Blu-Ray Review: Original ‘Nanny McPhee’ Released Just in Time For Return

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CHICAGO – With the sequel “Nanny McPhee Returns” (also known as “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang” overseas) about to be released in theaters, Universal has taken the opportunity to release the original 2005 Emma Thompson on Blu-ray. This is a standard import of already-available DVD special features to the HD market in an attempt to spark interest after kids see the new film but it’s still entertaining family filmmaking that’s certainly worth a look if your rugrats have yet to see it. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Written by Oscar-winner and general international treasure Emma Thompson, “Nanny McPhee” is based on the books by Christianna Brand that went under the name “Nurse Matilda.” In the film, the great Colin Firth plays a single father of seven very naughty children. The wee ones have worked together to permanently scar and terrify seventeen previous nannies when the title character, played by Thompson, drops into their lives and teaches them a lesson or two. Nanny McPhee uses magical powers to spur the kids into action but the theme of the film is about how she teaches them to make the right decisions on their own.

Nanny McPhee was released on Blu-ray on August 17th, 2010
Nanny McPhee was released on Blu-ray on August 17th, 2010
Photo credit: Universal

Thompson and Firth are expectedly charming (as are great supporting players Kelly MacDonald, Imelda Staunton, and Angela Lansbury) but the key to the success of “Nanny McPhee” is in the tone set by Thompson’s script and Kirk Jones’ direction. The film is always teetering on becoming too manic for its own good with bits like dancing animals and kitchens run amok but Thompson finds a way to ground it in reality, keeping the kids and their mother-less dilemma genuine. And she never talks down to her audience. Like her character, she teaches a lesson or two without the little ones even realizing they learned a thing.

The Blu-ray release for “Nanny McPhee” is pretty standard stuff with previously available special features transferred to this release to accompany BD-Live access and an HD picture that is good-not-great. No one spent a lot of time remastering “Nanny McPhee.” They did the bare minimum to create a tie-in with a sequel. Despite that, the quality of the family film itself warrants a look. Emma Thompson remains one of our most essential actresses and while no one would point to “Nanny McPhee” as one of the most notable accomplishments of her incredible career, it is a pleasantly diverting one that deserves your attention.

Special Features:
o Casting the Children
o Village Life
o Nanny McPhee Makeover
o Deleted Scenes
o Hilarious Gag Reel
o How Nanny McPhee Came To Be
o Feature Commentary with Director Kirk Jones and The Children

“Nanny McPhee” stars Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald, Imelda Staunton, and Angela Lansbury. It was written by Emma Thompson and directed by Kirk Jones. It was released on Blu-ray on August 17th, 2010. It is rated PG and runs 99 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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