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Review - 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms'

Review - 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms'

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the perfect example of a film that uses a relate-able title to draw people in, only to trick them into watching a story play out that is so completely different and altogether bland and uninspiring when compared to the original source material.

The film tells the story of Clara (Mackenzie Foy), a young girl who is transported to another world filled with magic and where time passes much faster. Clara must uncover the mystery surrounding her mother and find a way to stop the four realms from warring against one another.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms isn’t a bad film, but it is an entirely unremarkable one. The writing here is lax and the story is filled with a myriad of dull characters that have all of the emotion of a card-board cut-out you might see propped up at your local movie theater. The pacing is also dreadfully slow at times. Directors Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston seem hell-bent on trying to convey a child-like wonder throughout the film, but just about every set-piece here that is meant to evoke awes instead putter out because we’ve all seen very similar tricks in films like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and the live action Narnia movies.

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With that said, the set-design and costume work here is actually quite superb. I loved that there was a more tangible feel to this fantasy world, even if the occasional CGI manifestation would rear it’s ugly head from time to time. My only qualm from an aesthetic standpoint would be the heavy implementation of the seemingly original Nutcracker music. The music is sometimes used appropriately, but more often than not the familiar ques would fail to gel with what was happening on screen, and that’s because the format of this film is completely different than the source material.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a technically serviceable film, but it’s entirely lacking in magic and doesn’t have anything new to say. Despite continuously stumbling, the film is at least a pretty little bauble to look at.

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