Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a visual and auditory feast that will both delight the senses and stimulate the brain as it explores the essential human question: ‘What is everything I need?’
Building on Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet score and Hoffmann’s lesser known story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King this delightful film draws us into the mind of Clara, played brilliantly by the teenage actress Mackenzie Foy. Deeply upset by the recent death of her mother, Clara has retreated to an attic, where she uses her precocious skills in science and engineering to build a fabulous contraption for catching mice. Demonstrating this to her younger brother she recounts Newton’s Third Law of Motion – that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
The wider social and cultural application of this principle gradually becomes evident as Clara then journeys into a fantasy world where the inhabitants of four realms (flowers, snowflakes, sweets and amusements) are at war. Clara has entered these realms in search of the key to a locked egg-shaped box that was left to her by her recently deceased mother, who said ‘everything you need is inside’. But what is everything I need? What formula will be unlocked by this key? Gradually she discovers that the solution is not simplistic and one-dimensional, indeed there is much to learn even in the process of the quest itself.
This evocative film offers great opportunities for a stimulating shared experience. As well as marvelling together at the beautiful sets, costumes and dance it provides an excellent post-viewing opportunity to discuss what might be ‘everything I need’, and what we also can learn from our own quest for answers to life’s big questions.