It’s getting to that really cosy time of year before Christmas, where lots of great films are released at the cinema, many of them being family films. One of the films which I was looking forward to seeing was the new Disney film; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. So, being a family full of Disney fans, my mum and I took the little ones to go and see the film at the local cinema last weekend.

I hadn’t seen much about the new film, apart from one or two short trailers (I like to leave it spoiler free and wait until I see the film for myself), so I was intrigued and excited to see the film at last.

The characters were good, and I especially liked the lead Clara. Given she was played by a young teenage actress (18-year-old Mackenzie Foy), I thought she did pretty well to take on most of the film by herself. She is beautiful but very headstrong and not afraid of a challenge. I like how they made her a bit of an inventor and fixer; it reminded me a little of Belle in the recent live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Disney are certainly making a conscious effort to make their female leads more modern and independent, clever women, and not just beautiful to look at. Having said that, she is a true beauty and I am very envious of her spectacular outfits, especially her lavender party gown. Clara is a 21st-century princess in a Victorian London world and I love that.

Philip, the nutcracker soldier is a fine young chap, with a smart outfit and kind heart. I love his loyalty to Clara; from the moment he meets her he remains by her side for the whole adventure. I did think that a romance may develop between him and Clara, but maybe it was quite refreshing for a change that they just became solid friends and parted only with a cuddle at the end of the film.

Another main character is the Sugar Plum Fairy, who makes quite a journey in the film and takes us down a path which we don’t at first suspect! She is a dainty, quirky, doll-like character with a very squeaky voice! Keeping with the decadent feel of the film, Sugar Plum’s outfit is very over the top and she has pink hair which is literally made of candyfloss! I very much appreciate this, as who wouldn’t want pink candyfloss hair?!

There were lots of other characters in the film, who I felt we didn’t get to know well enough, possibly because the filmmakers didn’t want the film to drag on too much. But personally, I would have liked to know more about Clara’s father and siblings in particular and what happened to their mother, as well as more of a story for the leaders of the other two realms; Hawthorne, regent of the land of flowers, and Shiver, regent of the land of Ice.

The whole look of this film was lovely and so lavish. I bet it was a lot of fun for the costume designers, to think of all the glamorous costumes that the characters wore throughout the film. They were so extravagant and intricately designed and full of colour and sparkle. Clara’s dresses were all stunning, as well as all the other outfits worn at the Christmas party. I also enjoyed that the film had a very traditional Christmas feel, with it being set in Victorian London. I liked the use of the lovely old metal toys and the whimsical feel of childhood memories and magic weaved throughout. Plus, the fact that a lot of the film is set within the middle of a big Christmas party made it more exciting and festive!

Another thing which I loved, and was an integral part of the film, was the glorious music. I loved that the original Nutcracker score from the well-loved ballet was re-worked for a modern audience and used from the start of the film to the end. It really is a lovely piece and went with the whole atmosphere of the film really well.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Nutcracker and the Four Realms as a lovely Christmas family film (my 6-year-old daughter adored it!) and I would like to see it again before Christmas if I have time. I felt like it was quite short and sweet compared to a lot of other recent Disney films, but this was good in a way as it meant the film didn’t drag and little ones wouldn’t get bored.

I would give this film an 8 out of 10 and would definitely recommend. Go and see it if you can this festive season, and you will get all the warm and cosy, magical Christmas feelings! Especially recommended whilst eating a gingerbread cookie, and dipping it into your mug of hot chocolate!