Disney tries to make a contemporary Christmas classic with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms but pretty much strikes out, although the movie itself looks like a brightly wrapped present in 1080p and features a solid 7.1 Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio track. But the lack of a good story combined with only a handful of bonus features makes this one a tough nut to crack. Skip It.
Our full thoughts on Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is located over on our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms arrives on home video with a 50GB Blu-ray and a DVD housed inside a standard Elite keepcase. There are two inserts inside: one with a code for a digital copy of the movie (the same code can be used for Disney Movie Rewards program), and one advertising Disney's Movie Club (think Columbia House with DVDs/Blu-rays instead of CDs). An embossed slipcover with artwork matching that of the keepcase slides overtop.
Both discs have the user make a language selection (English, English Descriptive Audio, French, or Spanish) once play begins. The Blu-ray has a (skippable) trailer for Disney's upcoming live-action Dumbo. The main menu on both discs features a montage of footage from the film, with menu selections vertically down the left side of the screen.
The Blu-ray in this release is region-free.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was shot on 35mm film using (primarily) the Arriflex 235 and is presented in 1080p in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
Virtually all colors you can imagine are used somewhere in the movie. The scenes in London lean heavily into teals (intentional, according to the bonus materials on this release – to avoid the reds and greens usually associated with Christmas movies), while reds are prominent in both the outfits of the Nutcracker guards as well as the main castle in the Fourth Realm. Whites are bright without being blown-out, and black levels are solid and often inky deep.
The movie also manages to maintain the look of film in the process. Grain is evident, but never intrusive. And despite all the various colors, many of them occupying the same scenes and frames in often fast-moving action, I never detected any bleeding of the colors, haloing, banding, aliasing, or other issues with the image. The movie looks lush and beautiful on home video, providing a reference-quality experience for a Blu-ray presentation.
The featured audio on the Blu-ray disc is an English 7.1 DTS-HD track that, while not quite reference-quality, does have plenty of highlights. I particularly liked a scene where a horde of mice gather together to form a giant monster mouse, which provides plenty of rumbling and low-end fun from one's subwoofer. But it's really the distinct moments I enjoyed the most, like when one of the mice (who has in its possession a key that Clara has been looking for) scampers across the snow. Not only do the surrounds come into play with some nice aural movement, but you can pick up on how distinct the sounds are here – separation is well done and both the low ends and the high ends are well-rendered.
Dialogue is clear throughout, and I detected no noticeable glitches overall. This is one of those tracks where both the loud moments and the quieter moments both deliver.
In addition to the 7.1. lossless track, the disc also has an English 2.0 Descriptive track, and both Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Subtitles are an option in English SDH, French, and Spanish.
Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms looks and sounds great on Blu-ray, but lacks an engaging story. Add to that a so-so selection of bonus materials, and this release is just not worth your time. Skip It.