‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ isn’t memorable but makes for entertaining holiday viewing

Alison Fellman, Entertainment Editor

‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is a 2018 holiday fantasy movie directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston. It is based on the short story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ by E.T.A. Hoffmann and ‘The Nutcracker’ by Marius Petipa.

The story takes place in 19th century London. There, the Stahlbaum family is celebrating on Christmas Eve and exchanging gifts. Clara, Mr. Stahlbuam’s daughter, receives an egg-shaped box that was once her late mother’s. Along with the box is a note from her mother, which says that what’s inside the box contains all she’ll ever need. However, Clara finds that she is unable to unlock the box.

At a Christmas Eve ball that night, Clara visits her godfather Drosselmeyer, who is an expert engineer and inquires about the box. He reveals he made the box originally for her mother, though he doesn’t tell her how to open it. Later in the night, the guests at the ball go on a scavenger hunt, in the form of an elaborate string system set up by Drosselmeyer, to find their gifts. Clara’s string leads her to a magical new world full of snowflakes, flowers, and sweets.

The colorful, intricate costumes, pleasing visual effects, and classic Tchaikovsky music makes ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ an enjoyable experience, but a forgettable one. Despite having a talented cast and a solid story, the essence of it is dull. The message it conveys is predictable and conventional, and the most memorable part of the film is only a few minutes in length. It’s a stunning dance sequence performed by sensational real-life ballerina Misty Copeland and illustrates the history of the Four Realms.

One bright spot in this movie is the character of Clara, a young, clever girl who is at first unsure of her capability of being a leader. Her ability to push through her self-doubt and fight for the greater good crafts her as a new heroine for young kids to look up to, especially young girls.

‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is somewhat a disappointment, but a lovely one. Its stylishness and lively characters make it an entertaining holiday film, and not much more. It is rated PG, and is playing in local theaters.