“The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” Or... How Disney Ruined Ballet

By Scott Kurland

Film: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Richard E. Grant, Eugeni Derbez, Helen Mirren, Jack Whitehall, Jayden Fowora-Knight, and Morgan Freeman

Rated PG

Directors: Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston


                I must have seen every film interpretation of “The Nutcracker” over the years. I’ve seen Macaulay Culkin play the lead role (as The Nutcracker…not Clara). I’ve seen Kiefer Sutherland voice “The Nutcracker Prince.” I’ve seen it all. What I never thought I’d see is two directors like Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston team up to give me the most headache inducing, stomach-churning nightmare that is “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” That’s right folks…I hated this movie. It’s going to be one of those reviews. So buckle in, and let’s crack this nut wide open!

                “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” begins with our lead heroine Clara Stahlbaum (Mackenzie Foy) who is celebrating Christmas with her family. Only one thing is missing; her mother. Yes, Disney once again kills off mommy dearest, leaving Clara’s father (Matthew MacFayden) a hollow shell of a man who is lost in the woods of grief. So lost in fact, that he ogles his daughters in a manner that would upset Freud. When the Stahlbaum family heads to the annual Christmas party thrown by Clara’s Godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), Clara receives a gift that leads her into the mysterious “Four Realms.” If you want a visual picture, its like walking through Elton Johns wardrobe on your way to Narnia. Once there, Clara must protect the three leaders of the Realms (Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, and Richard E. Grant) against the evil Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren). Also there’s a Nutcracker (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who may be in love with Clara (but he’s like 20 and she’s 12 so thanks for that Disney). I hate this movie.

                This is a terrible film. It’s predictable, disgusting, and… did I already mention all the male leads come off as creeps? Matthew McFayden who plays Father Stahlbaum has dialog that makes you cringe and, lest we forget, Morgan Freeman has been in hot water since last year’s allegation came out. This movie almost wasn’t released due to studio issues and filming exceeding schedule. Honestly, I wish it wasn’t released. The story is like the fruitcake that no one asked for. If I have to see one more movie where the moral is “what you needed was inside you all along” I WILL BREAK EVERY NUTCRACKER I SEE! Talk about laziness. Mackenzie Foy and Keira Knightley are wasted, and poor Dame Helen Mirren is clearly doing Lasse Hallstrom a favor.

                When did we stop being creative? Why did Disney suddenly stop caring about the new horizon that is live action? They did so well with “Christopher Robin.” Why stumble now? I chuckled once in this movie, and it wasn’t at a joke. It was because I saw comedian Jack Whitehall. If you’re familiar with his stand-up, he did and entire set about his character being erased from Disney’s “Frozen.” Unintentional or not, he looked embarrassed to be playing the role that he did. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about this movie in his next stand-up special.

                It angers me that this film was terrible because, honestly, we need more films that empower a young female audience. This is not the film. Hopefully that film will be “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald,” There’s five strong female role models in that film (and one of them is a snake half the time). Sadly, “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” wasn’t the film I expected and there was no reason to make this film 3D, apart from a vain attempt at Cirque Du Soleil.  Do yourself a huge favor… don’t waste your time, money, or energy giving this movie your attention.  



scott kurland