‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ falls short of expectations

Movie provides delight for kids, nothing else

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‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ falls short of expectations

Fair use from Walt Disney Pictures

Fair use from Walt Disney Pictures

Fair use from Walt Disney Pictures

Fair use from Walt Disney Pictures

Dahlia Krebs

With a flashy set and a star-studded cast, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” originally looked to be this year’s holiday movie for families. However, even the cast can’t save the rushed plot and predictable twists.

In this version of the fairytale, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is a young and clever girl more interested in mechanics than people. Against her father’s wishes, Clara is set on unlocking a metal egg given to her by her dead mother. Her search leads her to a magical realm which is under threat of attack.

Foy plays Clara with all the innocence and naïvety expected, but the real star of the movie was Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Knightley shows off her acting chops as she portrays the fairy as she transitions from a bit ditsy to beyond crazy. Morgan Freeman as the godfather and Helen Mirren as the supposedly evil Mother Ginger are fun to watch, but their acting is mediocre and doesn’t add to the movie. The astounding set and costume design helps a bit to hide their flaws, but not enough. A brief cameo from ballerina Misty Copeland, where she dances the history of the Four Realms, will enthrall children and adults alike.

While you can easily get lost in the complex set, the storyline falls flat. The plot is simple, but still manages to appear rushed. Moments that are supposed to be eye-opening, like when Clara realizes her mother gave her the egg to show that all Clara needs is herself, don’t get as personal as they should. While this point is supposed to be Clara’s moment of self-realization, it just seems out of place and unnecessary. Many scenes are cringey and try to force laughter, as with the two soldiers played by comedians Jack Whitehall and Omid Djalili, whose antics will enlist cheap laughs.

I would recommend “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” to families with young kids, or as a movie to take your younger sibling to. It is good to go see if you want something more playful to relax to. There are brief moments that can be scary, but overall it lives up to its PG rating. While the movie would not provide good entertainment for adults, is very kid friendly.

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” ★★★☆☆

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