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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

Film review: The Nutcracker is disappointingly dull, says Rashid Irani

A beautifully mounted production is let down by a pedestrian plot.

movie-reviews Updated: Nov 02, 2018 17:40 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
The costumes and production design are gorgeous, though. And Keira Knightley and the young Mackenzie Foy ooze charm.
The costumes and production design are gorgeous, though. And Keira Knightley and the young Mackenzie Foy ooze charm.
         
THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS
  • Direction: Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston
  • Actors: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley
  • Rating: 2 / 5

The Nutcracker… is a lavishly mounted but disappointingly dull affair. It’s a live-action 3D version of a short story by the German fabulist ETA Hoffman, also the source of the eternally well-loved two-act ballet scored by Tchaikovsky,

Here, two veteran directors Lasse Hallstrom and visual-effects wizard Joe Johnston raise expectations, but are perhaps let down by the sluggish, pedestrian script by first-timer Ashleigh Powell.

The best parts of the movie are when Misty Copeland swirls to Tchaikovsky.
The best parts of the movie are when Misty Copeland swirls to Tchaikovsky.

After a somewhat long-winded opening sequence set in London on Christmas Eve, the viewer is transported along with the teenage protagonist (fresh-faced Mackenzie Foy) to magical parallel worlds sprawling with tin soldiers, rodents and all manner of mechanical contraptions. Joining forces with the titular soldier (Jayden Fowora-Knight), the sprightly heroine strives to bring peace to four warring factions.

The costumes and production design are gorgeous. The pomp and pageantry of the fantastical alternate realms are eye-caressing. Also notable are two interludes in which the ballerina Misty Copeland swirls to Tchaikovsky’s music.

Helen Mirren as the dictatorial Mother Ginger ought to have got a lot more screen time.
Helen Mirren as the dictatorial Mother Ginger ought to have got a lot more screen time.

In the acting department, Keira Knightley exudes charisma as the deceitfully sweet Sugar Plum Fairy. Helen Mirren (the dictatorial Mother Ginger) and Morgan Freeman (the avuncular godfather) are underutilised.

The overall effect is far from wondrous. Kids are more than likely to relate to this fanciful fantasy. Others are advised to read the original short story instead.  

First Published: Nov 02, 2018 17:40 IST

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