“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is a new twist on the original Nutcracker ballet. In it, Clara Stahlbaum (Mackenzie Foy) has just lost her mother (Anna Madely). She left Clara a small metal egg, but it was locked and she couldn’t open it. Still, her father (Matthew Macfayden) wants her to keep up appearances and be a happy family for Christmas. At her godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) party, children are led to their gifts with pieces of string with their name on them. As Clara follows her string, she finds a whole new world.
I think that this film is a great reimagining of the Nutcracker world. I have to admit, at first I thought that this would be an attempt to recreate the original Nutcracker story, but instead the plot is entirely different. Clara, instead of letting everything happen to her as in the original, is a very active and bright girl who is good with machines. I enjoyed how the film intertwined the old and the new, both brought to life with creative imagery, color, and dance. This film kept the importance of ballet in the movie, which I felt brought a sense of authenticity to the film that otherwise would have been missing. Misty Copeland performs in the mini-ballet within the movie. Anyone over seven will enjoy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” The new storyline plays around with who is good and who is evil, but emphasizes that no matter what side, everyone is human and deserves love. This was a great theme for a Christmas movie. There definitely was a sense of Narnia magic to this film, both having fantasy worlds that are stumbled upon accidently and both having the main characters return almost the moment they left. This enchanted atmosphere worked with the Nutcracker world perfectly.
To understand the original Nutcracker story better, I brought along my friend Claire, who dances the Nutcracker ballet every year.
“I loved the dancing…and how they mixed traditional Nutcracker pieces with new ones,” she said. “Sometimes they would put a traditional piece in a place where it wasn’t in the original ballet, but it still worked with the moment.”
She also added that the plot did not at all follow the original story, but said that was a good thing. People who love Tchaikovsky’s original music for the Nutcracker ballet will enjoy how the music is woven throughout.