Movie Reviews 3/5 Stars: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I don’t own the image, but I’m assuming Disney wants it circulated because it promos their movie.

***Spoiler Free until After the Ads***


Clara needs to find a key to open a gift from her late mother. Her godfather has that key, but it takes her quite the journey to actually get to said key. She’s not pleased with her father because he seems unaffected by her mother’s death. He comes across as being obsessed with maintaining appearances. The quest for the key sweeps Clara into a magical world on the brink of war. But is everything as it seems?

Additional Comments:

  • This comes across as a movie that tries very hard, yet falls short in several aspects.
  • Disclaimer: I did know the critic consensus going in, and I might have been tainted by that, though I strive hard to form my own opinion to these things.

The Bad:

  • The Story (2.5/5 stars): I don’t actually know the story of the Nutcracker, so I couldn’t tell you about here it deviates from the original. In the movie, they try very hard to stick in some intriguing, gut-wrenching twists. In fact, I think they try so hard that it ends up making it very predictable.
  • I got bored.
  • Sugar Plum’s voice. It’s beyond annoying. (This is no fault of Keira Knightly. I love her. Pretty sure that’s just the way they wanted the character to be.)


The Neutral:

  • Side characters’ performances are also okay. Nobody else really impressed me, but they did their jobs well enough to immerse the audience in the strange world Disney created.
  • It’s mostly a kids story. Hard to predict what they will think of it. Guess you’d have to poll them. Yet, there is at least one section that strikes as downright creepy.


The Good:

  • Mackenzie Foy’s performance is decent. She has an air of innocence about her that gives Clara the right balance of naïve heroine and girl-finding-her-way. (Aside: If you’ve ever read Redeemer Chronicles, Mackenzie Foy is definitely an actress I could see portraying Vic.)
  • Small bits of humor, especially from the CGI mouse come across as well-timed and fitting. (specifics below)
  • Soundtrack has some beautiful pieces.

Overall Impression:

  • This movie is a pretty even blend of the color factor from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie (starring Jonny Depp), Effie Trinket’s fashion style from The Hunger Games series, and Oz The Great and Powerful. I thought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was new, but apparently it was 2005. Yikes.


It’s okay. I’ve definitely seen worse movies. Perhaps, I secretly had higher expectations than I should have going in. I’m probably not in the target audience anyway. Strangely enough, I’m gonna go with the critics on this and rate it as a semi-disappointment.


Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


Spoiler Section:

  • Funny parts: When Clara orders the nutcracker to do something sternly and the mouse turns and shakes his little fist at the man. Also, before that, when the mouse and the man together move aside the grate in the floor. When Sugar Plum grabs a wad of her hair and eats it. (Pretty sure it is cotton candy.)
  • The concept behind the creation/ turning people into inanimate objects didn’t make much sense to me. Sugar Plum says something like “I gave them life, so they will only obey me.” But later, she has one of the soldiers hitting the button to create the next batch. Does that mean that they will only obey that one soldier?
  • Trade Federation. (When the creator gets turned into a toy, the animated toys keel over.) Why don’t they turn into small toys again?

Movie Review 5/5 Incredibles 2 – Nonspoiler


Excellent follow up. Super heroes are outlawed, but people still need saving. Bad guys still haunt city streets. What heroes need is a public relations miracle, and that’s exactly what one business tycoon wants to accomplish: legalization of super heroes.


Additional Comments:

– 14 Years Speech 3/5 – Normally, I don’t mind such things, but it kind of jars one. I love them in extra scenes stuff on dvd/blu ray, but I’m not sold on it being necessary on the theatrical releases.

– Beginning short movie 5/5 – I almost cried. It’s simultaneously sentimental, adorable, and powerful.

– While Mr. Incredible minds the homefront. Helen takes on the task of getting super heroes some positive PR.

– Plot 4/5 – The plot’s fairly complex for this sort of movie. It’s not just about heroes vs. villains. It’s heroes vs politicians.

– Humor 4.5/5 – I saw this almost a week ago, so my memory could definitely use a refresher, but I do remember laughing aloud at several points, especially when Edna Mode was involved. The baby’s first fight scene was amazing and hilarious too.

– Characters 4.5/5 – Surprisingly, there’s pretty decent balance between “these people have really cool powers” and “these people just want to live normal lives.” Jack Jack is adorable.

– Note: I did have to squint a few times to deal with the flashing light bits. Pick a part of the screen and focus there or close your eyes. You won’t miss much.


Definitely worth a few watches. Not sure ultimately how many times I’ll see it in theaters, but I aim to see it at least one more time on the big screen.