The Nutcracker and The Four Realms review – Mackenzie Foy Shines in this Enchanting Fairy Tale

Disney’s latest film is a coming-of-age fairy tale that is lavish, lively and lovable in this endearing-magical tale of Clara (Mackenzie Foy) as she ventures into the unknown realms of her mother’s creation.

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Mackenzie Foy is enchanting as the brilliant Clara, who discovers a whole new fantastical world soaked in imagery of childhood and dreams. On Christmas Eve everyone gathers at a ball in the real world, with the children all having presents hidden throughout the monumental grounds – leading Clara to the Four Realms, a land of fantasies and looming darkness.

The Nutcracker is a well known Christmas object, but most notably Tchaikovsky’s glorious score for the original ballet which premiered in 1892 which itself was based upon E. T. A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Alexandre Dumas’ “The Story of a Nutcracker”. The Nutcracker score is weaved into the films own wonderful score helping to bring to life this fairy tale.

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The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy is a magical score known to most, in the film Keira Knightley plays The Sugar plum Fairy. The only weakness the film has is the twist in Knightley’s character and the fight scenes, which personally I would have left out.

We are greeted with a tale of innocence and mystery in this Disney formula that continues to work, which harks back to The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland in it’s sense of awe and wonder as we see the story unfold in it’s luscious visuals – with the exuberant use of colour more closely related to the magical land of Oz.

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Like a music box, the world is brought to life in a magical way that transports you as the spectator into something of your wildest dreams, with the solid screenplay from Ashley Powell that portrays Clara in a way that leans towards Belle from Beauty and The Beast in the freeing innocent yet courageous manor Foy plays her in.

Ballerina Misty Copeland dances our way through the Four Realms, telling the story of the realms through the delicate theater-like performance in a scene that blew my mind, showing the power of the ballet to tell story. Clara throughout is seen in the fabulous costumes by Jenny Beavan (Mad Max: Fury Road), which follow the theme of the brightly coloured extravagant production design of Guy Hendrix Dyas (Inception) as the Three Realms dazzle contrasting to the dull-abandoned fourth realm where the seemingly evil Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) lies.

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The film is a continuous joy, which will gravitate to all who wish to open their arms into the sugar-like enchanting lands of Clara’s world.

4/5 Stars

Ben Rolph

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