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Disney’s eye-candy can’t do it alone (spoiler warning)

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This Disney take isn’t the same “Nutcracker” story that generations have read about.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms may have a few parallels to the short story from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s famous telling, but the Disney film takes on its own identity.

In this live-action movie, Clara Stahlbaum (played by Mackenzie Foy) receives a mysterious egg as a present from her deceased mother, Marie Stahlbaum (Anna Madeley). When Clara finds that the key she needs to open the egg is missing, she ends up consulting her godfather, Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), who directs her to a mystical world.

While Clara does get some development, especially with how she creates a chain reaction to catch a mouse at the start of the film, she falls into another stereotype: the nerd. She doesn’t like to socialize and prefers to study, which builds upon the original Clara while also dumbing her down at the same time.

Speaking of character development, while the Nutcracker (Jayden Fowora-Knight), the titular character of the film, does have screen time, the only thing that changes about him is his worry for Clara. He doesn’t get to do much to change the world around him.

In addition, Shiver (Richard E. Grant) and Hawthrone (Eugenio Derbez), regents of the Land of Snowflakes and Land of Flowers, respectively, had a lot going for them. In fact, they were part of the promotional material. However, in the film, they also do little to further the plot, even as Clara’s allies.

The villain twist that comes to usher in the climax of the film gave more character development to the new villain with roots in the original “Nutcracker” tale. At the same time, there was little to foreshadow this traitorous character’s true intentions until the time they finally decided to reveal their nature. Without dialogue and other hints before the reveal, the plot twist seemed almost random.

What redeems this film mostly comes from the visuals. Each realm has its own unique feel to it, whether sweet or horrifying. The costumes also deserve praise, particularly the design of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley) and the other regents.

The opening weekend for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was disappointing as it did not make back its $132.9 million budget, with only $20 million being made in the United States and Canada along with $38.5 million in other territories.

I would rank this movie as two-and-a-half out of five paws. Those that are willing to learn about another perspective with the “Nutcracker” story and are not sick of the Disney live-action movies might want to consider seeing this film, but others should probably skip this holiday fiasco.

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Disney’s eye-candy can’t do it alone (spoiler warning)