The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

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Visually rich but dramatically impoverished fantasy in which, while searching for the key that will open a Christmas gift left for her by her recently deceased mother, a teenage girl (Mackenzie Foy) from Victorian London finds herself in an alternate world divided into the territories of the title. There, she learns, her mom once reigned as queen. But, one of the regions (led by Helen Mirren) has since gone to war with the others (presided over by Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez and Richard E. Grant). So, aided by a life-sized nutcracker in the shape of a soldier (Jayden Fowora-Knight), she sets out to defeat Mirren’s apparently villainous character and restore unity. Though suitable for most, directors Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston’s riff on both E.T.A.Hoffmann’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and the Tchaikovsky ballet indirectly derived from it may satisfy few. And, while its messages about believing in yourself and cooperating with others are perfectly acceptable, they are driven home ham-handedly.

 

Watch out for: Occasional peril, some frightening images.

 

Rated: A-II, PG

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018