It is Christmas time and Mr. Stahlbaum (Matthew Macfadyen) his two daughters Louise (Ellie Bamber), Clara (Mackenzie Foy) and their little brother Fritz (Tom Sweet) are off to a holiday party. Beforehand they have all received gifts from their late mother Marie (Anna Madeley) but the gift to Clara from her mother is the most mysterious because in order to open this beautiful egg Clara needs a key and there is not one in the box. When she arrives at the party and seeks out her Godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) she expects him to have a key or at least a way to get the egg open. She is not only sad about losing her mother but also that she cannot open the gift she left for her which is supposed to explain everything.
She returns to the party and follows everyone as they collect their gifts which are quite the adventure but for Clara her adventure takes her into another world. It’s not long before she discovers what she wanted, the key but before she is able to grab it out from nowhere a mouse grabs it first. The chase is on as Clara runs after the mouse to retrieve her key. She comes upon Captain Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who refers to Clara as the princess daughter of Queen Marie. Off to the palace they go where they meet several Nutcrackers like Cavalier (Omid Djalili) and Harlequin (Jack Whitehall) but the biggest surprises where the three realms, Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez) the land of flowers, Shiver (Richard E. Grant) the land of snow flakes and Sugar Plum (Keira Knightley) the land of sweets.
The fourth realm is where the key is and she must face the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) to retrieve it unlock the egg and also save the three realms. What she discovers though while in the battle with Mother Ginger is not what she expected and what her true concern should be is the plan by one of the other realms to take over their world with the help of the tin men. Clara is truly her mother’s daughter and it is true that when you miss someone you will always remember them. Albeit in the end a young confused girl has found out that she is now a knowledgeable grown adult surrounded by love.
I enjoyed the film but I must say my expectations where not quite met. It drags a bit in some places which I blame not only on the director but the writers as well. The writers definitely had some great characters to work with but for the most part they fell short. Most of the emphasis was on Clara and Captain Phillip but they seemed to have lost the attention of all the interesting characters around those two. The music, costumes and the cinematography is all phenomenal and tends to be the best part of this story which by the way I thought the story was a bit weak and lacking that Disney fantasy feeling.
Foy is excellent as the lead who takes us on this journey and her counterpart Fowora-Knight is ok but at times just seems a bit stiff. Freeman, Sweet, Bamber, Macfadyen, all help to establish a story but I only wish they had more to do with Foy’s character and the journey she went on. Mirren, Whitehall, Derbez and Grant all attribute to this battle but one that seems to end too easily. Yet Knightley as Sugar Plum is truly spot on and at least gives a bit of sass to the story line. Thanks to the owl, mice and horses they tended to help the story as well in such a mystical way about them. It’s a good holiday movie for the whole family and thankfully it is not 2 hours long but its close.