Klara And Her Wonderland: A Review Of The Nutcracker And The Four Realms
Disney’s newest film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, signals the start of their full frontal Christmas assault this 2018 - with Mary Poppins Returns coming in December. A deft blend of drama, fantasy, ballet, music, and CGI, the film is a more than ideal film to bring your daughters to, or the young boys who are ready to be awed and fascinated by what they view onscreen. Admittedly, boys aged 10 and above may find this too pretty and frilly; but that’s always been the Disney formula of creating projects and film releases for specific demographics - witness their unrivalled success with Princesses.
With two separate source materials and two Directors on board, there is something of a schizoid quality to the story telling, with comedy and action often clashing rather than blending seamlessly. Mackenzie Foy as Klara acquits herself admirably in the tale, coming off more mature than how we remembered her in Twilight or Interstellar, but seems burdened on how to attack her role - at times flirty and playful, and in the very next scene, coy and demure.
Foy is surrounded by an impressive cast; Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, among others - but I’m not certain if they’re having genuine fun with the roles, or just cashing the checks, and living up to our barest of expectations. Freeman seems decidedly out of sorts with the role assigned to him. The CGI has definite nods to Oz, while the make-up and costume come straight out of The Hunger Games. And I’m leaving it up to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not.
Disney seems to be in a bit of a quandary. Beyond the live action remakes, not much has been going their way with their original film projects - Tomorrowland and A Wrinkle In Time counted among their more recent lacklustre efforts. Hopefully, Nutcracker won’t fall in this category, but it would seem more likely that it will. At least they’re not alone, with their Star Wars projects also having become problematic - now it’s only the Star Wars ix we can anticipate December of 2019. Marvel at least seems to have better luck expanding their universe - Black Panther early this year being such a runaway success.
To be fair, Nutcracker tries it’s best, even going racially diverse; but to be completely honest, the diversity looks forced, given the time setting of the film. And to have the single racially diverse soldier become Klara’s love interest looks like it’s trying to make too obvious a point.
Still, this is a fantasy film most young girls will enjoy, and be happy you took them to watch this weekend.
Photos via Disney Movies Philippines