Sometimes you can really see a specific type of audience in the audience of a movie. Slender Man might draw teenagers and A Star is Born might draw couples. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was definitely very specific – it was impossible not to notice. All around me were little girls with their Grans, dozens of these adorable pairs. I was one of three men in the entire auditorium and definitely the only non-Dad.
A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie made me curious. I’ve never seen the original Nutcracker ballet but luckily Wikipedia was there in a pinch. It looks like is it’s quite the departure from the ballet and also the book it was based on. But that’s likely a good thing. Of the three, the film has the most solid plot and characterisation. Maybe that’s to do with the medium. I don’t get ballet but I do get film. And this film was magnificent, just wonderful to behold, I haven’t seen a movie this visually rich and gorgeous since Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It was breathtaking, and there wasn’t even fan service (nor anyone to deliver it).
There was a lot to like in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms besides the incredible visuals. For one thing, the music was wonderful. Maybe I’m just a sucker for classical music but it was pretty wonderful. The acting was great. I particularly liked Morgan Freeman and Keira Knightly nailed it as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Helen Mirren was my favorite, but that is no surprise. This movie was exactly the right length – 1 hour, 39 minutes. There was a good inciting incident, the midpoint turn and dark moment at the end of Act 2, it was flawless. We knew what the characters wanted, and why – it was a very easy plot to follow.
That might have been the weakest part of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, too. It was a little too simple. The characters, even the ones with secrets, weren’t that complicated. There was no real ambivalence there, nothing paradoxical or challenging. It was almost Twee. Yes, I know it’s a kid’s movie, but still, no excuses. Smallfoot managed alright, after all. Things were just what they were with no real explanation (again maybe it’s just me). What was the logic between dividing the Realms into Sweets, Flowers, Snowflakes and… Ginger? Wouldn’t Ginger be part of Sweets? I don’t get it.
So is Nutcracker and the Four Realms worth seeing? I’d say yes. Especially if you’re a young girl – you could take your Gran. It’s worth seeing for the visuals and music alone. There was a bit of ballet stuffed in the middle that seemed to serve no purpose other than to appease people who went there wishing it WAS the ballet but that’s forgivable. It might not be complex enough to think about afterwards but it’s a thing of beauty and marvellously entertaining.