Disney’s The Nutcracker was a film that had me scratching my head before even seeing it. I couldn’t see the film having much of a market or even what demographic it would interest, but I figured I would give it a shot. Disney at least makes beautiful looking films. The film tells the classic story of a young girl, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) searching for meaning on Christmas Eve, following the recent death of her mother. When she enters the magical land of the four realms, she encounters quite a few characters, including Phillip, the Nutcracker (Jayden Fowora-Knight), Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), Sugar Plum (Keira Knightley), Shiver (Richard E. Grant), and Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez). As she learns of her place in this new world, she also discovers that things and people are not as they may seem.
As I said, I’m not entirely sure for whom this film was made. I don’t think it has the depth to hold the attention of an adult audience and children will become quickly bored with it. There are also certain parts of the film that I would think would be terrifying for children such as the Mouse King, a giant mouse made up of small mice working together, as well as the clown characters. There is a scene where these creepy clowns are jumping about and popping out from the halves of each other. As an adult, it was disturbing. I can only imagine how children would view those scenes.
While the film had its moments of stunning visuals, there were certain scenes that left more to be desired. It just didn’t have the wow factor that I expect with most Disney films. Also, the performance by Mackenzie Foy seemed too wooden and lacked emotion. Her emotion seemed to be the same in pretty much every scene, regardless of what her emotions should have been in that moment. The scenes with Clara and her father don’t come off with the right tone; I don’t think. It comes off as an odd relationship that doesn’t quite play as father and daughter.
Keira Knightley’s voice seems to be a big point of contention. Most people I have spoken to about the film, having not seen it, say that they can imagine her voice being annoying in the film for long periods of time and it is true. It becomes incredibly annoying to hear, despite her seeming to have the most fun with her role. The rest of the actors don’t do much of note to stand out from the crowd which is a shame.
The film does have some great elements in the visual department. The costume, makeup, and set designs are magical and really brings to life the world of the Nutcracker. Each character has a very distinct look that is carried on from every little detail in their clothing. From Shiver who appears to have ice coming off him to Hawthorne who has florals in every inch of his ensemble.
In general, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms never quite hits the spot and instead ends up being an average Disney film that will likely do poorly at the box office. With forgettable performances and ordinary visuals, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is tolerable, but I wouldn’t say that it is enjoyable.