A Christmas movie I skipped over last year for the simple reason of just not caring, I decided to do it up this year and just get it out of the way. It sounds harsh, I know, but 'The Nutcracker' was never so much a musical than a ballet, and ballets are definitely not in my wheelhouse. But fantasy is, so I kinda figured why not? Maybe there would be something I could take away from it. But there's a problem I had going into this - I had never bothered to see 'The Nutcracker' beforehand. I only ever really knew the music from it.
Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants an incredibly unique key for Christmas. It's the key to a mysterious box that her late mother gave her. During a Victorian Christmas party, hosted by her Godfather, Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), she is given a golden thread, which leads her to the key, which disappears into a strange, parallel world.
Here, she meets a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), some mice, and representatives of three of the Four Realms; Shiver (Richard E. Grant) of the Land of Snowflakes, Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez) of the Land of Flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightly) of the Land of Sweets. Sugar Plum shows Clara a stage performance that retells the story of when her mother visited their world years before. In other words, they watch the original 'Nutcracker' Ballet.
Clara learns that the ominous fourth realm, the Land of Amusements, ruled by Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) is holding Clara's key that she's searching for. Further learning that Mother Ginger is kinda ruling things with an iron fist, Clara and Phillip brave the fourth realm, and in finding her key, hopefully restoring order to this strange, miniature world. But will they discover that there's more than meets the eye to Mother Ginger?
Having not seen the original 'Nutcracker', this movie left me feeling a bit like I should have done my homework. I don't have much to compare it to, as this was my first 'Nutcracker' experience. But with that said, in many ways, it reminded me of the 2010 version 'Alice in Wonderland', as though it's a sort of soft reboot. It's an experience for a new generation, an it looks really good, but the older generation kinda wonders if it was any good or not. It's perfectly passable, but there's just something a tiny bit off about it. It's not horrible, but just very bland and unexciting, even during the "intense" parts.
For yours truly, this is another one of those titles that's just kinda "there". It could come or go, and I wouldn't care either way. It was fun for what it was, but I think it's gonna appeal more to fans of the original source material, or perhaps children who are new to this whole thing. But according to other reviews, several seem to think this was a weak and altogether unnecessary title, so you might wanna take my review with a grain of salt.
Personally, I see this as relatively decent for what it is, and it could be seen as a fun adventure for the young and young at heart in the same way 2010's 'Alice in Wonderland' was. But it's still not for me, and probably not for anyone else who isn't into the whole ballet thing. It's another one of these titles I can't recommend one way or the other. But if you enjoy the original 'Nutcracker' story, it may be something to check out.