I’ve had at least a dozen people ask me if The Nutcracker and The Four Realms is kid-safe after seeing the movie for myself at the red carpet premiere. While not everyone weighs this decision exactly the same, I do have some thoughts I can share with you about taking your kids to see the movie.
All Clara wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key-which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world.
It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip, a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms opens everywhere today!
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms Review
As soon as the movie started playing I was entranced. I love movies that take me back to another era and especially love movies that have fantasy or sci-fi elements. I love make-believe, and I love imagining I am in some other world or place, somewhere only my imagination can take me.
Nutcracker does that well. I am able to head to the four realms alongside Clara and enjoy taking that journey with her. The story is fun, exciting, and believable… until it’s not.
Skip to the end spoilers section if you don’t want the spoilers
I loved the movie overall, but it started losing me toward the end. The plot became predictable soon after Clara entered this alternate world. You could see right through The Sugar Plum Fairy and knew she wasn’t who she was portraying herself to be.
Keira Knightley’s performance was good up until she started showing that she was actually the ‘bad guy’ in this whole thing. Her evil fairy performance was not her best work. Once it was revealed that the Sugar Plum Fairy was behind it all, the whole struggle for power seemed forced and was over rather quickly. A lot of build up for a very quick ending.
Morgan Freeman was great as the godfather, although I think we could have used a bit more of him and delved more into the background of his character as well as Clara’s mother. We don’t really get a background as to why this world was created by Clara’s mother or what, if anything, the Nutcracker means to her — why is there even a Nutcracker in this film save for the title? If you ignore all this, it’s a great film. If you like to know this history behind a character, and the who’s and why’s… you will be missing that here.
I loved Mackenzie Foy as Clara, and she did an amazing job with the script she had. Her on-screen chemistry with Jayden Fowora-Knight as Phillip was great, and Fowora-Knight did an excellent job as The Nutcracker, although as mentioned above, he could have just been any old soldier and the significance of The Nutcracker is never mentioned (unless I missed it somehow… I’ll be seeing the film again to make sure).
Another thing that seemed a little forced was the ballet scene. The ballet scene is meant to tell the story of the creation of the four realms, but I absolutely did not get that feeling when I watched this scene. The dancing was beautiful, but I did not feel like I was being told a story — other than with the props that were included alongside the dancing.
While I understand the reasoning behind it was to incorporate some ballet into the movie, because otherwise there is none, I think it could have been done better. The whole movie feels like it was rushed and more depth could have been added. Misty Copeland is a fantastic dancer and she did a wonderful job in her scenes, but I would have loved to see more of her.
Comedic relief was provided in the form of two soldiers, one played by Jack Whitehall. The effort was weak at best. While there were a couple of laughs, the comedy was again… forced.
Overall I think this is a movie worth seeing with your kids, even if there are some elements I think could have been done a little better. Is The Nutcracker and The Four Realms a safe movie for younger kids to see? Read on…
Is Nutcracker Kid Friendly?
I have kids aged 11, 9, 4, and 3. I truly believe that all of my children would enjoy watching this film, although I don’t think my youngest would sit through it all so I’d probably wait on taking him to the theater.
The film is rated PG, it is very kid-friendly and is not dark at all. There is one scene with the Mouse King where the mice all form together to create a “monster” mouse that may frighten a younger child for a moment, but it is short-lived and I don’t see it as an issue.
The fight scenes are very mild, and I think that most children will find the film enjoyable. Of course, I always say that you know your child best so if you think this is a movie that is not for them, it is up to you to make that decision.
Want some fun activity pages to share with your kids after you see the movie? Download The Nutcracker and The Four Realms activity pages here!
Want more? Read the full #DisneysNutcrackerEvent itinerary here and stay tuned as I continue to share about each of the fun experiences on this trip!