Directors: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman
Release Date: January 29, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” Clara travels along a golden thread, presented at Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual party, eagerly searching for a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a music box that holds a priceless gift. When she enters a mysterious parallel world, Clara encounters a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and three Realm regents, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley). Ultimately, she must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve the key and return harmony to the unstable world.
‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ twists up the famous story you know and tells the tale of young Clara who finds herself lost following her mother’s passing. But after looking far and wide for a key to a gift her mother left her, she follows a golden thread to an unknown present that leads her into a parallel world filled with magic and wonder unlike anything she could have fathomed. Directed by Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and Joe Johnston (Jumanji, The Rocketeer) and featuring a noteworthy cast that includes Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring), Helen Mirren (RED), Morgan Freeman (Going in Style) and more, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ invites you and the whole family into a world filled with wonder and beauty that you never even knew existed.
‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is a fairly enjoyable film that’s filled with gorgeous visuals, some fun adventurous aspects and a magical world filled with excitement and mystery. Borrowing various aspects from the famous Nutcracker Ballet story and using it as a basis for a massive scope and a fantasy world very similar to such other famous tales such as The Chronicles of Narnia’. It has its share of strong points and often finds its heart in the right place, yet even so a great deal of the film feels excessively silly or underwhelming; occasionally even downright ridiculous and the lower points not uncommon throughout do tend to drag down the wonder and visual splendor it has to offer. Fortunately a fairly talented cast and enough carefree fun always boosted by gorgeous surroundings help to keep it from ever becoming a truly bad film altogether. And while many of the older viewers might be distracted by the negatives, the younger viewers on the on the other hand probably won’t be overly troubled by them and courtesy of the beauty, style and adventure it also brings to the table may just even end up enjoying it a great deal. I would encourage the households with younger children in particular that are already interested in the film to try and at least make a point of renting it at some point for them, and even with its obvious faults many adults are liable to at least find themselves enjoying much of it as well. It definitely manages to keep things entertaining and visually pleasing at the absolute least.
Overall, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is a relatively fun, visually gorgeous and at times quite heartwarming family adventure that definitely has its faults, but also has its share of positive elements going for it. ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is recommended for younger audiences in particular (and of course for those with younger kids at home) who are far more likely to really have a great time with it and probably won’t have much problem with the ridiculous or problematic areas within. Many older viewers may have a fairly enjoyable experience with it as well, although unless you’re already fully invested in checking it out immediately, it probably isn’t one that you need to go out of your way to get your hands on. Although that’s not to say it wouldn’t be worth giving a watch down the road should you happen to come across a convenient option for doing so.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks marvelous as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and vibrantly colored presentation from start to finish, with no noticeable faults or issues to be found throughout. It holds up remarkably well even during the fast moving and heavily populated sequences, never allowing anything on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another wonderful high definition video presentation from Disney that should easily please the fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and fairly active audio presentation throughout that does a great job complimenting the onscreen fun. It frequently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send music, some action elements, nature effects and crowd chatter along with more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a pretty fantastic 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds consistently great and often contributes plenty of extra fun to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ includes some fun extras that fans of the film should enjoy. Included on the release are a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 4 minutes in length altogether), in addition to ‘On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland’ (running approximately 5 minutes) and a Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘Unwrapping The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ (approximately 7 minutes) which features some behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the members of the cast and crew. ‘2 Music Videos’ are also included: ‘”Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli, featuring Matteo Bocelli’ (approximately 4 minutes) and ‘”The Nutcracker Suite” Performed by Lang Lang’ (4 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker And The Four Realms’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment