The four realms is a very eclectic place, and that makes for an equally eclectic watch
As a production company, Disney have become far more consistent in recent memory. Their cinematic output, discounting franchises such as Star Wars and Marvel, consists of a condensed list with very few miss hits along the way. It feels almost as if the company has looked to streamline its output, focusing on offering quality productions rather than any old rubbish with Disney written all over it in hard black sharpie.
The Nutcracker looks to follow suit with a similar output, basing its story on the nutcracker ballet but adding in a series of twists and differences looking to keep the production fresh. Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is a young girl feeling out of sorts and out of place since the death of her mother a year earlier. However, when she is gifted a golden egg on Christmas Eve by her late mother, Clara tasks herself with finding a way to open it, and discover what is inside. Her journey leads her to the four realms, a mysterious land inhabited by vibrant people terrified of Mother Ginger, the ruler of the Land Of Amusements.
Ultimately The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is a bizarre piece of film making, and though not a miss hit as such, its strange nature and often questionable story choice makes it an uneasy watch. The idea of the four realms, and even the nutcracker himself, feels forced and underdeveloped, becoming an unpredictable but questionable series of mini adventures that never truly reach a summary. The story, very loosely tied to The Nutcracker, makes hard and winding work of a plot that would have worked were it much simpler.
There are positives coming in the form of a wonderful performance from young Mackenzie Foy as Clara, and the set and costume design is original and interesting, if not a little creepy. There is certainly a play with the twisted fairy tale story Disney loves to tell so much, and has perhaps too much of its desired effect, alienating and being frankly uncomfortable to watch. With clowns and snowflake people and others covered in flowers, the four realms is a very eclectic place, and that makes for an equally eclectic watch.
It’s mix of a predictable arc but an unpredictable journey offers some intrigue, but not enough to give it ample qualities to run with. The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is certainly intriguing, and its famous cast offer up some interesting questions (like why did they sign up to this?) but in reality it doesn’t have enough to continue Disney’s quality streak, and is perhaps a sign that their greenback tinted lenses are making a reappearance, creating signage for a wave of ‘any old rubbish’ to come spewing out of the company in the years to come.
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