The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Just Dropped a New Trailer!

Eight months after the first trailer for Disney's upcoming movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and my foray into the origins of "The Nutcracker," Disney finally released a second trailer. The new one is visually similar to one that was released last December, but it contains significantly more dialogue, giving us a glimpse at the story changes to original fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffman. Just in case anyone was concerned about the validity of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms as a live-action princess movie as opposed to a regular fairy tale adaptation, Disney makes Clara's status crystal clear by showing a soldier, who is probably the Nutcracker in human form, refer to her as "princess" after being told that her mother created the magical realms and is considered their "queen." Was it really necessary to solidify Clara as a Disney Princess? Probably not, but it was a clever marketing move considering how big of an impact princess culture has had in recent years. You can watch the new trailer below.

Since we haven't seen a nutcracker in either trailer, it's quite possible that the soldier who bows to Clara and calls her "Princess" is, in fact, the titular Nutcracker in human form. Breaking his curse to restore his original body was a big part of the original story, so to do this so quickly would take away some of the suspense if that is the case. Clara's mother also has a much larger role than she did in the fairy tale, even though she is allegedly dead in this version. Of course, if Clara didn't know about the four realms, it stands to reason that she wouldn't know who might be hiding within them, but I won't spoil the movie for myself with mere speculation. A man who greets Clara at the beginning of the trailer tells her that her mother invented everything within the enchanted realms. His visual affiliation with clock gears and inventions make it pretty clear that he is none other than Drosselmeyer, the clockmaker who tells Marie about the Nutcracker's curse in the original story. Other changes include more footage of Clara dressed as soldier on her quest to save the realms and the addition of a villain named "Mother Ginger" who wants to conquer them.

A controversial comment from the movie's Facebook page pointed out that Disney has been focusing more on strong female protagonists than ever before, most likely in an attempt to overcome the "Damsel in Distress" stigma. The comment received a lot of flack from other fans who support strong female leads in live-action movies. While this is not a bad thing by any means, I was a little surprised by how much Drosselmeyer and the Nutcracker's roles appear to be played down in the trailer. Even though Drosselmeyer did not create the enchanted realms in the original fairy tale, he was described as a skilled inventor who could fix even the most elaborate of clocks and had a great deal of knowledge about the Nutcracker, who was his nephew, and the lands he inhabited. If the worlds were created by anyone from the original story, it would make more sense for it to have been Drosselmeyer than Clara's mother. If the soldier who guides Clara through the realms is actually the Nutcracker, he comes off as incredibly submissive. He puts all of the pressure on Clara to save the kingdom and is never shown fighting alongside her. Has the steady decline of femininity in movies gone so far that male characters no longer have roles to play? Honestly, I can see value in both sides of this argument.

I'm not a huge fan of CGI eye candy overpowering good stories, but I have to say that the visuals in the trailer are by far its greatest strength. It portrayed many of the same scenes as the first trailer, but in more depth. The Narnia-like realm of the Nutcracker is breathtaking and filled with wonder. The viewer is whisked away by to a blizzard of bright color, glitter, dance, and ethereal costumes and architecture. Of all the fantasy worlds I've seen in other live-action movies, this one looks the richest and most complex. The subtle notes of Tchaikovsky's score and pirouette imagery hint that the movie will pay homage to the famous ballet version of the tale while also promising new twists on the story. Even the images of Clara dressed as a soldier in her eye-catching crimson skirt, dark green top, and gold princely accents over her shoulders and chest are stunning. I don't think my eyes will get tired for one second when I see this movie on the big screen.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be relaesed on November 2nd. While the story changes I've seen so far feel contrived and not all that exciting to me, I am eager to immerse my senses in the colorful new worlds that Disney has created. With its strong feminist spin, the movie looks like it will be along the same vein as Maleficent from 2014 and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland from 2010. It's an exciting time for female empowerment in the media, but let's hope that the Nutcracker is not completely overshadowed by Clara's grace and majesty.


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