One Christmas Eve, a young girl receives a wooden nutcracker doll as a present. During the night, the nutcracker and her other dolls come alive and start a battle with the evil seven headed Mouse King. In the Land of Toys the girl discovers that the Nutcracker is really a young man who was cursed by the Mouse Queen. After many adventures the mice are finally defeated and the curse is broken. The original story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was written by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816 but adapted by Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers) in 1844. It was this new version that inspired the Russian composer Tchaikovsky to write his famous ballet, The Nutcracker in 1892.

Disney recently released its Christmas fantasy, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, starring Keira Knightley and Morgan Freeman, with Tchaikovsky’s music to recreate the magical atmosphere of the original story. In the film, Clara is transported into a mysterious world where she meets the Nutcracker and lots of dangerous mice. Her adventures in the four realms are not only to find the key to unlock a box she has received as a Christmas present but a journey of self discovery.

Watch the trailer!

Illustration by Anna+Elena Balbusso, taken from The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Green Apple, Starter (A1)