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‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ (2018)
Walt Disney Pictures

Directed by: Lasse Hallström & Joe Johnston
Written by: Ashleigh Powell, E.T.A. Hoffmann & Marius Petipa
Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant & Matthew Macfadyen

As the holiday season approaches, Walt Disney brings us a big screen adaptation of the beloved story of “The Nutcracker.” At a brisk 99 minute pace and amid a flurry of the classical music and glorious spectacle, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms‘ makes itself an instant classic. Those familiar with the tale know that Clara is presented with a nutcracker soldier as a Christmas gift by her godfather Drosselmeyer. She falls asleep and finds that the Nutcracker has come to life! She is magically transported to the Land of the Sweets and fights against the Mouse King. This film contains many of those elements, but presents them in a completely different way so that even people who know the story will be pleasantly surprised.

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In this story, Clara attends a party at her godfather Drosselmeyer’s home and, while searching for her Christmas gift, finds her way to a magical realm and is escorted to a large castle by The Nutcracker. There she meets Hawthorne, Shiver & Sugar Plum who are from 3 of the 4 realms. The fourth realm is controlled by Mother Ginger & The MOuse King who, according to the others, seeks to rule all of the realms now that Clara’s mother (who was the Queen) has died. Tchaikovsky‘s classic score resonates throughout the movie and the film itself is equal parts ‘Narnia‘ and ‘Wizard of Oz.’ The acting is solid from the entire cast with the standouts being, not surprisingly, Morgan Freeman as Drosselmeyer and Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger. Mackenzie Foy and Jayden Fowora-Knight as Clara and The Nutcracker, respectively, were also very good in their roles. What I enjoyed the most was the change-up of the story and giving us a fresh take on a well-known and beloved tale. I found the final battle to be slightly anti-climatic, but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this otherwise stunning film. This is a great movie for the whole family and one that will be a perfect fit for the holiday box office! On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ a royally solid 8. Get your tickets this weekend at a theater near you!

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