The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a classic tale of fantasy, love and parents who don’t believe what their children say. A young girl falls in love with a nutcracker doll (a doll of a soldier, built to crack nuts) and travels with him to a fantasy realm, but is greeted with disbelief by her parents when she returns. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a retelling of the classic tale, where heroine Clara (Mackenzie Foy) has to journey to four different realms with nutcracker soldier Philip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) – otherwise the world itself faces grave peril.

She has to traverse four Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, Land of Sweets and the terrifying Fourth Realm, which would be horrifying for any superstitious Chinese since it contains the number “four”. If it were us, we’d just skip it and try to find the Fifth Realm. Or maybe even look up the Eighth Realm (luck and prosperity, here we come!).

But we think that the heroine of the original Nutcracker tale would be fascinated to learn of all the different adaptations of the story – in distinctly different Realms too, we might add! Most intriguingly, they involve non-humans as the central characters, which makes it an even more fantastical world than the original fantasy realm of the Nutcracker story. Here are different adaptations that you never thought existed – and that you’d definitely want to look up after Googling the classic story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (we’ve hyperlinked it here for your convenience, so you can read the rest of the article in peace). Check out all the different forms of the Nutcracker story!


1. Care Bears Nutcracker Suite

This television movie acted as a loose series finale for the original Care Bears series, where the backwards counting bears were regaled with a version of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King story in 1988. It would be 16 years later before we saw another Care Bears show again.

It was a Christmas holiday special which saw the Care Bears pitted against a villainous vizier and his plot to control the Toyland. We’re betting that their Care Bear Stare made short work of the bad guy – and if that didn’t happen, their sheer cuteness would overwhelm him anyway. If you were a Care Bears fan, you’d do the Care Bears Countdown – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

Fun fact – there are 218 Care Bears now!


2. Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale

The Tom and Jerry adaptation of the Nutcracker story is one of the more interesting ones out there – thanks to the role reversal of the characters. In the original story, the Mouse King is one of the villains of the story. However, Jerry the mouse is usually the hero of Tom and Jerry. So they turned the Mouse King and his henchmen into cats instead, so that Tom the cat could play the traditional villain role. The Nutcracker role was given to Jerry the mouse, dressed as a nutcracker.

So in this story, the Nutcracker mouse fought the cat version of the Mouse King – pretty meta!

It’s not the only version to swap the mouse roles around, as you’ll see later.


3. Barbie in Nutcracker

There’s also a Barbie adaptation of the Nutcracker story! But since it was a direct-to-video release back in 2001… it hasn’t aged well. It was a decent attempt with Barbie as the classic heroine Clara, although boyfriend Ken didn’t make an appearance as the Nutcracker (he was an original character). It was a 3D-animated film, presumably to match the accompanying toyline.

Toyline? Well, Barbie is first and foremost a line of dolls… so of course, the version of Barbie that appears in the film was also made into a toy.

Barbie as the Sugarplum Princess. Credit: Amazon

Barbie as the Sugarplum Princess. Credit: Amazon

If you squint, they more or less look alike.


4. Mickey’s Nutcracker Christmas Special

If you thought that the 1892 Tchaikovsky ballet version of The Nutcracker was complex (the characters needed to act and dance at the same time) – you’d be bowled over to find out that there’s a live-action musical version of the Nutcracker story with Disney characters! Mickey’s Nutcracker Special in 1991 featured plenty of famous Disney characters of the time (including Roger Rabbit and Tigger), dancing and singing in heavy, complicated costumes. It’s quite an impressive mix of different franchises – with the same ironic twist as the Tom & Jerry adaptation!

You see, Mickey Mouse is the flagship character of Disney – so by necessity, he’d have to play the Nutcracker protagonist (with Minnie as his princess). That means that the Mouse King role went to Donald Duck… who’d be the Duck King in this case?

It is quite strange and magical, as Minnie describes it, and perhaps one of the most ambitious adaptations of the tale.


5. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Mickey’s Nutcracker Christmas Special isn’t the only Disney adaptation of the Nutcracker story – The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the latest and most gorgeous adaptation of the story! In this adaptation, Keira Knightley plays the Sugar Plum Fairy, who advises Claire (Mackenzie Foy) on how to rescue the realms – Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets – in one of the most unforgettable movies this Christmas.

If you’re a Helen Mirren fan, you’ll be thrilled to know that she plays the dastardly Mother Ginger, the chief instigator of shenanigans in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Fortunately, Claire has the sagely Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) on her side, as well as the eager Nutcracker Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) too. Ballet prodigy Misty Copeland makes an appearance as the Ballerina too – making this a musical that could rival even Tchaikovsky’s original!

Will the Four Realms be saved? Or will all snowflakes, sweets and flowers be destroyed? What is the name of that mysterious Fourth Realm, anyway?

Catch The Nutcracker and the Four Realms to find out.


Credit: Amazon, Golden Village Cinemas


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