The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

We went to see The Nutcracker and the Four Realms on Saturday night at our local cinema.  Expecting to see sumptuous sets, beautiful choreography and a stellar cast including Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Kiera Knightley we were not disappointed.

This magical, live action adaptation of the classic Christmas ballet by Tchaikovsky tells the story of a young girl named Clara (portrayed brilliantly by Macenzie Foy)  who, along with her father, sister and brother, is mourning the recent loss of her mother.

On Christmas eve the family are given gifts by their grieving father (Matthew Macfayden) from their late mother.  Clara’s is an ornate egg with a key hole but no key.  A small note from her mother tells her “everything you need is inside”.  They then attend their godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) grand Christmas Eve party and the highlight of this is a treasure hunt through the house and gardens to find gifts (I am probably going to steal this idea, it’s great!). You must find your name on a thread and then follow that thread to your present.  Clara follows her golden thread which leads her into a Narnia-like world where she finds the key she seeks hidden within a golden Christmas tree.  But the mouse king steals it and so she pursues it into the forest.  There she meets the Nutcracker guarding a bridge to the Fourth Realm, where she is forbidden to go.

Thus begins the story of Clara’s fight to regain the key and along the way save the four realms.

With the Nutcrackers help, she fights with the Mouse King and Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) and barely escapes with her life. The Nutcracker then takes her to the castle,  where she meets the rulers of the three other Realms, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kiera Knightley).  Upon learning the news of Clara’s mothers death the other rulers are horrified.  Clara’s mother is revealed to have been their Queen and they are devastated to learn that she is never to return.

Clara must get the key from the fourth realm and Mother Ginger and stop her from destroying the other three realms…but all is not quite as it seems!

Threaded throughout the mystical journey is the timeless music of Tschaikovsky along with stunning ballet performances by Misty Copeland.

I really liked that Clara’s interest in science and invention was portrayed along with the messages to believe in yourself, persevere, work together and learn from your mistakes.

A beautiful Christmas film which felt delightfully theatrical and festive.

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