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WATCH: Keira Knightley and Morgan Freeman star in this spectacular reimagining of a Christmas classic  

The new festive Disney tale hits cinemas today.

Image: YouTube

Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Ireland/YouTube

WHETHER YOU KNOW it as the world’s most famous ballet or the wooden figure that sits on your mantelpiece each winter, the Nutcracker is deeply associated with Christmas.

It’s a tale that was first performed as a ballet in St Petersburg 126 years ago.

But The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, the newest release from Walt Disney Studios unveils a strange and mysterious world – one filled with gangs of mice, fairies and four visually stunning worlds that Vanity Fair said were “worthy of an ovation”.

With a set designed by twice Oscar-nominated Guy Hendrix Dyas, responsible for the visuals within Inception and Passengers, it’s no surprise that the film’s set is racking up accolades like these.

When Clara (Mackenzie Foy, Twilight saga) receives a gift of a golden thread from her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) at his annual Christmas party, it leads her down a treacherous path into these troubled realms.

Meeting a loyal soldier named Philip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), she travels into each of the four realms, meeting the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley, back from a two-year break), Snow Realm King (Richard E Grant) and frightening tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to restore order to these beautiful worlds.

The spectacular film also features Misty Copeland, who made history when she became the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. She plays the Ballerina Princess, naturally. 

It was a dream come true for 17-year-old model Foy (who plays Clara) to witness Copeland in action. As she told USA Today:

Working with Misty was so cool… I had a front seat to Misty dancing! The grace and the strength and the emotion that she conveys with every little movement she does is just mind-blowing…

Someone who is a lot less recognisable in the film is the inimitable Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren, who plays the villainous Mother Ginger. As Mirren told Harper’s Bazaar, the attention to detail while they were filming was incredible:

Every costume is a complete work of art… You walk into the studio and you’re in a forest. It smells like a forest. It looks like a forest. It’s extraordinary. I was just dying to take photographs. 

During filming however, Disney kept a tight lid on the four intricate worlds that they had created, preferring their full impact to be witnessed on screen when the film released.

And luckily for cinemagoers, Disney lovers and fans of the internationally-loved Christmas tale, today is the day for their impressive unveiling.

Like to see the wonderful world of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for yourself? You’re in luck – the film hits Irish cinemas today on general release from Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures. Get a taste of what you can expect, or book tickets to see the brand new Christmas tale in your local cinema here

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