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Blu-Ray : Skip It
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Release Date: January 29th, 2019 Movie Release Year: 2018

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Overview -

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.

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 (Keira 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.

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Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
50GB Blu-ray/DVD/Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
<br>English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio<br>English 2.0 Descriptive Audio<br>Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital<br>French 5.1 Dolby Digital
English SDH, French, and Spanish
Special Features:
Music Videos
Release Date:
January 29th, 2019

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


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.

Video Review


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.

Audio Review


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.

Special Features

  • On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland (HD 4:36) – Ballet dancer Misty Copeland, who has an extended dance sequence smack dab in the middle of the movie talks about her experience working on the film.
  • Unwrapping The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (HD 7:08) – This is a standard behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie, with comments from Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, Set Decorator Lisa Chugg, Costume Designer Jenny Beavan, and stars Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, and Misty Copeland.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD 4:05) – A collection of deleted scenes, consisting of: "The Stahlbaums Arrive" (0:25), "Follow Your Ribbon" (0:44), "Clara Asks About Her Mother" (1:43), "Left, Left, Left, Left, Left" (0:51), and "Out with the Old" (0:13). Each of these scenes can be watched individually or all together.
  • "Fall on Me" Music Video (HD 4:23) – The first of two music videos on this release, this one performed by Andrea Bocelli and featuring Matteo Bocelli.
  • "The Nutcracker Suite" Music Video (HD 4:06) – This second music video is performed by Chinese pianist Lang Lang.

Final Thoughts

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.