THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

SFX - - Reviews - Kim­ber­ley Bal­lard

RE­LEASED OUT NOW! PG | 99 min­utes

Di­rec­tors lasse Hall­ström, Joe John­ston

Cast Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knight­ley, Matthew Mac­fadyen, Mor­gan Free­man Adapt­ing gothic fairy­tale “The Nutcracker And The Mouse King” felt like a dark and deca­dent move for Dis­ney. This is a story of dolls com­ing to life and seven-headed mice. But too many al­ter­ations and a slaver­ing ob­ses­sion with vi­su­als re­sults in bor­ing, vac­u­ous goop.

The film starts sweetly enough, fol­low­ing a young Vic­to­rian woman called Clara who finds a door­way into an en­chanted king­dom. But once she meets the Su­gar Plum Fairy and is tasked with res­cu­ing the Four Realms from Mother Gin­ger, the story falls apart into lazy, unin­spired sto­ry­telling.

The cos­tumes are gor­geous, but the Four Realms look like an over­sat­u­rated, sickly mess. The star-stud­ded Bri­tish cast also has the un­for­tu­nate sheen of Christ­mas panto. And the film com­pletely loses the sense that fairy tales can of­ten be bru­tal, vi­o­lent stories. Here the vil­lain is so lack­lus­tre she’s out­shone by a CGI mouse.

A sin­gle mas­ter­ful scene sees Misty Copeland reen­act the mak­ing of the Four Realms through bal­let, but the magic fiz­zles out when she steps off stage. What an aw­ful mis­step that the en­tire film wasn’t told through dance, some­thing that could have el­e­vated it above Dis­ney dregs.

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