When most people think of “The Nutcracker”, what likely comes to mind is a musical score that either inspires you to dance or hypnotize you to sleep. The most recent version of “The Nutcracker” does neither, but it embellishes all your reasons why you adore the fantasy genre.
Personally, “The Nutcracker” possessed so many thrills of what I have appreciated from many outstanding fantasy films, especially “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, and David Bowie’s “The Labyrinth”.
Both films shake your awareness that what you initially assume may not be true and your world might be torn apart. Those who you believed are friends are enemies and those who you are convinced are your friends are instead your enemies.
In the beginning for instance, it does appear that it is a typical predictable Hollywood formula. Clara Cohen (Mackenzie Foy), the daughter of Marie who breathed life into the toys and created a world from toys, struggles with her awkward and aloof self and refuses to engage in a social life.
She will not even dance with her own father who privately grieves in losing Marie. Both accuse each other of selfishness before Clara quietly slips off to her godfather (Morgan Freeman) who imparts wisdom that Marie learned from him.
Freeman states about Marie: “She came to trust not only me but more importantly herself.” That becomes a lesson that Clara learns throughout the incidents which occur throughout the movie.
Clara also receives a locket, a gift from her mom, and that also ends up symbolizing her heart. Clara must, however, find the key to the locket and while she has dreams of what the locket may hold, the treasures exceed her imagination.
And both “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and “The Nutcracker” take place around Christmas which stirs the magic like how snowflakes in the air do.
Both Lucy and Clara stumble across the worlds unexpectedly and ironically, must battle evil in their own and different ways to set the kingdoms to right again. Excitement from the other children buzzes around Clara as they all follow their own string to their gifts and the journey leads her to the Four Realms. But her journey only begins there, much like when Lucy uncovers the lamp post.
Shortly after Clara’s arrival to the Four Realms, she notices the key which is supposed to go to her locket. But a mouse steals it and appears to mock her when she attempts to cross the frozen river towards him to retrieve it.
Her obstacle heightens when she puts one foot on the ice and it cracks. Shortly afterwards, the mouse scampers away with the key and automatically, I assumed that he was working with the villain, Ginger. It is evident when he merges with other mice in a bear shape and use physical force to push Clara towards Ginger.
After a narrow escape from Ginger, who is a blown-up toy that appears cold and featureless, Clara is soon introduced to Sugar Plum, who is the Queen of Sweets.
Her wavy hair is put up and the soft pink and blue colors of her hair and gives resemblance to cotton candy. What the audience learns about Sugar Plum is that she uses secret manipulation to gather the Four Realms under her thumb.
Not only is it a film about self-discovery but in her moment of grief and despair, Clara senses Marie is with her when a breeze rustles her hair like Marie is running her own fingers through it. A star shoots across the sky from behind Clara and before the scene closes, the audience catches glimpse of the owl the grandfather sent to watch over Clara.
There is a lot more about “The Nutcracker” I could say but I don’t want to jinx the magic and allow you the opportunity and choice to enter the enchanted world yourself.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.