“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” Fails to Deliver a Decent Story [Opinion]


Credit to (Photo Used with Permission)

Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms." (image from movies.disney.com)

By Michael Willmann, FHNtoday Reporter

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Over the five day weekend, nicknamed “Thanksgiving Break,” I had the opportunity to see The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, another Disney film that was directed by directors Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston. The film is about a girl named Claire, who during a Christmas party, accidentally stumbles into a magical and enchanted land that is currently divided and at war with an evil entity called Mother Ginger, who use to be one of the Regents who helped rule the land and its four realms in peace and harmony.

Let’s start with visuals. As per the usual, Disney did an absolutely fantastic job with its visual effects. All the CGI used in the movie was absolutely stunning work and put the viewer into a majestic, yet believable, fantasy world, filled with peril, yet also a peaceful and relaxed attitude. All the CGI effects were smooth, inserted into the film with little to no awkwardness and felt completely natural. The costumes and makeup on each actor is what really did it for me, though. Each costume put on each character seemed relatively appropriate for the time period and place. While in the Four Realms, there were all kinds of enchanting costumes, from Nutcracker soldiers with painted faces, to fairies with an overabundance of makeup covering their faces, really putting the viewer in a fantasy vibe and environment. It almost gave off the vibes of The Chronicles of Narnia mixed with an Alice in Wonderland after effect.

Unfortunately, this complex and wonderful costuming and visual effects work is like an attempt to cover up a hollow inside of a plot. The actual story of this movie is absolutely awful, predictable from the first half of the movie. Honestly, if this movie didn’t have such well done graphics and costume work, it would rank way lower. The main villain of the story is very easy to predict, and the ‘twist’ that is suppose to surprise the viewers is visible from a mile away. The characters of the story all feel hollow. There is no real characterization, no one rememberable. They’re all just average. There’s no depth to any of these characters, especially (and even ironically), the Nutcracker Philip. You would expect a film titled The NUTCRACKER and the Four Realms to stress some of significance around a character literally called ‘The Nutcracker,’ but this character is just as hollow and forgettable as everyone else in the film. While I understand that, as a Disney movie possibly aimed towards a bit of a younger aged audience, these remake films usually have a lot more too them, with characters that you, as a viewer, can connect with, but there’s just nothing there. Each character is a mannequin wearing a mask that tries to imitate a human being.

On the bright side of characterization, I will give props to the actors for doing at least a decent job at portraying their characters. Only Jayden Fowora-Knight, who played Philip the Nutcracker, seemed stiff, his lines a little forced. I want to commend Keira Knightley, best known for her role in Pirates of the Caribbean for surprising me. I didn’t quite expect her to fit into her role as a Sugar Plum Fairy, but she did a rather startling job- albeit with a bit of an annoying, high pitched voice that lasted the entirety of the film.

Let me clear up a common misconception about this film: This is not, by any means, an action film. There are no huge big battles, there are no armies moving against each other. There is action in the film, but this film is not based around said action. In fact, the start of the movie is kind of slow, but the action really does start to pick up after a good while in.

To recap: This movie is definitely more targeted for kids or the average viewer out for a not too complicated, visually pleasing movie. While the visual effects are absolutely stunning, that’s about as complicated as this movie gets, with a very, very simple minded plot, followed up with some rather hollow characters. While this does not make the movie inherently bad, it definitely makes the movie a little less enjoyable, especially for viewers like me. While the movie really gives off vibes similar to films like The Chronicles of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland, it is nowhere near the prowess of either of these movies. If you’re going to the theater anytime soon for an after Thanksgiving movie, I would not recommend this one unless you really don’t care about a film’s plot and characters. Maybe the smaller kids and more carefree viewers would enjoy it, but it isn’t for people looking for a genuinely good movie.