By Sean McCloskey

Jan 28, 2019 04:13 PM EST



The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 4K Ultra HD Review

The cast is great, the visuals are magnificent and if you love holiday tradition, you will want to own a copy of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

The Nutcracker story is synonymous with the Christmas holiday season. The famous ballet is known the world over and has been enchanting audiences for well over a hundred years. Disney took this classic story and released The Nutcracker and the Four Realms back in November to some pretty critical reviews. Now, the film will be available on 4K UHD tomorrow, January 29.

The film, which is set in 1879 Christmas time London, is a family-friendly tale that centers on Clara who is played by Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring).  Clara and her family are dealing with the death of her mother and because of this, Christmas has lost all of its meaning and feeling.  Clara's gift from her late mother is a Fabergé Egg, which has a keyhole but no key.  This gift eventually sets off Clara's adventure into the four realms. 

The realms are filled with wonder and familiar faces.  Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) appears as Clara's godfather, Drosselmeyer, while Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and Helen Mirren (The Queen) are rulers of two of the realms.  Keria plays the magical Sugar Plum Fairy while Mirren plays Mother Ginger.  

This film left me feeling conflicted. I didn't feel this was a great movie but it is not a bad one, either.  So let's get this out of the way first - the bad: The story is somewhat weak and there is little emotional depth that makes me care about any of the characters.  The Good: now for all of those faults, I can tell you why you should see this movie.  The visuals are absolutely stunning - the design team and the special effects team deserve all of the awards that are out there.  I will even go so far as to say you could watch the movie on mute and not miss a thing. 

Again, the real star of the film is the gorgeous production design, colorful characters, dazzling costumes, and incredible special effects.  All are a visual treat and proves to be the real prize of this holiday opus.  The attention to detail is astonishing and the color palette pops beautifully.  Of course, this is all accentuated by the amazing 2160p high definition resolution offered by 4K technology.  Additionally, the Dolby Atmos audio complements the video quality for a truly magical viewing experience.  There are also a number of extras to be enjoyed in this combo pack Bonus features include:

  • On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland - Copeland shares the thrill of portraying one of her favorite characters in a whole new way.
  • Unwrapping "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" - Dive into the production design, sets, costumes and more that helped transform a beloved ballet into an adventurous movie.
  • Deleted Scenes:
    • The Stahlbaums Arrive - As the Stahlbaums enter the Christmas Eve ball, the butler attempts to announce them to the assembled guests.
    • Follow Your Ribbon- Drosselmeyer encourages a reluctant Clara to go find her gift.
    • Clara Asks About Her Mother - Sugar Plum gives Clara a tour of her mother's bedroom.
    • Left, Left, Left, Left, Left - Wandering lost in the forest, palace guards Cavalier and Harlequin quarrel about which way to go.
    • Out with the Old - Sugar Plum makes sweeping changes to the palace decor.
  • Music Videos:
    • "Fall on Me" Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli - Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song.
    • "The Nutcracker Suite" Performed by Lang Lang - Get swept up in a series of images from the movie, set to Tchaikovsky's music and featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.
  • ON DIGITAL ONLY:  Unwrapped: The Visual Effects of "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" - View a reel that explores the layers of effects in sequences of the film.

Disney is known for producing some terrific movies, both animated and live action but for me, this one could have been so much better for me with a stronger script.  The cast is great, the visuals are magnificent and if you love holiday tradition, you will want to own a copy of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, as I'm sure it will become part of the standard holiday viewing repertoire for years to come.

Grade: B-


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MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 99 minutes
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures

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