In The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is mourning the death of her mother when she stumbles into another world filled with dolls who have come to life, only to learn that her mother was once their queen. She befriends Captain Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who accompanies her as she delves deeper into the four realms.
Once there, Clara meets many weird and wonderful characters, including the likes of Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), Shiver (Richard E Grant) and Sugar Plum (Keira Knightley). With bright and intricate costumes and make-up, these characters already feel larger than life. Yet the performances take that feeling even further. Knightley, in particular, is delightfully grand, every gesture performed with great theatricality. It’s all very over the top but everyone knows it, leaning into the wide-eyed, high-pitched spectacle of it all with delicious glee.
Of course, you can’t have a Nutcracker film without acknowledging the infamous ballet and the music that goes with it. More of Tchaikovsky’s iconic work could have been included in the film. However, when it does start to play it helps to sweep you along for the ride and really builds on an already eye-popping adventure.
Ballet star Sergei Polunin also makes an appearance as does the stunning Misty Copeland, who performs some majestic ballet both within the film and through the credits.
Come award season, it’ll be the people behind the camera who get the admiration. The sets, costumes and hair & make-up in this film are utterly sublime. Everything here is beautifully put together with gorgeous little touches along the way – from Sugar Plum pulling food out from the depths of her candy floss-style hair to the impressive crack working its way down Mother Ginger’s broken doll face.
Hallström and Johnston’s take on this story is a loving tribute to what has come before, ramped up to entertain a younger audience. Full of colour and wonder, surprises and silliness, this is enchanting fun for the whole family.