Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The Sydney Film Festival is wrapped up for 2019! Click here to check out our must-see films with the SWITCH team's reviews.x
review, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The, Nutcracker, and, the, Four, Realms, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Matthew Macfadyen, Ellie Bamber, Miranda Hart, Meera Syal, Omid Djalili, Nick Mohammed, Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston film rating

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

★★

ALICE IN LACKLUSTRELAND

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Connor Dalton
22nd November 2018

There is no stranger cinematic offering this year than Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’. But let that be stated when speaking of its concept, as it feels very much like Disney executives pulling a public domain property out of a hat and imbuing it with strange sensibilities. To that end, the actual film itself is often a very derivative affair, often feeling cut from the same cloth as other Disney properties, most notably the live-action ‘Alice in Wonderland’ films as well as their ‘Narnia’ franchise. It is undeniably beautiful to look at, as it excels with its stunning production design, costuming and visuals. Yet, beyond those facets, it is very hollow when it comes to earning emotion and substance, veering it more towards a disposable quality than a new yuletide classic.

With the story loosely based on the celebrated tellings of the Nutcracker fable, the film centres on Clara (Mackenzie Foy, ‘Interstellar’), a young woman still coming to grips with the passing of her mother. It's Christmas Eve, and as her family make their way to a lavish celebration, she is given a parting gift by her mother, a box that is set to contain a priceless gift inside. The only issue is that the box comes without a key, and it isn’t too long before it transports Clara to a magical land filled with sugarplum fairies, gingerbread soldiers and armies of mice. She is in the mythical four realms, and must travel to the unstable fourth realm to retrieve the key which will bring peace to the various kingdoms.

SWITCH: 'THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS' TRAILER

Many were quick to judge this film when news of it first arose, with it quickly joining the ranks of studio tentpoles that probed curiosity as to how and why it was in production. While the film we have is never quite able to rise above those condemnations, it admittedly has its charms. As undoubtedly, it offers a visceral thrill that easily summates itself at its apex. The production design is simply exquisite, offering decadent sets bathed in rich colours associated with its festive setting. This also extends to the costuming, which richly pervades itself through the various realms with stylish panache. It is a largely visual treat, creating worlds that are distinctive due to their vibrant allure and evoking of whimsy.

Beyond this, however, the film is expectedly discordant, with a real lack of originality present within the overarching narrative. We’ve seen this so often before - the young kid who struggles to adapt to conformity finds a strange, mythical land which calls her to power to stop a dangerous threat. And where ‘Nutcracker’ falls flat is that it adopts that trite storytelling approach and never chooses to go beyond it. Nothing is really examined with a sense of depth, with the film feeling comfortable not going beyond that standard tale of war in a world unlike our own with any serious heft and complexity. By way of story, it offers no surprises, and many beats often are perceived as predictable with no real attempt to deviate beyond the tropes that Disney have used in similar properties. We’ve just seen this kind of plot play out on too many occasions.

Aside from being an enjoyable little film to keep your kids occupied for an hour-and-a-half, there isn’t anything of substance to the proceedings.

And what this does, unfortunately, is make the film largely forgettable. It never ascends to anything transcendent with labels such as harmless, amusing and inoffensive much more accurate. It has its moments of promise, especially when tonally it decides to move to darker territories, and an all-out performance from Keira Knightley (‘The Imitation Game’, ‘A Dangerous Method’) certainly provides a bit more vitality. But it is just unremarkable, a near-perfect approximation of middle-of-the-road. Some performances are occasionally stilted, the CG offers a bit of uncanny valley occurrences and its formulaic tendencies drag it down.

In all fairness, there isn’t too much to be said about ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’. It isn’t as frustrating as when Disney poorly revamps a title from their animated canon, nor is it good enough to justify seeing the film. It looks pretty, and that is essentially where the lauding ceases. For what we could have received when this concept was revealed, it is much more entertaining than any right it has to be. But, aside from being an enjoyable little film to keep your kids occupied for an hour and a half, there isn’t anything of substance to the proceedings. A strong cast and great emphasis to what makes up the frame forms for a passable albeit imitative film. And depending what you’re looking for in a 2018 version of the Nutcracker, will more than likely determine whether you’re going to be content with that or not.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 22/11/2018
CAST: Mackenzie Foy
Keira Knightley
Morgan Freeman
Helen Mirren
Matthew Macfadyen
Ellie Bamber
Miranda Hart
Meera Syal
Omid Djalili
Nick Mohammed
DIRECTORS: Lasse Hallström
Joe Johnston
PRODUCERS: Larry J. Franco
Mark Gordon
DisneysNutcracker
TheNutcracker
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Yesterday - A new British comedy with a little help from The Beatles
TRENDINGWIN YESTERDAYA new British comedy with a little help from The Beatles
Yesterday - Great concept, disappointing execution
TRENDINGYESTERDAYGreat concept, disappointing execution
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
TRENDINGDANGER CLOSE: THE BATTLE OF LONG TANClose to home
Toy Story 4 - Entertaining but thoroughly unnecessary
TRENDINGTOY STORY 4Entertaining but thoroughly unnecessary
Claire Darling - A French film fail
TRENDINGCLAIRE DARLINGA French film fail
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
My Big Gay Italian Wedding - A ridiculously fun love story
TRENDINGMY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDINGA ridiculously fun love story
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
Saturday Afternoon - A shocking and abrasive assessment of terrorism
TRENDINGSATURDAY AFTERNOONA shocking and abrasive assessment of terrorism
The Third Wife - Artistic, painful and beautiful
TRENDINGTHE THIRD WIFEArtistic, painful and beautiful
Kursk - When tragedy and bureaucracy collide
TRENDINGKURSKWhen tragedy and bureaucracy collide
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
TRENDINGJUDY & PUNCHA dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
The Nightingale - A blunt and brutal period piece
TRENDINGTHE NIGHTINGALEA blunt and brutal period piece
Blinded By The Light - The spiritual sequel to Bend It Like Beckham
TRENDINGBLINDED BY THE LIGHTThe spiritual sequel to Bend It Like Beckham
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir - An endearing tale of destiny
TRENDINGTHE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIRAn endearing tale of destiny
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us