The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 4K Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Summary
In The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Clara travels along a golden thread, presented at Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual party, eagerly searching for a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a music box that holds a priceless gift. When she enters a mysterious parallel world, Clara encounters a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and three Realm regents, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kiera Knightley). Ultimately, she must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve the key and return harmony to the unstable world.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review
Seeing The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for many, though not myself. I’ve seen it before and know the story, but harbor no great attachment to it. I’ll admit I was distracted through the film by the image quality, which I’ll discuss more, but the film is only OK. There’s a small ballet during it, but not much for those that were hoping for that. The story moves along OK but I never made any emotional connection with the characters, and the proverbial bad guys didn’t bring much either. Maybe it’s just not a film for me, but I’d probably rather watch the ballet again than the film.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Technical Review
Per this article on the cinematography, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was shot on 35mm and some 70mm film and while no digital intermediate was specified I have to believe it uses a 2K one after watching. This is the most let-down I’ve been about a 4K Blu-ray image in quite a while. While I knew nothing of the film, being new and from Disney I expected it to look great but the image here is as flat and lifeless as many of the toys. Compared to good HDR content nothing pops off the screen and it feels like an SDR image. There isn’t the sharpness and fine detail present in better 4K titles, while elements like gold lack the sparkle you’ve come to expect. I felt like I was streaming something in 1080p from Netflix and not watching a high-quality 4K disc for the entire time here and left severely disappointed.
The audio track is much better, with decent use of Atmos throughout and clear voices that are easy to understand. There isn’t as much ambiance through the height channels as I would like, but there isn’t much to complain about here. The subwoofer gets used and creates a decent amount of rumble when called upon, but even a good audio track can’t save the video.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Special Features
- On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland – Copeland shares the thrill of portraying one of her favorite characters in a whole new way.
- Unwrapping “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Dive into the production design, sets, costumes and more that helped transform a beloved ballet into an adventurous movie.
- Deleted Scenes
- The Stahlbaums Arrive– As the Stahlbaums enter the Christmas Eve ball, the butler attempts to announce them to the assembled guests.
- Follow Your Ribbon- Drosselmeyer encourages a reluctant Clara to go find her gift.
- Deleted Scene: Clara Asks About Her Mother– Sugar Plum gives Clara a tour of her mother’s bedroom.
- Left, Left, Left, Left, Left– Wandering lost in the forest, palace guards Cavalier and Harlequin quarrel about which way to go.
- Out with the Old– Sugar Plum makes sweeping changes to the palace decor.
- Music Videos
- “Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli– Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song.
- “The Nutcracker Suite” Performed by Lang Lang– Get swept up in a series of images from the movie, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review System
Sony A1E OLED, Panasonic UB820 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, SVS PB-3000 Subwoofer.
Atmos soundtrack is decent, ballet is good.
Image is just unimpressive and film isn't that interesting.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms can't live up to the ballet, and the image is one of the more disappointing images on a recent 4K disc.