The Nutcracker And The Four Realms [2018] ★★½

Familiar as though it may be, there’s something charming and irresistible about Disney’s version of “The Nutcracker”. From the beautiful production design to the eye-popping visuals, I was in constant awe. Here’s a movie that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible, even if the story borrows a lot from other Disney films (I’m aware that it’s based on a classic fairytale, but there’s something special about Disney’s way of handling these stories). It’s Christmas eve and young Clara (Makenzie Foy) receives an unusual gift from her late mother, one that requires a one-of-a-kind key to unlock. In true Disney fairytale fashion, she also discovers a parallel world that leads her to a beautiful but mysterious place called “The Four Realms”. If you’re sensing “Narnia” and “Alice in Wonderland” vibes, then perhaps you’re not completely wrong. As a result, I suspect younger audiences who aren’t familiar with these movies or the source material to enjoy Clara’s adventure in the Four Realms. I especially enjoyed seeing Helen Mirren here, although I wish she had more screen time. My biggest complaint? The story plays it safe and never truly rises above the familiar. No matter. It may be imperfect, but “The Nutcracker” provides lively entertainment for the entire family. After all, isn’t this what Christmas season is all about?

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