design. I don't know if costumes are things your kids look for, but they are there. So yes, the movie looks really pretty and I am sure it will absorb your children.
Your children are going to need it too, they are going to need some way to absorb and enjoy this thing. Because this is a wildly boring movie. I think little kids are going to be crawling out of their skin in boredom over this movie. They probably won't have any idea what is going on in the movie either. Even for a family movie, this film takes incoherent to a whole new level. Yes, their is a quest. Its a Disney movie for families. Of course there is a quest. Clara (Mackenzie Foy) has a mother who just recently passed away. Her late mother gave her a gift. She has to travel across the four realms in order to find a key for her gift because...well, that's a little fuzzy. Clara sure gets sidetracked on her journey. That's for sure. She sits down and watches a stage opera with The Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley) for what seems like four hours. Then I guess she remembered she's on a quest and the movie continues.
Children are going to be lost trying to follow this movie. The worst thing they could have done was not make this thing simple. That's what happened, they smothered their easy win with a bunch of fluff. There is a simple movie hidden inside "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," but I am not so sure there is enough effort to really dig and find it. Morgan Freeman is fine in this, but he has a face that looks like it reads "Help! I'm in a dumb movie and I know it!" Keira Knightley is completely overacting here. Helen Mirren looks embarrassed the whole time. I guess I would be too.
FINAL GRADE: C-