The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: Disney’s adaptation


Haley Kish

Coach Jeffrey Bettis poses as a ballerina to mimic the ballet form of The Nutcracker. Bettis stood on his tippy-toes and smiled as if he starred as Clara. “I lost a portion of my dignity when I agreed to do this,” Bettis said.

Haley Kish, Photographer

When people think of The Nutcracker, they think of the famous ballet that everyone knows and loves. Disney took the original ballet of the Nutcracker and changed the plot line to form The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which hit theaters November 2.

Disney’s take on the classic ballet included stars such as Morgan Freeman (Drosselmeyer), Mackenzie Foy (Clara), Keira Knightley (Sugar Plum), Helen Mirren (Mother Ginger), and Jayden Fowora-Knight (Phillip the Nutcracker). This adaptation started off like the ballet in the same setting in Moscow, Russia, as a family of five turned into four when the mother died just before Christmas. Before the mother died in the film, she left a box and a note for Clara, the middle child, which later obtains a special meaning. This follows the same general idea as the ballet, but in the ballet Clara received a nutcracker which later turned into a real person and they endure on an adventure together. Making the beginning of the film follow the beginning of the ballet made the film grasp people’s attention, however, the audience thought the movie would follow the exact plotline of the ballet.

The film takes the ballet and changes and adds scenarios that never occured in the ballet which overall changes the original meaning of the dance. The movie takes this box and revolves the entire film around the box while in the ballet, the entire production is based around the adventure Clara and the nutcracker endure together in defeating the mouse king. The adventure they endure together makes the ballet a better production than the movie because in the movie, Clara’s focus became captured upon opening the box instead of following the nutcracker and experiencing the new world she discovered. Disney changed the villain from the ballet, the mouse king, and introduced a new character while the Sugar Plum fairy became the villain overall changing the meaning of the movie. With the Sugar Plum fairy becoming the villain, Clara learned a valuable lesson in ignoring rumors and not judging people by their looks.

The film also jumped from scene to scene quickly which caused viewers to become confused when trying to follow the plot line. When watching the film, viewers need to pay close attention to catch every detail as the fast pace movie trials along. In the ballet, anyone can easily follow the storyline as dancers help explain the story instead of just containing dialogue that viewers can tune out.

“Disney did a good job in trying add a new twist to the classical ballet, but after all it is a Disney movie and they have to catch the attention of younger audiences,” junior Grayson Powers said.

Overall the film obtained a different viewpoint that the audience liked and disliked. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie received a 33% because of the new and vastly different version Disney brought to the table. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms obtained a good effort in trying to adapt the classical ballet into a movie form.

The Chant’s Grade: B