It’s Victorian London, Christmas time, and a family mourning the recent loss of their mother is preparing to go to a Christmas party. Their father hands out some gifts left to them by their mother and eldest daughter Clara (Mackenzie Foy) receives an egg shaped box, locked and with the keys whereabouts unknown. Disappointed, they head off to the lavish Christmas party hosted by Claras godfather (Morgan Freeman) and while there, Clara discovers a hidden world consisting of four realms. War is brewing and in the absence of her mother, who discovered this world and became its queen, it’s up to Clara to bring everyone together once more.
First things first, this movie is just beautiful to look at. Such attention to detail, with vibrant sets and costumes throughout. Mackenzie Foy is wonderful as Clara, dealing with grief while coming to terms with trying to live up to her mothers legacy. Keira Knightley is good, if a little annoying at times, and Helen Mirren is also reliably interesting. And Morgan Freeman is just…. Morgan Freeman!
It’s all very Alice in Wonderland or The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. Despite their faults though, the Narnia movies always seemed to explore the vast world introduced to us, taking the time to meet many of it’s inhabitants. While this movie introduces us briefly to the realms as part of a wonderful ballet sequence, only to not show any of it again for the rest of the movie. Instead, the plot all seems very contained and all over far too quickly. I liked what I saw, it just didn’t really leave much of a lasting impression at all. Nor did it leave me feeling very magical or festive.