The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a live action take on the classic tale that develops it further while going in a different direction. It starts out fine bringing some levels of sorrow to it, setting up an enchanting landscape and then it goes completely off the rails. It just gets weird, and not in an exciting way as it's so telegraphed. The plot points are so predictable and the story in general is quite generic.
Initially I had just thought the glaring CGI would be a low point as they were developing characters well, but those developments get thrown away after awhile. They also deliver on such a unique world to only completely ignore the majority of it. You basically get a small montage of these magical places that is a few seconds long. Those other areas looked so neat, but they matter little as this is a conflict between a water surrounded castle and a dark forest. I mean; who cares about the lovely flower land, the chilling frost landscape area or the wild realm of treats! Everything in this is just so obvious, it becomes a bit painful to watch towards the end honestly. With that trailing point happening about halfway through.
I thought the costumes were generally wonderful in this, some bizarre and excellent uses of color. This bright world in comparison to the destroyed evil fourth realm was a great touch. The CGI was bad for the most part, I believe they were going for a really hyper stylized look which they didn't deliver on. It's a shame as some of the set pieces are wonderful.
I found the acting to be fine from the lead, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) as she is a young girl that's purely distraught after losing a close family member. I won't go into that element any further as that spoils elements of the narrative. I thought Sugar Plum (Keira Knightley) was dreadful towards the latter half, not great though there wasn't a whole lot to work with. I also found this to have a rather weak performance from Helen Mirren, as the evil Mother Ginger. There was a really good ballet sequence that I must mention, it helped explain the narrative in a way that felt truthful to the source material on this one.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is definitely one of the weaker live action films from Disney, it started out fine to truly go off the rails about halfway through. It was at this turning point that things just got almost comically bad, but not at the point to provide enjoyment. There's definitely a target audience for this one, and they might like it. The villain wasn't great here and while it might seem as though it introduces surprises, they're really not hard to see coming.
I can't quite nail down what I disliked the most, but there was a series of problems with this one. I thought the costume work was fantastic, the world is neat and in general they don't use that glowingly great part of this world. It's largely hidden by poor CGI segments, a terribly awkward mouse and some disappointing acting. I'm not sure if the direction this crew was given was weak, but it didn't come together. It's a shame actually as it seemed to be an interesting tale of a young girl getting past an emotional loss by going on some soul searching and instead became something generic that we've seen many times.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by Disney