By Breanna Zampaglione
Disney never fails to provide the magic in its movies, but in the case of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms perhaps the Disney magic is the best that it has to offer.
Taking inspiration from the original story and the classic ballet, this is a film that is beautiful on the surface, but with as much substance as a hollow tin solider.
When young Clara, who has recently lost her mother, receives a Christmas gift that does not open, she turns to her godfather Drosselmeyer for help in finding the key.
When her search takes her into an enchanted realm, Clara soon finds herself meeting the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker Soldier and Mother Ginger, all creatures who were formerly dolls brought to life by her own mother who had visited the realm many years ago.
Determined to find the missing key, Clara finds herself helping the Sugar Plum Fairy, who is at war with Mother Ginger, but not everything is as it seems in the realms, and perhaps Clara has a lot more to learn about appearances than she thought.
While the scenery and costumes are stunningly beautiful, the actors are a little let down by the scripting.
Mackenzie Foy as Clara seems to swing between moods and Helen Mirren isn’t given nearly enough screen time as Mother Ginger.
Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy tends to steal the show but with her high-pitched voice can become a little grating, especially in the moments where she drops it for some creepy one-liners.
But there is a magical quality from prima ballerina Misty Copeland, who guest stars in a scene that tells the story of Clara’s mother discovering the realms, and her dancing is just incredible to witness.
There are plenty of hidden throwbacks to the Nutcracker tales you already know and love, and even more little twists along the way to make this story something new for all.
It’s a perfect glittery story for young children, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms — if nothing else — is the perfect film to kick off the Christmas season.