The fabled story of the Nutcracker has many experiences, from plays, to musicals, to theater, and to operas; it has entertained us all for a century. What if these stories are real, and these Christmas toys really do have a world of their own? That would be a tale we all would love to hear. Enter Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. After the death of their mother, Clara (Mackenzie Foy), Fritz (Tom Sweet), Louise (Ellie Bamber), and their father, Mr. Stahbaum (Matthew Macfadyen), must endure the Christmas holidays without her. Struggling to move on with the events of the season, Mr. Stahbaum pushes them all to attend the annual event at Drosselmeyer’s house.
Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) is a wealthy inventor of toys and many useful things. He loves all children and teaches them how to use their potential in whatever they are inspired to be.
Like all children who go to Drosselmeyer’s house, they receive a gift for Christmas, but at this event each gift must be searched for. When Clara follows the ribbon that is attached to her present, she finds a way into a new world. There she meets a toy soldier and the master of the guard, Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight). When he discovers who Clara is, he vows to help her discover what she is really looking for.
Once she is in the Four Realms, she meets the four leaders, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez), Shiver (Richard E. Grant), and Sugar Plum (Keira Knightley). From here Clara must find a way to get back to her world and help save the Four Realms from total destruction.
Directors Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston created an imaginary realm that brought these Christmas characters to life, creating a storyline that will grab the audience’s attention and bringing them into this world of fantasy. Both Hallstrom and Johnson did an excellent job creating this domain with spectacular special effects. The scenic backgrounds, the attention to detail, and the remarkable artwork make this place blend together.
The Nutcracker And The Four Realms presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 30-35 mbps. The high-definition image presentation is a contrast of worlds. Each of the four realities comes with its own level of color temperature and level of saturation. Cold temperatures with plenty of blue hues dominate the film, which is appropriate given its winter theme and placement. Colors do pop on some of the crazy costume designs, with greens and reds being quite dominate throughout. Black levels are only fair with a bit of blurriness interfering with any true shadow definition.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 quite an aggressive audio presentation. There is so much going on that you are quickly surrounded by events and their particular audio properties. The music is outstanding and the best part of the entire film. It comes through with a dynamic range that offers crystal clear highs and subs that fill the lows rather nicely. The machinery of the worlds also adds a lot of mechanical sounds that often sweep across the entire spread of speakers. It is more immersive than the video itself. Dialog comes through clearly.
Deleted Scenes: (4:05) There are five with a play-all option.
On Pointe – A Conversation With Misty Copeland: (4:36) The stage ballerina talks about adapting her style to fit the film.
Unwrapping The Nutcracker And The Four Realms: (7:08) This one covers the Victorian production design, from costumes to the sets and streets.
Music Videos: There are two: The Nutcracker Suite and Fall On Me.
I based my grade on the outstanding storyline that brings this historic tale to life and the special effects that makes it all seem real.
Parts of this review were written by Gino Sassani