It’s rare that I watch a Disney film, much less a Disney Christmas film, and turn to the person sitting next to me and say “what was that” and no, it wasn’t in amazement. It was a very perplexed WTF reaction to a particular sequence that I just- I don’t know- it was weird, yo. But I suppose there is a first time for everything and “The Nutcracker and The Four Realms” definitely is … different.
The Disney formula still holds in two forms:
fairy godfather Drosselmeyer, plans fun ways for the kids in town to follow a string to lead to their Christmas presents. Clara’s string just keeps going further and further, into a dark room where she just keeps going…. and finds herself in one of the four magical realms.
Soon enough Clara discovers that her mom was a queen in the realms, and with a loyal Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), by her side, she is introduced to the other rulers of the realms, Hawthorne the King of the Realm of Flowers (Eugenio Derbez), Shiver the King of the Land of Snowflakes (Richard E Grant), and Sugar Plum the Queen of the Land of Sweets (Keira Knightley), who she must break the news of her mother’s demise. It is then she discovers that the three realms are at war with the fourth realm, the Land of Amusements and their leader, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) has been ousted along with the Mouse King. Clara must find a way to save the realms, and get back to her home too.
OK. Sounds confusing? It is… and it isn’t. The truth is, the film will envelope many people because it’s just stunning to look at. Think of it as Willy Wonka (the Depp version, not the genius Wilder one) meets Alice In Wonderland (Tim Burton’s version), only like, less entertaining. The Nutcracker seems to have forgotten what it was trying to say, or you know, that this is supposed to be a Christmas movie for the family. Instead, there are weird tin soldiers that are brought to life, and bouncing weirdo clowns (seriously) that seem to *want* to emulate Oompa Loompas, except, they are just so out of place here.
One of the few saving graces is when Misty Copeland comes on the screen to dance twice. One to show how Clara’s mom discovered the realms (but not really) and again during the credits. I was bored and confused and was so bewildered that Disney has a Christmas movie I don’t like, that when the movie ended, I could have sworn I was sitting for hours and hours. But I wasn’t, I hadn’t even sat for 90 mins. At least there
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms opens November 2nd.