Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Disney's "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" Update

Although we announced the trailer release on Twitter the day it came out, we realize there may not be a handy summary of details, the trailer and screenshots etc regarding this highly anticipated Winter release from Disney, and thought it might be nice to gather them here to bring folks up to date, especially as the film will be released a little earlier than "Christmas week" as originally planned.

We posted at length during the development and pre-production of the film HERE and HERE, explaining the sources being used and the approach (along with the cast list) so we'll just get straight to the synopsis to remind you of where the plot is being hinted at going, and the limited looks so far. (They still have a lot of work to do with special effects etc, which will likely take most of the year.)

Here's the latest on how the production is going:
(In late December), the (Disney) studio announced it was planning a massive 32 days of additional photography on the ballet-inspired fantasy movie, bringing in “Captain America: The First Avenger” director Joe Johnston instead of original filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom. The studio said Hallstrom was unavailable due to scheduling issues — though he has no other projected publicly lined up — but he will be involved with postproduction. (TheWrap)
Here's the official synopsis, released with the trailer in December:
All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy and featuring a special performance by Misty Copeland, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. In theaters on Nov. 2, 2018.
Here's the trailer:
No summary would be complete without a boat-load of stills. the fantasy aspect is very apparent, though the responses to the visuals seem to be quite mixed. Some people love them, others are calling it an "Alice in Wonderland reboot". It's early days yet, considering how much still needs to be done, but what do our readers think about it so far? (Note: Pictures shown in no particular order.)

We barely get to see Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger but she's intriguing, even in just a glimpse. And she has a wooden sword...

We get glimpses of Misty Copeland dancing "all the parts" as The Ballerina. 
While we have no doubt Copeland's dancing will be phenomenal, we're yet to be wowed by this sequence and hope the end result will have more innovation than what's been shown to date. The use of Tchaikovsky's score means we'll definitely be treated to another variation on this beloved suite; definitely a plus.
This sequence where Clara sees a tag on a string, rope or ribbon, then follows it in some sort of Victorian parlour Christmas game, is intriguing. We've seen a couple of games like this in films and TV episodes before (Reign anyone?) and even vaguely remember playing something like this as children but finding information on this game is proving difficult to dig up. We're quite curious about the significance and symbolism it may have with regard to the story and the four realms. Feel free to chime in and share links in the comments, if you find some online resources on this topic.
This tree opening and framing looks really familiar! (Pan's Labyrinth, Once Upon A Time, Maleficent, among others...)

And finally a little bit of odd trivia that folklorists should enjoy, from The Times:
Margaret Thatcher’s influence has been widely felt but few would have put money on the Iron Lady being the inspiration for a Disney heroine. According to Keira Knightley, the puffed-up pink hairdo flaunted by her character, the Sugar Plum Fairy, in Disney’s forthcoming film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, was based on Thatcher’s bouffant, in volume if not colour. “There were a couple of Tory female politicians I thought of,” Knightley tells Variety. “She’s Margaret Thatcher meets Marilyn Monroe.”


This shot of Clara in the toy soldier's uniform is possibly the most intriguing to us; it indicates she's not a passive child-heroine, but an active protagonist. While the other visuals are fine, this is the one that makes us curious. Bring on November!

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