The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Disney embraces diversity in its new festive film 

When you bring a 1816’s fairy tale to the big screen nowadays, you have to find a way make it relevant. That’s what Disney did with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a retelling of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker Ballet.

The film hits italian theaters today and is set for release in the UK and the U.S. on November 2.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms stars Mackenzie Foy as Clara, a curious and inventive young girl who is facing the first Christmas after the loss of her mother. Before her death, she left some gifts for Clara and her two brothers but, as the young girl unwraps a precious locked egg, she realizes that there’s no key to open it.

Trying to avoid the pain, and with the purpose to keep traditions alive, Clara and her family accept the invitation of her godfather, Drosselmeyer, who is throwing a Christmas party: he will lead the girl to the long-awaited key and also to a parallel fantasy world featuring four realms.

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms masters all Disney’s well-known festive ingredients: snow, colors and magic.

But this time there’s a plus: the film embraces diversity and reflects our multicultural world thanks to african-american characters like the Nutcracker himself and The Ballerina, played by actor Jayden Fowora-Knight and American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer Misty Copeland, respectively.

However, there are a couple of major flaws in the film: Clara’s journey could be more engaging, but screenwriters Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarhy decided to support the visual grandeur of the film, such as the mesmerizing ballet numbers performed by Copland; last but not least Fowora-Knight’s character looks less significant compared to the toy soldier that E.T.A. Hoffmann imagined in his book.

Anyway, the film works as a whole thanks to the visuals and a great cast: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms also stars Morgan Freeman as Drosselmeyer, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger and Keira Knightley (that grabs the spotlight) as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

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