The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)
Critic Consensus: Lacking a transporting yuletide story or dazzling dance routines, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a hollow holiday confection that's lovely to look at -- and easy to forget.
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Critic Reviews for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
But like A Wrinkle in Time, Nutcracker and the Four Realms is an expensive but clunky fantasy, mashing together mythical elements but mostly hitting discordant notes.
Perversely, a family film this is not: The Mouse King -- actually a writhing body of mice all working together as one moving mass -- is the stuff of children's nightmares.
[It] creates magical, fantastic scenes that should utterly amaze audiences. Yet, the all-important emotional bonds between the characters feel thin and scripted. Where's the excitement? The sense of discovery? The amusing comic interplay?
Be forewarned that Disney's latest holiday offering has reprocessed nothing but bits, pieces, slivers and chunks of Nutcrackery into a colorful, sumptuously produced confection with barely detectable nutritional value.
Maybe see it for the effects work and production design, both of which are nothing short of spectacular.
Audience Reviews for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Not being overly familiar with the German story from which the famous ballet drew its inspiration I was completely game for this Disneyfied version of The Nutcracker story. If nothing else, I thought The Nutcracker and the Four Realms might make me feel like a kid again. You know, being fed classic literature through the guise of Walt Disneyï¿ 1/2(TM)s interpretation and being spared any gory or potentially upsetting details in favor of being sent home with a belly full of sentimental, if not substantial, satisfaction. This, coupled with the fact it might be nice to get a break from what might have otherwise been another ï¿ 1/2live-actionï¿ 1/2Â? re-imagining of one of my childhood classics made for a fair amount of-I wonï¿ 1/2(TM)t say excitement, but eagerness on my part. The fact it clocked in at a brisk 90-minutes didnï¿ 1/2(TM)t hurt either. And for the first half hour or so I was on board with what both the Mouse House and director-for-hire Lasse HallstrÃ¶m (Whatï¿ 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 HallstrÃ¶m is a director-for-hire because thatï¿ 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 manï¿ 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 wonï¿ 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 HallstrÃ¶m 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, thereï¿ 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 (Interstellarï¿ 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 itï¿ 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 dayï¿ 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 itï¿ 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 Johnstonï¿ 1/2(TM)s (October Sky, Captain America: The First Avenger) re-shoots might have been a bit more extensive than routine re-shoots. #ReleaseTheHallstrÃ¶mCut
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