Nanny McPhee Returns aka & the Big Bang 5*

5* Preview has unused footage and top highlights, but I could see them over and over again, and there are more. For rainbow visuals and computer-less food fight, I liked #1 better. But how can I fault #2 for amazing special effects?

Both have 60s-style cartoon play on plot over credits that I watched twice. When I watched the whole thing again, I re-rated up to the maximum for overall frolic and frissons. "When pigs fly" usually means never; piglets perform acrobatics and synchronized swimming. I strongly hope for more sequels, especially Emma's "already written futuristic in outer space" (see end of Spoilers: Interview).

Star (and writer and director) Emma Thompson "must come when needed but not wanted and must go when wanted but not needed". WW2 mother Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) struggles to keep five children and the family farm of her husband Rory (Ewan McGregor). Though away fighting, his automatic piglet brusher connects to a Happy-o-meter. I can't read all the settings: 1 ?, 2 tickled pink, 3 cloud nine, 4 ecstatic. His brother Phil (Rhys Ifans) badgers "Izzy" to sign away her share; sale would discharge his secret gambling debt.

Misses Topsy (Sinead Matthews) and Turvy (Katy Brand) "heavies" threaten to remove Phil's kidneys first. Then, the experienced taxidermists, owl as evidence from bottomless Gladstone bag, prepare to stuff him as an example to other welshers at the casino doorway.

Basis is Nurse Matilda series by Christianna Brand over 50 years ago. Nanny's ugly deformities - bulk from heavy black clothes and large bonnet, frizzy grey hair (wig), warts, joined brows, bulbous nose, enlarged ears (I missed), front tooth overlapping lip (how did Emma learn to talk clearly?) - fade as her charges learn their five lessons: Peace, sharing, helpfulness, bravery, faith. (Where is lesson "appearances deceive"?)

The vivid greens remind me of #1: village shop of Mrs Docherty (Maggie Smith), Phil's suit, growing woods. Red trim on the adorable hats of the well-dressed hit women are a spark of red stop-light danger (for urban London say Extras but I like my theory better). Watching with the sound off is gives the best impact. Should try with #1.

The everyday clinging dresses, natural fabrics, and pointy high heels back then seem so fancy dressy now. At first I thought mama in her "moment alone" had put up her hair especially, but second time think updo is for housework.

Cousins' chauffeur Blenkinsop (Daniel Mays), I've only seen before in recent serious dramas: Treasure Island, Outcasts. He seems to be a genuinely sympathetic with the poor little rich charges. He keeps a straight face as his shiny patent leathers descend deep into manure.

Cyril has the decidedly curly girly look common to old photographs. Fashion-frantic Celia goes slap-dash slapstick, as the other tend towards, Phil the worst.

Mrs D can advise "have a little faith" leaving 17 drawers full of syrup, because mother cleans up. I liked the original echo of Nanny herself "The person you need is Nanny McPhee", chorus from tins pots and jars in shop just add techno-flourish. When cousin Cyril smashes their full-year saved-up sugar ration for dad-at-war in jam jar, slow motion does emphasize the severity of the deed.

As in #1, Nanny arrives with a clap of thunder. "An Army nanny .. I have been deployed" reassures her employer, as before, of no need for payment. "Small c, large P" in straight face brings back Poo fascination from barnyard opening. I'm not sure if the extra chins are just the way she holds her chin, cheek bulges fake - artificial faces are usually awful (Mission Impossible #1 was on TV last night. Were the faces artificially unreal so the viewer remembered?)

On first viewing, action was all compelling, quibbles unnoticed. Why does adult wedding dress fit child? Falling on thistly fields during pig chase is not so funny for former farm-dweller remembering ear-piercing shrieks of piglets having teeth removed, and trying to run on rough ground in rubber boots. Impossible though acrobatics are, pigs look real.

Deserves re-watching for more missed moments. When the goat enters, mama sniffs "ew", but so does the goat to human odor.

Farmer McReady (Bill Bailey) acts real. Accent like Harry Potter's Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). Perhaps he made indelible voice impression on Dr Who Wardrobe Christmas special 2011. Preview. Wiki.

The enemy bomber does not look like a Japanese or Nazi German, and (their Movement Director) is not. His bomb inspires alternate "Big Bang" title. We hoped for the ending but cannot be sure until the last minute.

Pretty new clothes crushed into ubiquitous farmyard "poo", fashion-fussy Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson) dons treasured wedding dress; veil tears while trapping roaming piglets. Cyril (Eros Vlahos) faces his cold father Lord Gray (Ralph Fiennes) "important in the War Office", disproves the parent-assigned attribute "weak-willed", asserts "We know you are divorcing, at least help your sister in love stay married". Truth will out, when Phil changes a war office telegram from MIA to KIA, Missing In Action to Killed, and a conjured baby elephant steals away his pens.

(Dame) Smith is expert master of understated "oh". Tears well to the eye when the telegram comes. Many know what that meant in wartime, even us younger folk.

Defusing a fallen bomb teaches the last of the lessons. Magic wind harvests the hay and blows away the hit women. Nanny departs as wounded father (Ewan McGregor) comes home to tearful eyes. He of quiet walk and Nanny of meaningful looks stand tall above others' slapstick exaggerated acting styles.

When Nanny bids farewell, Aggie, Mrs D, waves her rattle. I remember the baby in #1. How could a barely talker, not even walker, remember goodbyes from that young?

Emma is delightfully funny in person as well - Interview.

Spoken Languages: English, Español, Français
DVS (Descriptive Video Service for blind)
Commentary w director Susanna White
Subtitles: English SDH, Español, Français
(I prefer subtitles in case I cannot understand an actor, accent, or word)

Deleted Scenes:

1 Thats MY lemon drop - Alternate opening is narrated by Tony Sedgewick (Movement Director plays Enemy pilot - I knew he wasn't Japanese or Nazi) instead of by mama

2 A fully fledgling professional - Mr Docherty (Sam Kelly) used to be Mr Spolding but acted married onscreen - works. Newly appointed warden may arrest "suspicious characters" - Phil's request for arrest in kitchen makes no sense because this is deleted.

3 Heart of darkness - Cousins ride to "Deep Valley Farm" on dark lane. Aged sign would emphasize inheritances if kept.

4 I'm covered in poo - Talking drawer scene ends with Mrs D saying "Nanny McPhee", so we would know of her previous connection before end - better in. More children chasing - alright out. Celia screams at poor Blenkinsop, we feel less sorry for her, car leaving splashes her - better out.

5 Piglet carousel - When kids laugh at pigs swimming, they really laugh at Emma cavorting in pond, pretending to be pig. Unfinished animation of pigs circling tree in air - good, would be boring after terrific swim.

8 Thanks but no thanks - Youngest, Vincent, cheers up Cyril - dull, better out.

9 Funny at the time - At picnic Celia sees unibrow gone. Nanny explains why "big black bird" called after opposite, little white flower "Edelweiss". Does need explanation. I thought he was transformed human.

10 Yoo-Hoo 1 - Misses Topsey and Turvey describe their surgical skills "without anaesthetic".

11 Yoo-Hoo 2 - Dark humor of Miss Turvey's kidney dish "welcomed by British family audiences but made Americans "squeamish". What about us Canadians? Some eat steak and kidney. Hospital kidney-shaped dish "fits two".

12 Wires in the wind - In harvest, people blown away by giant fan on grain stalks. Hit-women really do somersault and spin - I thought fake. Re-watching shows point where Phil's pants pulled up by wire clip.

13 Nanny McPhee's gift - Alternate ending has table set with unbroken jam jar.

14 Roses bloom - Wedding circlet comes to life.


1 New film, new story: Interview bits, not in costumes. Emma gorgeous. Unseen footage. Animals loved in #1 so more in #2. Different from #1 - country, absence - pa physically absent. Steaming fresh poo spurts from cow's behind.

2 Magical moves: "Movement Director" teaches physical comedy where kids fight selves.

3 Mr Edelweiss: I thought all fake. Raven in script too large. Six jackdaws do different things. Her familiar is not, as I thought, transformed human. Emma rewarded tricks with treats.

4 Emma becomes Nanny: 2 hours sped up - nose, ears, skin, brow, warts, cheek pads, top false teeth, wig. Wig looks fake, never noticed ears.

5 Pigs: #1 excited with "dance of the donkey". Piglets trained 3-6 weeks, easier than dogs. Spots added by Lord of the Rings make-up artist. I looked back, some do have spots, visible on one in climb, 2 in swim.

6 Mud: Fake smells better for sure, sticks and slows whatever pushing through. Forms snow-like balls for fights and men.

A Look Inside: Unseen footage - mama climbs on couch. Nanny has unorthodox methods.

Commentary with Director Susanna White
"Big Bang" title used here. Barn is real, built house and other outbuildings. Field is in another county.
Like modern woman trying to "do it all", caring for young and old. "The mother everybody would want". Saw thousands of children, final decisions ranged from experienced Cyril and Vincent to novice Celia and farmer Megsy.

Phil was flatmate in Notting Hill movie. Clip shows him say "yogurt", "Thank you God" and he does "go outside" and model for the press. Ah, him. Decidedly "unforgettable in his underpants".

Since men our away at war, even thugs are women. Ah. Their black, white, touch red costumes are colors of urban London later. While shut down for Rhys' broken ankle, specially planted 30 acres of heritage long-stalk barley turned perfectly golden.

Rolls-Royce really was purple? Looks dark red to me. Susanna married to farmer, knows mud, really Mud is toothpaste-like material dyed brown. Needed 7 chauffeur uniforms for fall in pond rehearsals (wetsuit underneath). In company of masters like Dame Maggie, both Maggies, and others, increased children's talent. Spilled syrup was sign for her to do film.

Favorite scene is standoff between boys over jam shot, in style of Serge Leone western low angles looking up. okay. score also homage. gothic CGI opening. iconic intro same costume, surprise - Phil. Parents would recognize coming home to disaster, maybe calm nannies.

Violence turns against themselves. ah. Movement director taught mime and puppeteering skills. 3 weeks to shoot. Rubber on floor, foam on wall, china made of wax. Absent dad drew little pictures on his letter. Ok. This bird is CGI to carry letters, react emotionally. Kids did freeze for real, not camera. Filmed restored room before smashed room. Hear clock in silence. missed.

Bedroom in attic, delightful painted decorations out of place for poor family. Even if talented, mama would not have time. Her updo was for bath. Real goat walked up stairs. Real Jersey cow did not like to walk out of clean trailer in morning into "mud". Real elephant caught virus and died, CGI based on that footage. Seems normal for Nanny to pull fully lit lantern from under skirt. Animals in beds really "inflated balloon-like things".

Hard to find real moments of emotion such as lavender sprig in papa's letter. Contrast with Phil (Rhys) upside-down in hole. He caught real itchy dose of stinging nettles. Piglets disliked lying down all together, so collection of single images. Hmm. Do I mis-remember cozy heap asleep on mother pig, or is that only younger piglets?

Emma skill writing (award for Sense and Sensibility) meant children not bored with rote repetition, could have fresh lines. Pig hole was styrofoam for lens. Cyril reads newspaper because his father would. ok. Glamorous wedding dress and score nod to screen era. Kids got along well, other children, hard to get arguing. One tutor for all. Oscar learned to read, write, maths, lost teeth, wore false teeth. Missed pink bow on Celia's galoshes.

Pigs liked being caught and cuddled, so porridge treat out of view. Spots for breed "Gloucester Old Spot", went through batches over many months. Farmer McReady improvises Scrabble playing pig with Phil. Oscar's explorer helmet used by her daughter for school play, once on, never off.

Look for Mrs G so we could meet her in our time. Though American, picked up accent from voice coach. Bill Bailey is naturalist, knows country. Bill Bailey has delightfully contagious chuckle. Feels hot and sunny, really was rainy lots, especially at picnic. Adults like Danny May play so real, bring tears, Celia's mom is "very busy", helps children be real. Delicate score moving without overwhelming screen.

Picnic field with tree in center again another couuty away. Art department planted flowers. If everyone auditioned for Edelweiss' burps, who was chosen? The World of Dad's Army Air Raid Warden role known to British audiences. ok. Rys plays telegram sorrow real, no hint of deception. Rhys' braces real and extending for silly stretch. If kids learned from adult actors, shall we watch their futures?

Emma loved motorbike with side-car, she rememers her father had one. She and other women all lost their fathers at "early age". Real Chelsea pensioners salute Nanny. Nelson statue played by movement director, lion CGI. Real Household Cavalry agreed, shut down Regent Park, and she rode with them. Feather on army helmet and shape of brown uniform mimic usual silhouette.

Lord Gray ("Ray" Fiennes) first choice, agreed to only two days, powerful influence on boys' performance. He projects dark threat even without the echo of Lord Voldemort. He does soften and approach. If Army never sent any telegram, much harder than if Phil only changed MIA to KIA.

Celia had piercing scream, pretending to see mouse, but her voice wore out, needed substitute. Rhys jumps on table because he fears everything, broke pot for real making continuity issues. His own idea to threaten kids while kneeling at their own level. Improvisations to sign by dabbing blot with finger, to cook omelet while handcuffed near stove. Beams were real, from ship. Pen that disappears was on wire, later painted out.

Call for Nanny is copied from #1. Bomb much larger than real, for fun. Deliberately chose girl for dangerous defusing job instead of usual boy. Warning dials, numbers, lights, to up threat.

Boom-swinger referred to hit-women as heavies, added to script. Their bottomless Gladstone bag is nod to Mary Poppins' bag. I can see the wire pulling at Phil's pants, now I know where to look.

Hard to leave field looking untouched with vast crew. Cartoon noises on swollen balloon Edelweiss so child viewers not scared. 2M CGI barley stalks. Harvest was real, over two days, with old-fashioned farm equipment, modelled after stacks seen in Romania. Slides were distraction so Nanny could slip away. Kids loved. Would toy copies of their medals be big sellers?

Perfect sky for home-coming finale. Ewan comes from storm, week of rain, to moment of sun coming out. Ewan only on set 2 days yet believable as family. Like #1, credits 60s style cartoon play on plot, plus beeps, vrooms, burps, oinks, and dings. Fun to watch that first part all through and smile (turn down trumpets, quit when background turns black).

1 Despicable Me Preview.
I thought I saw this, cannot find review, maybe not so memorable?
Already sequel coming 2013 Preview2
2 Little Engine that Could - "dreams and toys need to be delivered" "with courage and determination anything is possible"
No. Not "anything". Silo or water tower (Whoopi Goldberg), clown (Jamie Lee Curtis), giraffe? (Corbin Bleu - who's he? what about the hero, who voices him?)
3 Back to the Future Trilogy 25th Aniv. I never get tired of the reruns. Preview.
4 Ad for digital download BluRay FF
5 Barbie, a fairy secret

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