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Disney's 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Looks More Like 'Alice Coraline in Narnia Oz'

By Jodi Smith | Industry | December 19, 2017 |

By Jodi Smith | Industry | December 19, 2017 |

Disney, our all-powerful entertainment god, has released a really long teaser trailer for a movie that isn’t going to be in theaters until November 2018. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is peak Disney live-action, as it appears ostentatious, gorgeously costumed, and slightly unhinged.

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) 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 (Morgan Freeman) 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 (Jayden Fowora-Knight), 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 (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy and featuring a special performance by Misty Copeland, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. In theaters on Nov. 2, 2018.

I read that synopsis and I’m more confused. Of course, I’ve never really watched any version of The Nutcracker, but my research tells me that this is definitely starting with the classic and familiar before then adding Tim Burton-esque flourishes to pad things out. Clara and the Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Land of Sweets, Drosselmeyer, and mice are all in the original. The other realms, Mother Ginger, the key, and the idea of setting right the balance of the world are all Disney additions. The original is a much simpler story with less adventurous and epic scope. This looks like it wants to be a trilogy.

I feel like we’ve seen it all before, but I suppose I’m happy to keep seeing women in lead roles when Disney remakes classic stories into epic, possibly incomprehensible, adventures. Just keep Johnny Depp far, far away and I’ll be nice about all of your live-action flicks, Disney.

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Jodi Smith is a Senior Reporter, Film & Television at Pajiba. You can email her or follow her on Twitter.