Recently, my family and I attended a screening of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. With elegant costumes, a fantasy storyline, and a mixture of strong actors and promising newcomers, I had been looking forward to this film since Disney announced its release last December! Before even taking our first bite of Halloween candy, this movie made us excited for the holidays, but it left something to be desired. While the movie didn’t quite live up to the Beauty and the Beast level of movies, it is still a great family friendly movie to go out and see over the holidays.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Mackenzie Foy is Clara, Keira Knightley is Sugar Plum Fairy, Eugenio Derbez is Hawthorne and Richard E. Grant is Shiver in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

While we came in with high expectations and the movie was enjoyable, it didn’t quite live up to the high expectations we had for the big Disney holiday feature of the year. First, the writing felt rushed and could have been developed more. Although the acting was excellent, I would have expected it to be more visually stunning. Overall the movie was good, but not as memorable as a lot of other Disney movies. Today on Theresa’s Reviews, you can check out my answers to some of the most common questions about the movie.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Keira Knightley is Sugar Plum in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

What Is Disney’s The Nutcracker About?

In Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Clara is a young lady who is coping with her mother passing away. Unhappy with her situation, she refuses to dance with her loving father at her godfather Drosselmeyer’s annual holiday party.

On Christmas Eve, she is left with a special gift from her mother, but has no way to open it. While searching for the key, she is transported to a magical land, a parallel world with four realms. This home to Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets has a unique and exciting connection to Clara’s mother. Clara must overcome the odds to rescue her new friends, restore order to the realms, and to learn to be happy with herself.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

Is Disney’s The Nutcracker Kid Friendly?

Rated PG, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is appropriate for an audience as young as 5 or 6. My daughter was startled in a few places and covered her eyes, especially in some scenes with the mice. There is a fighting scene with soldiers, but overall the movie seemed appropriate for a young audience.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Misty Copeland is the Ballerina Princess in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

Will Grown-ups Enjoy Disney’s The Nutcracker?

Overall, the movie is enjoyable because it has some famous, recognizable actors who give a strong performance. Another reason is that the movie shows the importance of family. Over the holidays, a feel-good movie is always a good pick.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Jaden Fowara-Knight is Phillip in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

Is Disney’s The Nutcracker Like The Original Version?

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is based on an 1816 story by E.T.A. Hoffmann called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. In the story, young Marie Stahlbaum’s favorite holiday toy is the nutcracker, who comes alive and defeats the evil Mouse King.

While I read the story of The Nutcracker each year to my children before Christmas, the movie version was missing the magic that the story had.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Morgan Freeman is Drosselmeyer in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

One big difference was that in the movie, the item that transported Clara to a magical world was a silver, egg-shaped mystery object instead of a nutcracker. In the story, the nutcracker toy breaks when Marie Stahlbaum fights with her brother, but in the movie, Clara gets along well with her brother. If you’re familiar with the story, you’re waiting for these familiar moments, but they don’t happen, and it’s not clear why the writing was changed the way that it was.

Disney adds in some family elements that weren’t in the story version by making the mother dead and by creating an argument between Clara and her father. Hopefully without spoiling the story, another big change is that magic isn’t central to the story, instead a scientific invention is key to the plot. Disney had other movies with scientific inventions this past year, such as Ant Man and A Wrinkle in Time, and it wasn’t necessary to add that into this movie too. With this being a holiday movie, I would want to see more magic and mystery to leave the audience believing in the holiday spirit.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THER FOUR REALMS.

Who is in Disney’s The Nutcracker Cast?

The cast includes Keira Knightley as Sugar Plum, Mackenzie Foy as Clara, Eugenio Derbez as Hawthorne, Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Stahlbaum, Richard E. Grant as Shiver, Sergei Polunin as the Sweets Cavalier, Jayden Fowora-Knight as Phillip, Omid Djalili as Cavalier, Jack Whitehall as Harlequin, Meera Syal as Cook, Ellie Bamber as Louis, Misty Copeland as the Ballerina Princess, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger and Morgan Freeman as Drosselmeyer.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Richard E, Grant is Shiver in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

Who is MacKenzie Foy?

One breakout actor in the movie is MacKenzie Foy! You might recognize her as the child Renesmee in the movie Twilight. She has had a few small parts over the years, but this is certainly her biggest role yet, and she pulls it off well.

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Eugenio Derbez is Hawthorne in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

What Are Some Gift Ideas Inspired by Disney’s The Nutcracker?

Since this movie releases on November 2, 2018, it is just in time for holiday gift wish lists.

For an extravagant choice, get the Clara Light-Up Costume for Kids – Limited Edition dress. This authentic Disney Store Costume is part of a limited edition of only 2000!

Looking for a more affordable dress-up option? Check out the Nutcracker Leotard and Headband Set. With a multi-layered tulle skirt and a silver glitter crown, it has a lovely classic look.

Buy the Clara Deluxe Accessory Set to add a special touch to your dress-up outfit. With a tiara, key necklace, and earrings, the sparkly accessories are very elegant.

Finally, bring the holiday look to any outfit with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Satchel by Dooney & Bourke. With fanciful illustrations that include swans, Christmas trees, nutcrackers, castles and more, this bag looks ready for a holiday celebration.

Check out the trailer below, and for more Disney tips, make sure to follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Your Turn!

What is your favorite Disney holiday movie? Share in the comments!

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review - Theresa's Reviews

Disclosure: I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion.

About The Author

Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

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