I’ll start by saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I know I’m in the minority on this particular opinion. I did not care for the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original Nutcracker story, I love many different takes on the original that’s been made for children, I just didn’t love this particular one. Now, does that mean I think you or your kids shouldn’t watch it? No! If you or your children enjoy it, by all means, do as you wish, but I won’t pretend to like a movie that didn’t live up to what I’d hoped it would.
I’ll start with the story itself. When I was made excited by friends about the “twists” it was pretty discouraging that I figured most of them out long before they were revealed on the screen. This Nutcracker didn’t give me any new plot elements that I haven’t seen done before, and more importantly, that had been done better. What makes movies like this memorable is giving them a new and unique twist that hasn’t been done before, and can shed a new perspective on the story. I understand this is for children, and I am not the target audience, but children deserve a unique story too!
Then, there’s the setting. It looked like someone took the world from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and decorated it for Christmas. I feel like I’m one of the few people who’s sick of looking at CGI settings that are designed to seem edgy or cool. It’s not as edgy after the seventh movie I’ve seen use this exact same idea. Does that mean they can’t use any CGI? Of course not, but they should get more creative! It feels like a crutch, and it looks so unrealistic after a while that it takes you right out of the story.
Finally, the characters. Again, like from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Clara is unique and ahead of her time and so super special because she isn’t super proper like the other girls. It’s almost to a Mary-Sue territory at this point, and it’s poor character writing. Some of the motivations for the other characters were also very strange, and the “surprise” villain wasn’t a surprise at all. It had White-Witch-from-Narnia-did-it-first written all over it.
Clearly, this wasn’t the film for me this holiday season. For those who liked it, congratulations! You got something out of the movie that I didn’t and that’s fine! However, if you do desire a child’s movie for the Nutcracker that gives you a little more satisfaction than this film, I recommend Barbie in the Nutcracker. It’s a total cash-cow from Mattel from the 90s, but it’s still surprisingly good for a kid’s film!