‘The Nutcracker’ Gets a Bold Twist in its Newest Adaptation

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the newest adaptation of Ivan Vsevolozhsky’s original ballet. This version still features the same narrative as the classic—but, now, with a bold twist. In the film, Clara Stahlbaum defends the four realms in honor of her mother, their queen. However, things don’t go as planned when she encounters an unexpected foe.

Joe Johnston and Lasse Hallström put a bold twist to their newest adaptation of ‘The Nutcracker’

As in the ballet, the movie begins on Christmas Eve. Sadly, the Stahlbaums are celebrating their first Christmas without their mother, Marie. Before leaving for Drosselmeyer’s party, their father gives Louise, Clara, and Fritz from their mother. Delighted, Louise and Fritz exclaim at the sight of their presents. However, Clara is distraught, not understanding why her mom gave her a locked egg-shaped box. It’s accompanied by a note that says, “everything you need is inside.”

When they get to their godfather, Drosselmeyer’s, mansion, the party’s in full swing. Clara immediately runs off to find him, hoping he could help her unlock the unusual present.

Clara discovers the Four Realms.

Drosselmeyer gives out gifts to his guests with a fun game. Clara followed her string to a mysterious parallel universe where she found the unique key for her present. Before she was able to reach for it, a mouse snatches it and runs off. As she tries to catch it, she meets Philip, the Nutcracker. A surprise to the both of them, Clara turns out to be the their princess.

Upon their arrival to the castle, the kingdom rejoices in the return of their ruler. However, she sadly tells them that their queen, Marie, has died. As they mourn, they also look onto Clara to help save them. She learns the history of the Four Realms.

First, the Land of Sweets, ruled by Sugar Plum; who also acts as Clara’s guide. Second, the Land of Flowers, ruled by Hawthorne. Third, the Land of Snowflakes, ruled by Shiver. Lastly, the Land of Amusement, ruled by the evil Mother Ginger.

The evil Mother Ginger

According to Sugar Plum, Mother Ginger tried to take control of all the realms. As a result, they banished Mother Ginger to keep peace and order in the three other realms. Now, Sugar Plum is desperate to defend the kingdom from the evil leader. To do this, she need to turn more toys into real soldiers. Problem is, she can’t power up the machine that does this—a machine invented by Queen Marie. Clara inspects it and find that it requires the exact key she needs for her peculiar present.

Bravely, Clara leads an army of soldiers with the Nutcracker, Philip, into the Land of Amusement to recover the key. She marches into Mother Ginger’s land while also battling her army of mice. Clara quickly finds the key while narrowly escaping Mother Ginger. As she runs off, she hears Mother Ginger pleading to her that they key is dangerous.

Clara’s unexpected foe

Before returning to the castle, Clara eagerly opened her mother’s gift. Finding out that it was nothing more than a music box, she grew increasingly frustrated. Upon their arrival, Clara quickly handed the key to Sugar Plum. She powered up the machine, showing Clara how it works. It makes toys come to life and vice versa. Much to everyone’s surprise, Sugar Plum instantly revealed her true wicked self. Turns out, she’s been the villain all along.

While Queen Marie’s been away, Sugar Plum’s anger towards her grew. She aspired and conspired to take charge of the Four Realms. Beginning with isolating the Land of Amusement, she only needed a bigger army to gain sole control—something she now has. After capturing Clara and the Nutcracker, Sugar Plum was free to carry out her plan. Little did she know, however, this only left Clara to a stunning discovery.

“Everything you need is inside”

Locked up in the dungeon, Clara was ready to give up. She took out the music box and understood her mom’s message. After rotating a part of it, the music box revealed a mirror. The mirror pointed to Clara who finally got what her mom meant. Everything she needed—bravery, knowledge, confidence—was already inside her.

Clara rose to the occasion and formulated a plan with the Nutcracker. They teamed up with Mother Ginger and the Land of Amusement to defeat Sugar Plum. Through her wit and courage, Clara was able to lead her army to victory. In the end, she was able to restore order to the Four Realms as well as in her family life.

Catch The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in cinemas today.