Nanny McPhee 5*

Catching the sequel on TV revived smiles from original, even better than sequel that emphasizes special effects. Popular library DVDs have scratches, skips that lose crucial events and dialogue, despite captions. Enough remains, but extras also suffer, at least frozen scenes are glorious to stare at, compensate somewhat. I still want to see again.

Nanny's magic, method, and results are unforgettable. When her stick pounds down, drastic damage revises misbehavior. As discipline restores order, her disfigurements and bulk melt away. When everyone is happy and loving (again), Nanny (Emma Thompson) must leave.

Lonely widower Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) talks to the empty pink armchair of his recently passed wife (Agatha in deleted intro), despairs of his seven progeny, acting out their grief, badly. Eldest, Simon (Thomas Sangster), thinks dad cares nothing now because he spends less time with them. Cook Blatherwick (Imelda Staunton) has bright red frizzy mop above bulging blue eyes, angry with "pustulant tykes". Haughty Great-Aunt (on wife's side) Lady Adelaide (Angela Lansbury unrecognizable aged in cupid-bow lipstick and hook nose) did support household, but will cut off monthly allowance unless he marries within the month, and adopt one of the girls to lessen his tribe.

I'd forgotten many delightful details. Large Victorian family composed of eccentric individuals. Greens and blues shimmer in glow of soft oil lamps, behind kites flying through a seaside sky. Hot pinks and red outfit on Selma and waistcoat glimpse (beneath velvet jacket, then tie beneath sad greyish vest) on Cedric illustrate vivid external and internal passion. Persecuted ex-Army Cook takes revenge with "tasty gristle" sick-room broth. Twin beagles sympathize expressively.

Alongside predictable plot lines, surprises remained. Illiterate scullery maid Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald) wants education to read romances, secretly carries an inappropriate torch for her likewise unknowingly infatuated employer, but the children (Sebastion (Samuel Honywood), Chrissie, Lily, Aggie, baby) believes she helps them only for wages, step-mothers are always evil.

In the troubled household, Nanny McPhee's voice echoes everywhere, "The person you need is Nanny McPhee", until thunder-claps announce her arrival - warts, front tooth overlaps lip, huge bulbous nose. She asks his main concerns: go to bed when told, get up, get dressed, say please and thank you. The lessons start when rampaging in the kitchen becomes dangerous and exhausting, and continue with fun and frolics. When potential marital candidate, thrice-widowed Mrs Selma Quickly (Celia Imrie), arrives for tea, pranks peak, and backfire.

Adelaide's visit for tea coincides with Nanny's afternoon off. Adelaide, blind, mistakes animals (donkey, pig, hens, beagles) dressed in feminine finest, for her grand-nieces. When Nanny insists one must go to Stitch Manor with Adelaide, Simon knows Evangeline's desire to better herself, so she is the optimal volunteer. To save Selma from pranks after she downs worm tea sandwiches oblivious, Cedric must grab her close, but she misinterprets and accepts the on-his-knees proposal.

At the wedding, Eva enters majestically, reincarnated as "fairy princesss". Admirer recognizes her instantly, reacts "nonsense, she's always looked like that". When people love, one look tells all. "Behave"-"Bee-have" buzzing infests rainbow wedding. I had to play the finale again and again. Letty's dyed lambs. Food fight. Children engineer proposal. Snowflakes clothe everyone in bridal white. And magically cleanse and transform clothes to pure white of course.

"What.. What .. What.." sounds like Dr Who - BBC TV - Is this a Brit expression? I'm on tenterhooks for upcoming December special. Nanny 2 takes place present day. Animated credits likewise echo plot. Could there be a futuristic Nanny 3?

Finding images for this review, I found "NM & the Big Bang", unfortunately an alternate title for #2, not #3. Thankfully, searching for #3 plans found Emma Thompson has written "futuristic .. out in space", "depending on whether this one (#2) makes any money. Oh dear. How much is "any"? Studio "want modern one next".)
Box office $27M enough?

Emma is hilarious off-screen too (oops x-rated) interview 3-11' in Brave, Kelly rejoins Emma

Over The Hedge animated, raccoon introduces wildlife to suburbia for ulterior motives. (William Shatner) (Wanda Sykes), hyperactive squirrel
Curious George Flatly animated monkey(Drew Barrymore) follows explorer (Will Farrell) from
Polly World flat cartoon school-girl Barbie wannabe
Leave it to Beaver TV show S1-2 B&W 1950s sweet wholesome Cleaver family features trouble-making youngest son

Languages: English, Spanish, french, Commentary

Bonus Features: Fascinating
Casting the Children - Finding and coping with kids, beach really cold and windy
Village Life - 3 A built from scratch for fairy tale look
Nanny's Makeover - skip-over, lost

Deleted (for overall length, momentum) Scenes (with Director intros)
except #7 gag

1 Alternate opening: nannies of the world - too long: silent with dinosaurs, pyramid, Japan, to Agatha's gravestone, tall top-hatted funeral parlor makeup artist Cedric, corpse mouth drops open when fleeing nanny cries "they've eaten the baby"
2 Jowls and Wheen walk at night - after locking up, discuss practical joke on Cedric, jumping out of "coffins is funny, cupboards ain't" - at the wedding I thought they were a gay couple because this scene was cut explaining who they are (lost in skips), why they break into laughter so easily when cake-d,
3 Mr Brown and Eva - and letters, lost, does show holding arms, end more believable
4 Mr Sapless and the pink chair - buyer offers one sovereign (Charles Dickens' early weekly wage), Cedric says "I suppose we must, dear" as if answering wife
5 Jowls and Wheen surprise Mr Brown - chorus "we get you that time" out of coffins, asks corpse "what was your wife like", reads aloud refusal from date Prudence
6 Tea Party - sped-up silent black and white version confused child test audience, let me see antic scratches lost
7 Nanny in disguise - while cook relaxes for her scene, Colin, job finished two weeks before, dresses and makes up to surprise everyone with Nanny's trademark line for applause and laughter

Gag Reel - lost

How Nanny Came to Be
I'm convinced to eagerly seek Brand books. Academy winner Emma for Sense and Sensibility used three Nurse Matilda books (first, Town, Hospital) for characters (Adelaide, Eva, cook), scenes (fake measles, dressing donkey, adoption, changes) "the ugliest person you ever saw in your life" "front tooth sticking out like a tombstone". Original differs: many un-named children, mother alive, out-tdated term "Nurse", "Matilda" used by Dahl.

Author Brand told her great-grandfather's stories. B. 1907 Malaysia, lived in India, educated from little girl in convent, adored order, sense of family. Lovely photos. First crime novel "Death in High Heels". Awards. 1955 Nurse M. Her cousin Edward Ardizzone illustrated, heard same childhood tales b.1900 Vietnam. The drawing stills here increase my desire for books.

Two Commentaries
Poor DVD quality limited time to part of each. First has sense of set chaos, efforts to control loudly bored crisp cruncher and commanding dramatists in competitive chorus. Emma lights up interviews with bright warm wit. Feminine outlook contrasts. I would watch this over and over, commentaries, other languages, any-ever. The visuals cheer a dreary winter.

I Director Kirk Jones (questions to direct) kids
(Simon (Thomas Sangster), Tora (Eliza Bennett), Lily (Jennifer Rae Daykin), Eric (Raphaƫl Coleman), Sebastian (Samuel Honywood), Chrissy (Holly Gibbs) and baby Aggie (Hebe and Zinnia Barnes)))
too much chat, so divide points in fives, only include start

Took opening shot ten minutes away from home by helicopter
Fascinated by chair as highly emotionally charged image, accidentally broke under Colin one day, Kirk wrote memo "treat as one of the cast"
"They ate the baby" prank "chicken" answer kids
May have been Emma's mom Phillida Law who suggested Nanny's new name

Holly got blister on ankle dragging around on Colin's ankle
Sam did not like jam all over, hates showers, thought only one take before this job
(Sam eats crisps, Kirk chides, acts silly, others ask for toiler, "Raph" "nobody listens to these things, boring")
Remote control mouse needed bigger wheels for over stone tiles
Rubber bat to hit cook
Jenny shocked at first sight of NM, kept a wart, others kept noses, that rot

Kirk couldn't see Emma in Nanny, even her posture changed, wanted "little bit scared"
Jenny (?) loved bassett hounds so much her mom bought one on Ebay
Kids named and kept teddies
Cook tied down on table, gagged, for 5 days "no adult torture"
Kitchen special effect simple commen-sense, person under table
Cook's red frizz is her own hair

2 Producer Lindsay Doran, Actor-Writer Emma Thompson
(I'd love to see all through many times, but skips so, continued with second commenters)
Angela's first fake nose, first job in 20 years
Modestine donkey from book, dancing is puppet
Third time watching, vivid sunset Adelaide & Eva ride into
Wonderful patchwork quilts on beds
Gradual 5 changes: hairline, ears and lobes shrink

170 steps to freezing seaside
Measured height to Nanny's nose to set round window center height
Real steam from her tea
Lesson 4: To listen, was father's lesson

By wedding, Nanny's hair lovely smooth blonde waves
When Selma drops in curtsy, hand across bosom was not humility, but for "Puritan" Americans
Eva's posture rigid from deportment lessons
Bee buzzing from book #3
Emma's mother sits behind Angela

Everyone happy in food fight till food hardened over days, smelt, hurt
Angela fearful, Emma took responsibility, stuck on days, while reading
Norwegian proverb "That which is loved is beautiful"
(In not
See love, not goo
In book, tooth flies away, here subtle, everything changes in paper-bits snow
Emma wrote line "snow comes together to form magical veil", "cannot tell you" satisfaction coming together, sadness at end not acted

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