The other night the family and I screened Disney's The Nutcracker and The Four Realms. My daughter and I have been looking forward to this movie ever since it was announced. She has been performing in a local Nutcracker production for years. So this one was already set to be a special movie for us.
I have a feeling this movie is going to be a new holiday classic. We took a lot away from this and I loved seeing all the nods to original ballet and storyline sprinkled throughout the movie. Read on for this dance mom and her ballerina daughter's The Nutcracker and The Four Realms movie review.
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms Movie Review
As many times as we have watched The Nutcracker ballet and read the book I never have felt anything deeper than “sweet the holiday season has begun.” The Nutcracker and The Four Realms however gave the audience some life lessons to think about long after the credits rolled.
“Some journeys you have to take alone.” Clara's mother tells her this in a flashback scene. As a parent this struck me because of course I want to be there for them, but the reality is I can't always be around, especially as they get older. The best thing I can do is prepare them for the world and build up their confidence in themselves.
Clara's mother also told her, she sees the world in a unique way and because of that she will be able to change it. I always tell my children to think outside of the box, look around, and experience the world in their own way not the way someone tells them they should. I think if more people decided to embrace their unique selves, the world would be a better place.
Stages of Grief
When the movie begins we learn that the entire Stahlbaum household is grieving. Clara's mother has passed away and everyone is dealing with it in their own way. As the film progresses, I caught the Stages of Grief being represented by various characters.
I won't spoil who showed what but I will share I completely related to Clara in this one. During the Christmas party she tells her father she doesn't want to celebrate or dance. Why should she be merry when her world has fallen apart. This is their first Christmas without Mother, what is there to be happy about?
When I was grieving the loss of my grandmother, I felt like it wasn't right to celebrate. Or that it wasn't even fair people could be joyful when my world seemed so dark. But like Clara, I eventually got to the stage of acceptance.
“When you miss someone, you remember them. And one day, that will make you smile.” That almost had me in tears but I held it in. So that's a first lol
Whew that got kinda emotional there, lets move on to the more playful aspects of The Nutcracker and The Four Realms.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Other Ballet Nods
The Nutcracker suite by Tchaikovsky flows throughout the film, sometimes in the forefront of the scene and other times hanging back quietly, but still ever present and as beautiful as ever.
We get lots of foreshadowing to the characters we will meet in the realm during the party. Fritz receives a Nutcracker as a gift from their Godfather and even tells Clara “He's your boyfriend.” In the ballet Clara and the Nutcracker always have a special relationship. We also see Toy Soldiers, wind-up mice, and the Ballerina sitting on a table.
One scene that always makes the parents laugh s when Mother Ginger appears. She is always tall with a voluminous dress that hides her children. In the film, Mother Ginger's abode looks like this and her “children”, the clowns, come springing forth from under her skirts. h
Clara's mother uses The Peacock as her symbol, both as her throne and on the stationary her final note to Clara was written on. The Peacock is a staple in major productions of The Nutcracker.
The owl is also synonymous with Drosselmeyer. In the ballet, the Owl on the clock transforms into Drosselmeyer in the film however they seem to be separate but work together at all times.
The mice and the mice king, Harlequin, the Cavaliers, I could go on. Seriously though, you have to see this film for yourself and then go see a local performance of The Nutcracker ballet. You're welcome.
Despite the grand scale of this film, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms still felt like something I was watching performed on a stage. While the story of how Clara's mother discovered the realms was acted out as the traditional Nutcracker Ballet, even other wide shots still felt like a stage. I loved that.
In the final trailer, there is a quick look at a Fantasia style moment, watching the silhouette of a conductor, conduct a full orchestra. That moment in the movie was special for this girl, who watched Fantasia a lot as a child.
Pinocchio and Pleasure Island come to the fourth realm. Mother Ginger's realm is no laughing matter, though it use to be. Now it looks like an abandoned Pleasure Island that you have no business visiting!
The set designs and lighting really bring this film to life. The safe and fun areas of the realms are bright while the dark, dangerous areas are just that, foreboding. You don't have to guess about where you are or if you should be watching your back.
If you haven't seen Misty Copeland dance yet you are in for a treat. And if you have, it is still something special to watch. As the Ballerina Princess, Misty was stunning and her dance in the first part of the credits with the Cavalier was beautiful. She is amazing.
Is The Nutcracker and The Four Realms Kid-Friendly?
Language: The only curse word that I heard was “damn.”
Scenes: There are some intense scenes that might scare younger viewers. If they have seen A Wrinkle In Time, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast I think they will be okay. My 9 year old jumped at a few parts but overall he didn't hide too much. My 12 year old was glued to the screen from start to finish, no issues there.
Storyline: The children sitting behind me had a lot of questions about the movie. If you do not have experience with The Nutcracker, I would suggest reading The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffman before watching the film, just so your younger ones can have a better idea of what they are watching.
Afterwards you definitely should pick up The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms, this novel not only retells the movie but also expands the world of The Nutcracker with illustrations, never-before-seen details, and more.
The Nutcracker And The Four Realms Trailer
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