The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)
On this trip to the movies I was joined by some friends from the office. We headed to the theater after work and caught a 3D matinée screening.
This looked fantastic. Costumes, production design, and visual effects, all grade A. The Disney art department was in full on sugar-and-spice mode when they threw this thing together. The ultimate effect being akin to a three-tier chocolate cake wrapped in meringue and marzipan topped off with intricate caramel sugar work. Such a creation might score you a handshake from British Bake-Off’s Mr. Paul Hollywood, until he cuts into it and finds the stodgy unbaked center.
I don’t recall the original story, so any diversions from the Ballet, or E. T. A. Hoffmann’s, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, didn’t really matter to me (though I understand the changes are extreme, so it might matter to some). The story delivered in this movie is all style and very little substance. Ultimately, I couldn’t relate to anything happening on the screen, and studio meddling was evident throughout.
This film never found its rhythm, and the more iconic tracks from Tchaikovsky’s original music aren’t used enough. As for the performances, there’s not much to recommend there either. Most of the cast are basically mannequins for Jenny Beavan’s beautiful costumes. Mackenzie Foy does okay as Disney’s “modern” engineer princess despite not given an actual character to play, and Keira Knightley was fun to watch as the sickly sweet, Sugar Plum.
Rated: PG Running time: 1 h 39 min
Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant, Helen Mirren
Screenplay: Ashleigh Powell
Directed by: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston