All Clara wants is a key - a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer's annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key-which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It's there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip, a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara's key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.
Hawthorne queries what Christmas is, suggesting that the holiday doesn't exist within the four realms, yet within the four realms conifers are explicitly referred to as "Christmas trees" twice. See more »
The ballet tells the story of the Four Realms. How your mother discovered our world.
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The Disney logo plays an alternative orchestral version of the "When You Wish Upon A Star" theme. When the logo is complete, Drosselmeyer's owl flies past the castle and into the opening shot of the movie. See more »
Reviews seem really divided on this. Though I admit the film could've been stronger in parts, I was still entertained.
The whole thing looks great with deeply detailed sets, costumes, and makeup that evoke a classic fantasy feel. There are some clever design ideas, especially in the Land of Amusements.
Acting's pretty good. Admittedly the fantasy characters are more interesting. Keira Knightly is fun in a quirky over-the-top performance. There are a couple of fairly funny guards and the Nutcracker himself is likable. Unfortunately, those three are not as well-utilized as they could be, especially considering that the Nutcracker is one of the main characters.
Admittedly, the film is a little weak in the plot department. The main character Clara experiences a by-the-numbers getting over the death of a parent and learning to believe in them-self story-line. The Four Realms and its current threat could've been a lot clearer. Also, we could've spent more time exploring and experiencing the Realms. A little too much time is spent on throwing Clara from plot point to plot point. Her struggles are solidly delivered, but they spend so much time on it at expense of the world-building.
The movie's not perfect, but it's all about the experience. The Nutcracker is fun and looks good. And though the story is flawed, it isn't bad. I think kids will like it and parents will like it or be indifferent.
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