The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a fantasy film for young children. This Kiera Knightly, Mackenzie Foy, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman starrer is based around the magical night of Christmas Eve. A young group of children who are mourning their deceased mother go into a mysterious but beautiful house on the night of Christmas. One of the children, a young girl named Clara (Foy) unlocks a magical parallel world and goes through a thrilling journey.
Some locks are harder to pick than others
Clara embarks on this journey with the help of a Nutcracker Soldier. As she enters the Fourth Realm, she meets the soldier and also the rulers of the land of Flowers, Sweets and Snow.
Based on the short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, the film breathes life into a world that is created beautifully with special effects, a fantastic soundtrack and some excellent performances by the lead actors.
Clara’s journey of finding answers and then losing them and finding them again seem blasé from the premise but the visual effects are fairly compelling enough for you to stay hooked in for the hundred minutes. The journey is visually stunning with a ballet performance to tell the backstory, a grand villain to bring a twist and a trusty friend, Jayden Fowora Knight as Captain Phillip Hoffman, who gives the film the fair bit of heart and soul.
The film, however, fails to make an argument about the Realms’ premise or gives much attention to it. The conflicts within the Realm are also suddenly sprung into the stream of the narrative and the end becomes quite predictable.
The allegories of dealing with grief, finding oneself and unlocking true potential may have been the central themes of the film but they rarely come through and it is difficult to feel angry at the villain due to no establishment of clear motive except for a mere sentence or two.
Perhaps the film would have benefited from more time being spent on creating the villainy and the backstory instead of relying on slow paced dialog.