THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS
This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens on Christmas Eve. Clara Stahlbaum (Mackenzie Foy) is showing her brother Fritz (Tom Sweet) an elaborate device she made that catches mice. The two then join their sister Louise (Ellie Bamber) and their father (Matthew Macfadyen) as he decorates the tree. Fritz comments that it’s not the same as how their mother did it, which visibly upsets everyone else. Mr. Stahlbaum then gives his kids early presents from their late mother Marie (Anna Madeley). Clara gets a porcelain egg that needs a key to unlock it, but there is no key. She is disappointed but then finds a note from her mother saying everything she needs is inside.The Stahlbaums attend a party hosted by the children’s’ godfather, Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), who took Marie in when she was an orphan and watched as she became an amazing inventor. Mr. Stahlbaum requests that his daughters stay to dance with him, but Clara wanders off to find Drosselmeyer. She brings him the egg to unlock, and he recognizes it as something he made for Marie when she was young, but he doesn’t have the key for it either.
Drosselmeyer sends the other children out to find their presents, which he set up using strings to guide the kids to their gifts. Clara’s father finds her and scolds her for wandering off, saying she only thinks about herself, but Clara says one could say the same for him. Clara finds the string with her name and goes off to look for her gift. The string then takes her through a hall that leads to a different world. Clara then spots the key, but it is swiped by a little rodent called Mouserinks. Clara chases Mouserinks up to an icy lake, and she spots the bridge she needs to cross. Clara then meets Captain Phillip Hoffman (Jayden Fowora-Knight), the Nutcracker. When she tells him who she is and who her mother was, Phillip addresses Clara as “Your Majesty” and he helps her go after Mouserinks.
Clara and Phillip ride his horse into the forest of the Fourth Realm where they are found by a massive pack of mice. They take Clara until Phillip goes after her. Their leader, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), rises and calls to Clara, but Phillip takes her away without getting the key back.
Phillip takes Clara to a castle where the soldiers also know of her and Marie. There, Clara meets the regents of the other realms. There is Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez), regent of the Land of Flowers; Shivers (Richard E. Grant), regent of the Land of Snowflakes; and the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley), regent of the Land of Sweets. They are eager to meet Clara but are devastated to learn that Marie is dead. They also refuse to call the Fourth Realm by its original name, the Land of Amusements, due to Mother Ginger allegedly corrupting the land.
Clara joins Sugar Plum as she guides her through their world. She takes Clara through a clock, showing the outside world moving slowly. Clara sees her siblings enjoying themselves, but her father sits alone looking sad. Sugar Plum then takes Clara to watch a ballet where a Ballerina (Misty Copeland) acts out the story of how their world came to be when Marie arrived. She also shows Clara a machine that her mother invented, and it is unlocked using the same key that opens the egg.
Clara then dreams that night about Marie and an assortment of toys that she had, including a nutcracker identical to Phillip.
The next day, at Sugar Plum’s behest, Clara leads an army along with Phillip to head to the Fourth Realm to retrieve the key. Once they arrive, the mice pull the soldiers underground until they get Clara too. She is brought to a tent full of creepy clown-like people that come out of each other like nesting dolls. Clara meets Mother Ginger, who also appears upset at hearing that Marie is gone. Phillip then arrives to rescue Clara, and they get the key from Mouserinks. Once they’ve gone far enough from Mother Ginger, Clara opens the egg to find that it is an ordinary music box, leaving her with no answers.
Clara brings the key to Sugar Plum, who activates the machine and uses it to turn a bunch of toy soldiers into larger living soldiers. Sugar Plum then reveals her true intentions to take over all the realms due to her anger over Marie leaving their world and devoting her life to her family. She also framed Mother Ginger for her own misdeeds and is planning to bring her soldiers to the Fourth Realm to do away with Mother Ginger.
Sugar Plum imprisons Clara and Phillip, along with Hawthorne and Shivers. Clara blames herself for letting this happen. She opens the music box again and flips it around to reveal a mirror. This leads her to realize that what Marie meant by “everything you need is inside” means that Clara has what it takes to make things right. With Phillip’s help, Clara escapes from the tower.
Clara and Phillip head off to stop Sugar Plum. They are found by Mouserinks, who leads them outside. Clara sends Phillip and Mouserinks to warn Mother Ginger while Clara goes to find a way to prevent the army from making it to the Fourth Realm. Phillip heads there and aligns himself with Mother Ginger, and they use her giant robot to make their way toward the castle.
The heroes make it back to the castle to fight the toy soldiers. Meanwhile, Clara starts to mess with her mother’s machine. Mother Ginger is captured and placed on the platform for Sugar Plum to turn into a doll. Clara, held captive by the soldiers, pleads with Sugar Plum to do the right thing since Marie cared for her too, but Sugar Plum refuses and turns the machine on. However, thanks to Clara’s tinkering, the machine points at Sugar Plum and turns her into a doll, which also cuts off her control from the soldiers, turning them lifeless again.
Peace is restored in the Four Realms. Hawthorne and Shivers are released while Mother Ginger resumes her position as regent of the Land of Amusements. Phillip is also made captain of the guards with Mouserinks as his little sidekick. They say goodbye to Clara and lead her back home.
Clara makes her way back to the party to find Drosselmeyer. He sees that she figured out what to do, and he tells her that Marie told him her favorite invention was Clara. She then goes to find her father outside and apologizes for not dancing with him. They start to do so after Clara opens the music box, and Mr. Stahlbaum recognizes it as the first song he and Marie danced to. Louise and Fritz come outside to join Clara and their father for a dance.
On Christmas Eve, Clara Stahlbaum receives a porcelain egg from her late mother Marie, but there is no key to unlock it. At the home of her godfather Drosselmeyer, Clara finds her way to another world previously discovered by Marie. The inhabitants of this world remember Marie as their queen, and they view Clara as their princess.
Clara meets Captain Phillip Hoffman, the Nutcracker, who joins her on her adventure. Clara finds out from the Sugar Plum Fairy that Mother Ginger, former regent of the Fourth Realm, is corrupt and wants to seize control of all the realms. Clara retrieves the key from the Fourth Realm and brings it to Sugar Plum, who reveals her evil plans as she wanted the key to turn on a machine that Marie created which turns toy soldiers into living things. Sugar Plum is angry at Marie for abandoning their world, so now she wants to control all the realms.
Phillip goes to get help from Mother Ginger. They fight Sugar Plum’s army, but Mother Ginger is captured and placed under the machine for Sugar Plum to turn into a doll. However, Clara made some changes to the machine and uses it to turn Sugar Plum into a doll.
Mother Ginger resumes her role as regent of her realm, Phillip is made captain of the guards, and Clara returns home with a newfound sense of confidence and closure to her mother’s story.