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The Nutcracker And The Four Realms 4K UHD Review

nutcracker

“Nutcracker And The Four Realms” is a visually stunning, but lackluster movie.

Still dealing with the loss of her mother, Clara gets an unexpected gift from her for Christmas in the form of an egg. Unfortunately, in order to open it, she needs a key. After consulting with her godfather (an engineer), she finds herself being led to a parallel world where she finds the key. Of course, actually possessing the key turns out to be quite an ordeal as she becomes drawn into a journey that leads her to the Land of Sweets, the Land of Flowers, the Land of Snowflakes, and the mysterious titular Fourth Realm. While in these fantastical places, Clara discovers a secret that connects to her mother, learns of a brewing feud between lands, encounters a character who isn’t what they seem, and hopes to find out what is in this egg box once and for awhile.

I understand the rationale behind Disney making this movie. They’re taking a brand in Nutcracker and putting a new spin on it and, at the same time, they are creating a holiday themed movie which are always a hot commodity. What I find puzzling is why Disney is making this movie now. Nutcracker isn’t exactly hip at the moment and of all the live-action films Disney could do (seriously, where is Tron 3?), this seems like far from a priority given that Disney is going all in on Star Wars, Marvel, and live-action remakes. Still, it’s nice to see the studio taking some risks even if they don’t always pan out in the case of “Nutcracker And The Four Realms.”

‘Nutcracker’ had the potential of being a future holiday classic. The central girl power story about Clara (played by a charismatic Mackenzie Foy) finding herself could have really appealed to younger girls and audience members (and it still might for some folks out there). Unfortunately, her character arc isn’t quite strong enough to push past the flaws that are present here. While directors Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston’s movie is a visual feast (I’ll get to that shortly), that’s really all the movie has going for it. For a film that so clearly tries to mimic the joy and adventure of “Alice In Wonderland,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe,” there’s a lack of joy and adventure to be had here. The story (scripted by Ashleigh Powell) often feels like it’s on auto-pilot as it bounces around from realm to realm and Victorian England. There’s never enough breathing room for either the characters or the story.

On the subject of the characters, aside from the aforementioned Clara, the talented cast is largely wasted. Richard E. Grant, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Eugenio Derbez don’t have a ton to do here. Jayden Fowora-Knight (who plays Captain Hoffman) has some good moments with Clara and is probably the only other well rounded character. And then there’s Keira Knightley. I don’t know what she is doing in this movie as The Sugar Plum Fairy, but boy is she as over-the-top as can be.

The clear highlights here are the costume, production design and FX work. These teams of artists have crafted such vivid and colorful work. The movie looks gorgeous from start to finish and it’s clear that much of the budget went towards making this movie look like a big visual spectacle.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? The film’s dazzling and colorful production values look stunning in 4K.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? From the iconic music to the action set pieces, this Atmos track does not disappoint.

Extras:
* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Disney trailers
* Music videos for Lang Lang’s “The Nutcracker Suite” and Andrea and Matteo Bocelli’s “Fall On Me.”
* 5 deleted scenes
* “On Pointe: A Conversation With Misty Copeland”- The dancer takes about starring in the film.
* “Unwrapping The Nutcracker And The Four Realms”- A look at the lavish production design.

 

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January 18, 2019 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , ,

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