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Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // January 29, 2019
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted January 28, 2019 | E-mail the Author



http-equiv="content-type">
The Nutcracker 4K UHD Review


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align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
Nutcracker and the Four Realms
is a fantasy-adventure film
inspired by the short story by E.T.A. Hoffmann (The Nutcracker
and
the Mouse King
). The story revolves around a girl entering a
magical world which is filled with fantastical things (such as giant
nutcracker soldiers and adventurous mice). It is executive produced
by Lindy Goldstein and Sara Smith.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Clara
(Mackenzie Foy) receives a special gift from her mother, Marie, which
was set aside for her after her mother's passing. Mr. Stahlbaum
(Matthew Macfadyen), Clara's father, presents her with the gift her
mother wanted her to have: a beautifully crafted box which is in the
shape of an egg. Along with this package is a note from her mother.


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face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Yet
Clara is unable to open the egg as it requires a key which she
doesn't have and she must discover. This sets Clara off on a journey
to find the special key and open up the box. She meets her godfather
Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), an engineer who designed the egg box
and gave it to her mother originally. Drosselmeyer explains that her
mother wished for her to also have the egg box.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
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face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">While
attending a Christmas ball with her father, Clara explores the
landscape of the house and finds a hallway which brings her to a
magical realm that is like a parallel world filled to the brim with
magic. She follows a mouse with character through a snowy forest and
bumps into Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a nutcracker captain in
command of the area. Phillip helps lead her through the forest and
beyond. The pair enters a kingdom of four realms and they meet a
variety of fascinating characters, including Sugar Plum (Keira
Knightley), one of the realm's leaders. Clara also learns about the
leader of the fourth realm, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren). As the
story unfolds there are surprising twists and turns along the way.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
film doesn't emphasis the ballet dance as much as the
action-adventure elements but it still retains a sense of the dance
portion of The Nutcracker which so many have come to love about the
story. The ballerina princess is played by the acclaimed ballerina
Misty Copeland and she does a terrific job of bringing these
sequences to life with creativity and fervor. These sequences are
also enhanced by the terrific music score composed by James Newton
Howard (Signs, Unbreakable),
conducted by Gustavo
Dudamel, and featuring performances by Lang Lang.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
cinematography by Linus Sandgren (La La Land, First
Man
)
is exceptional. To say that this film is visually stunning almost
feels like an understatement. It's beautifully composed with such a
fascinating use of color. The visuals greatly enhance the
storytelling and filmmaking style. The special effects are first-rate
and the elaborate sets and production design by Guy Hendrix Dyas
(Inception, Passengers) impress
at every turn. The
costume designs by Jenny Beavan (The King's Speech, Gosford
Park
) also impress with each character in the four realms
having
elaborate costumes (Keira Knightley's costume is especially
impressive.)


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align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
screenplay to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
was written
by Ashleigh Powell from a short story by E.T.A. Hoffmann (The
Nutcracker and the Mouse King
) with uncredited rewrites by
Tom
McCarthy (Academy Award winning director of Spotlight).
The
story is extremely loose in it's adaptation but it does have a ton of
fun with the high concept. The film also has heartwarming moments
which make the film feel more memorable and important.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
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face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Directed
by Lasse Hallstrom (The Hundred-Foot Journey, Salmon
Fishing in Yemen
) and Joe Johnston (Captain America:
The First
Avenger
, Jumanji), who came in for
extensive reshoots, the
film clearly demonstrates the mark of both first-rate directors.
Instead of feeling like a mess (which is a obvious concern when
reshoots of this nature happen) it's clear that these filmmakers both
had a great time putting together this elaborate production. The
stylistic energy of these filmmakers syncs well. The
Nutcracker
and the Four Realms
is a fun and charming fantasy adventure
which
has plenty to offer for the whole family.


size="3">The 4K UHD:




size="3">Video:


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align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
Nutcracker and the Four Realms
arrives on 4K UHD Blu-ray
with a
HEVC 2160p presentation in the original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect
ratio. The film is presented with HDR 10 for deeper blacks, brighter
whites, and better color reproduction. Though this was a film not
naively finished on 4K, the film's 2K upscaled source material (from
65mm film) looks remarkable with this high-end presentation. The film
looks even better than it did during its theatrical run and it really
impresses with great clarity, color, and depth. The high-bitrate 84
mbps encode easily bests the Blu-ray format's encode as well. This is
a terrific presentation which will not disappoint fans of the film.
The HDR and resolution increases make this a stunning release.


face="Times New Roman, serif">Audio:


The Dolby Atmos sound mix
on this
release is terrific. It's a stunning audio presentation which easily
matches the picture-quality. The 24 bit high-resolution audio has
crisp clarity and detail and the immersive aspect of the film is even
better with this atmospheric sound mix.


Atmos audio allows for a
much richer
soundstage with sound coming from above (the direction of the sound
is improved) as well as from the surrounds. This film has a highly
effective sound mix which beautifully reproduces the music score by
James Newton Howard and the creative sound design. In experiencing
the film with my 5.1.2 Atmos setup, I found the experience
exhilarating. 7.1 or 7.1.2 options are available for the sound mix as
well (for those equipped).


For those without Atmos
sound setups,
it will default to a lossless audio Dolby TrueHD sound mix.


Optional Spanish, French,
and English
SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing) subtitles are also provided.




size="3">Extras:


size="3">Please
Note:


size="3">Extras
are included on the Blu-ray feature film disc. No extras are included
on the 4K UHD disc so the PQ/AQ encoding is at it's absolute best.


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face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">On
Pointe: Misty Copeland
(HD, 5 min.) features a short
interview
and behind the scenes piece with ballerina Misty Copeland. She
discusses her contribution to the film and one of the film's key
dance sequences.


style="font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Unwrapping
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
(HD, 7 min.) is a behind
the
scenes making-of featurette with the cast and crew discussing the
film's production and development.


style="font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Deleted
Scenes
(HD, 4 min.) showcases 5 short deleted sequences which
didn't make the film's final cut. Each offer some interesting moments
but you can understand why they got cut. My favorite of the scenes
has the bumbling duo of Cavalier and Harlequin going around in
circles "left, left!" during a key action scene. It's a truly
funny moment but most likely affected the scene's pace (hence was
cut).


align="left"> face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Music
Videos:


style="font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">" face="Times New Roman, serif">Fall
on Me"
by Andrea Bocelli (featuring Matteo Bocelli) (HD, 4
min.)


style="font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
Nutcracker Suite
(by James Newton Howard and Lang Lang) (HD,
4
min.)


size="3">Final
Thoughts:


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align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
Nutcracker and the Four Realms
is a terrific experience. The
film
is filled to the brim with creativity and an adventurous spirit. The
cast is excellent. Disney has done a great job with the production
(everything from the sets to costumes to production design is
top-notch).


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
4K UHD presentation is superb and is an easy recommendation for fans
of the film with great picture-quality and Atmos sound.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 100%; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Highly
Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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