The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Reviews
And for the first half hour or so I was on board with what both the Mouse House and director-for-hire Lasse Hallstr├Âm (What´┐ 1/2(TM)s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules) were doing and seemingly wanted to do. Without so much as breaking a sweat the film instinctively provides this necessary aura of Christmas warmth. I say Hallstr├Âm is a director-for-hire because that´┐ 1/2(TM)s what it feels like at this stage in his career and with this type of project, but as one can tell from the man´┐ 1/2(TM)s past credits this is not a single-faceted filmmaker and thus there are some very cool, very classic choices in terms of style as not only does the film pay homage to large ballet productions, but to the golden-age of movie musicals as well. I won´┐ 1/2(TM)t sit here and pretend I know all there is to know about classic Hollywood musicals or ballet productions and make comments on how Hallstr├Âm uses there influence to craft his visuals, but I will say that thousands of life-size mice forming together in constant motion to create one big Mouse King is absolutely terrifying and also rather visually inventive too. So, there´┐ 1/2(TM)s that.
It is once the parameters of the plot are defined and the characters all established that things become all the more predictable; the motivations of the characters and the lessons intended to be taught all equally as obvious. Our protagonist, Clara (Interstellar´┐ 1/2(TM)s Mackenzie Foy), is meant to learn lessons about and the differences between trust and responsibility as well as deception through this journey she has to commit to completing on her own and though these may feel like terribly trite lessons, there is something to be said for the fact that sometimes all people need for you to do is trust in yourself and hold strong to your ideals. It is in this regard that it´┐ 1/2(TM)s hard to come down on The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in any real harsh way. The fact the film starts off strong enough and initially feels as if it might become as immersive as the very expensive digital effects and fantastical sets make it seem to be it very quickly devolves into a stilted narrative that often times feels as if it too still has to work out the plot. Instead of putting in the work to figure out how the story might naturally progress though, and find a resolution that might stress the aforementioned themes it instead hurries through the beats of a discarded YA script to reach an underwhelming and lackadaisical finale.
Morgan Freeman has maybe (maybe) a day´┐ 1/2(TM)s worth of work in here and Helen Mirren barely registers. The same goes for Eugenio Derbez and Richard E. Grant who are massively wasted as afterthought supporting characters while Keira Knightley makes a (bold?) choice with that voice. More Matthew Macfadyen in things though, please. Thanks.
The whole Russian nesting doll concept with real people was a cool idea too and it´┐ 1/2(TM)s bits like this mixed with the lack of them anywhere else in the third act that hint towards the fact Joe Johnston´┐ 1/2(TM)s (October Sky, Captain America: The First Avenger) re-shoots might have been a bit more extensive than routine re-shoots.
That was a mistake.
I'm not an 'over-entertained', or visually-spoiled regular movie-watching critic like most of these people giving this movie such a bad review.
For all the bad things people have said about this movie, here's the things I loved about it that the critics seemed to have just missed:
1) Lots of us never understood the ballet version of The Nutcracker Suite, and frankly some of us just think Ballet is too boring to sit through and try to figure out the storyline, but this movie totally helps RE-INTERPRET this story, for us non-ballet lovers to an exciting version which is much easier to understand, without sitting through all the dancing, YET still pays respect to the music and displays some of the ballet to pay tribute to the original masterpiece.
2) I say if people want to see the ORIGINAL Nutcracker Ballet, there are ALREADY PLENTY of that to see on video or ON STAGE LIVE of the SAME OLD STORY.
3) I've just lost my mother this year, and this story is exactly what I needed to ESCAPE my grief into this Disney fantasy land. I've been feeling dead inside with no Christmas Spirit until I saw this movie tonight, which reminded me that 'Missing someone' really means you're fondly remembering them, therefore what a wonderful way to honor them.
4) I love Disney's positive message about 'not judging a book by its cover' ... that just because a person or thing doesn't look outwardly "pretty", it doesn't mean they are immediately bad or evil ... and vice versa.
5) Anyone whose mother has just passed away will really appreciate this movie ... I had a few moments when my eyes welled up with tears with how Clara, her father and her siblings deal with their grief about the loss of their Mother / Wife.
6) Clara uses the passing of her mother as a source of STRENGTH and to remember all the GOOD life lessons her mother taught her.
7) The sets, wardrobe, colors, music were rich, lush and absolute eye-candy, just what you would expect from a Disney production.
So I, as a layman movie watcher, gives The Nutcracker Suite And The Four Realms 2 Thumbs-Up and 5-STARS!
sksskssksksksksksksksks kmn. The ´┐ 1/2 1/2intense´┐ 1/2 1/2´┐ 1/2┬? parts weren´┐ 1/2 1/2(TM)t very ENGAGING ugh and it obviously wasn´┐ 1/2 1/2(TM)t intense AT ALL :). Other than a waste of time it was a movie I´┐ 1/2 1/2(TM)d watch with my barbie dolls in the middle of the night. Yw. Honestly it was just bad lmao.