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I don’t know about you, but I’m still in disbelief that Halloween has come and gone. We are now in the thick of the holiday season, and that means lots of movies are hitting theaters. The first of holiday movie to make its debut is Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. While I’ve been anticipating Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mary Poppins Returns for months now, Disney’s The Nutcracker wasn’t high on my list of movies to see this Christmas.
Not going to lie to you all… when I hear a movie is based on a ballet, I don’t exactly rush out for a ticket. Maybe it I’m just not cultured enough or it goes back to that traumatizing year of ballet I took in 2nd grade, but either way, I didn’t have high expectations going in.
Shaun and I were on our own this Friday so we decided to be good Disney fans and check it out! There won’t be any major spoilers in this review, but I will mention some elements of the movie. You’ve had your warning! So now the big question! Is Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms worth your money?
What’s Disney’s The Nutcracker all about?
A teenage Clara and her family has recently lost their mother (and Disney kills another parent), and are now faced with celebrating Christmas without her. They are each grieving in their own way which sometimes causes them to hurt each other in the process. Clara is struggling to make sense of a world that would take her mother away when she is given a Christmas present left by her mother.
It’s a box, but the key is missing and she goes to her godfather for help. Instead of helping her directly, he sets her off on an adventure to find a land discovered by her mother long ago. During her time there, she learns about herself and makes peace with her new world.
First of all, I enjoyed the story if not a little predictable. There’s a reason why it’s a classic. Before seeing the movie, I only knew a little about the story. My grandma had the ballet on VHS, but I only have vague memories of it so I’m not sure how close it sticks to the original.
What Stood Out
As with any movie, it had ups and downs. Sometimes the very things I loved also made me go, “hmm.” Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Ok! Maybe not ugly! This movie was actually very beautiful. When I saw the advertisements, I was reminded of Wrinkle in Time with the extravagant costumes and scenery, and I was afraid that Disney’s the Nutcracker might have more style than substance. Thankfully that was not the case, and the story and characters were interesting and compelling.
I did have some issues with the camera work at times. Several shots gave the feeling of flying over a city or landscape, and these made me a little dizzy and queasy. It kinda reminded me of an IMAX film. Thankfully none of these shots lasted long, but it’s not a problem I’m used to having at the theater so it caught me off guard.
Remembers where it came from
They actually incorporate ballet into the film which I felt was a nice reminder of the roots of the story. It’s done well and adds to the film. Like at one point, the characters are watching a ballet of the history of the land. I found this much better than the movie being done as a ballet.
At the beginning of the credits, they bring back some of the ballet and this time I found it a bit odd. I don’t know if it was a more modern take on ballet that I don’t understand, but at one point Shaun and I were both doubled over in laughter…once again, blame our unculturedness for this one!
A Couple of Warnings
A couple of scenes in this movie may mess with you if you have certain phobias. First, there are a LOT of mice in this film. I am not a particular fan of any rodents. I mean it’s nothing horrible, but there were a few parts that just made go, “Ew!”
Second, several scenes have clowns in them. They’re not meant to be creepy at all, but they are that court jester style and can be a little in your face, especially on a big screen. I just found them weird and little overdone.
Is Disney’s The Nutcracker a Must-See Christmas Movie?
Want to quick answer? No, Disney’s the Nutcracker is not a must-see Christmas movie. It was a perfectly enjoyable movie with a good helping of holiday spirit, but it felt like they tried to pack too much story into the time. They could have given more backstory of the land and made you care about the characters more. I wasn’t emotionally attached to anyone in the movie. It was good to see once, but we won’t be going back.
For one thing, I don’t think our kids would really enjoy it. The 5ish old girl sitting beside Shaun was certainly not engaged in it at all–like to the point, Shaun almost changed seats to avoid being kicked as she got up and down the whole movie. It’s not unfriendly towards kids, but not geared towards them.
All in all, it was a date night well spent and a good kick off as we move into the Holiday season. I kinda see it being a tree decorating movie in the future because of the lovely visuals and soundtrack. Ya know, the one you put on and half pay attention to while decorating the tree with the kids.
Now it’s your turn! Have you seen Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!