Tchaikovsky's Christmas ballet is honored in this Disney interpretation, in theaters now.
It begins with an egg.
The elegantly crafted, Faberge-style creation is a Christmas present from Clara’s mother — only she’s not around to give it to Clara herself. She died not too long before, and her whole family is in mourning, especially Clara’s grief-stricken father. He’s lost without her, really. Maybe they all are — Clara’s older sister Louise, younger brother Fritz, and Clara herself.
The egg is beautiful, but Clara can see that it is merely a wrapping for something even more wonderful — maybe even something that will answer all her questions and comfort her in her grief. In fact, her mother says as much in a handwritten note: “Everything you need is inside,” it says.
But frustratingly, her mom didn’t give her the key.
The new film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a lavish visual spectacle that, according to screenwriter Ashleigh Powell, tries to honor its much-beloved source material (mainly Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet) while sprinting ahead into a bigger world and a much bigger story. And it all revolves around Clara’s quest for that key — a key that she finally pursues into a magical land.