Verdict: A festive treat that sparkles with wonderment and delightful weirdness.

The year 2018 has been a good one for Disney with the overwhelming success of Incredibles 2, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War. Now Disney’s newest original live-action film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms releases in theatres. The fantasy adventure is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston with a script from Tom McCarthy and Ashleigh Powell.

What’s The Nutcracker And The Four Realms About:

Grieving the loss of her mother along with her father and two siblings, young Clara (Mackenzie Foy) feels like she doesn’t quite fit in. Then, on Christmas Eve, the incredibly intelligent young woman receives a special little gift from her deceased mother. She attempts to decipher the true meaning of the gift with help of her godfather (Morgan Freeman), she is propelled into a magical new universe full of wonder as well as its own dangers. Accompanied by a trustworthy Nutcracker soldier (Jayden Fowora-Knight), in the land of the Four Realms – the Realm of Flowers, the Realm of Snowflakes, the Realm of Sweets, and the Realm of Amusements – she remains the only hope in a time of war.

What Works:

Loosely based on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker, Disney’s live-action version does manage to retain its charm. It is an exciting journey with lavish, lovable, and sentimental elements. The presence of a strong and independent female lead comes as a pleasant surprise. The visuals are what really make this film a great festive watch for the entire family.

Mackenzie Foy is a good fit with her convincing performance a the promising princess. Jayden Fowora-Knight adds some much-appreciated charm as the reliable and gentlemanly Nutcracker. Keira Knightley also does a nice job of playing the conflicted Sugar Plum Fairy. Even Mother Ginger played by Helen Mirren is great to watch, despite her being slightly underused.

However, the real star of the show is the short but remarkable performance by the great Misty Copeland. She wows us with two ballet numbers in the film – one as a performance for princess Clara, reenacting how her mother discovered each realm and the other as a special treat at the beginning of the end credits. Disney’s dance addition pays tribute to the beloved ballet and is a welcome treat for every viewer. Misty Copeland makes it extra special because we could watch her dance all day.

What Could’ve Been Better:

Disney’s The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is a fantasized CGI delight but it might not match expectations in comparison to the legendary ballet. There a handful of spooky moments that might take away from the film’s festive and kid-friendly tone.

Why You Should Watch It:

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms has plenty of vibrant visuals as you go along an exciting adventure. It makes a good festive watch for the entire family.