"I did knock"
After losing their mother, the seven Brown children had forced
seventeen nannies to walkout because of their increasingly bad behaviour.
When the agency tells their father Mr. Cedric Brown (Firth) that there are
no more nannies left, he is at the end of his tether but that is when he
hears a knock at the door. Standing there is Nanny McPhee (Thompson), who
says she has been sent by the government to help him with his unruly children
and she is no ordinary nanny.
Family oriented films can be very hit and miss with many of
them missing the magic that all of the family can enjoy but can British
film 'Nanny McPhee' cast a spell over you?
Adapting the story from the best selling Nurse Matilda books
by Christianna Brand, Emma Thompson brings the magical world of Nanny McPhee
to the silver screen. It is the quality of her script that draws you in
from the off, as this fairy tale unfolds before your eyes. In a very un-Poppins
like way, Nanny McPhee uses magic to teach the children five key lessons
that will make them not need her any more and they are definitely not coated
with a spoon full of sugar to help them go down. The children are completely
out of control since the death of their mother and a firm, guiding hand
is needed to bring them back to the well behaved, good and loving children
they once were.
Lead by the eldest son Simon, the mischievous seven reek havoc
on anyone that tries to force their way into the Brown household. With numerous
tricks up their sleeves, Simon, Eliza, Eric, Christianna, Sebastien, Lily
and Aggie think they can get rid of anyone but Nanny McPhee is very different.
The problem is that they see everyone as a treat with all the fairy tales
pointing to the fact that after your mother dies your father forgets about
you and marries, leaving you with an evil stepmother who makes your life
a living hell. These two storylines combine wonderfully with Mr Brown's
own financial and family problems to produce a tale with all the magically
trappings that make it fantastic family entertainment.
The quality of the story and the script has managed to attract
some of the best British talent. Colin Firth leads the cast as the head
of the household, Mr Cedric Brown. A funeral director by trade, the man
is still grieving for his departed wife and his financial woes are not making
things any easier. This is an excellent role for Firth, as it shows he is
more than just a romantic comedy actor. The talented Kelly Macdonald is
also good as the Brown family's maid, Evangeline, who brings some heart
to the picture. The performances of the seven children are also a highlight,
with none of them overly annoying and the excellent Thomas Sangster as Simon,
standing out. Add to this the quality of Celia Imrie, Derek Jacobi, Patrick
Barlow, Imelda Staunton and the legendary Angela Lansbury as Great Aunt
Adelaide and you have a first-rate supporting cast.
Leading the way however is a very understated but all accomplishing
performance from the brilliant Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee. The character
is there to give the children a push in the right direction and make them
remember how they used to be but is the magical Nanny that holds the entire
film together. While she may not have a lot to say, her presence is what
drives the story along and opens the children's eyes to life without their
'Nanny McPhee' is an outstanding example of family entertainment
that the film industry seems to have forgotten about for quite some time.
It is nice to see a film that is not driven by product placements, merchandising
or the possibility of becoming a franchise but just there to entertain a
family of adults and younger children. 'Nanny McPhee' is destined to become
a firm family favourite.
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen
2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well.
Deleted Scenes (13.01 mins)
Entitled 'Nannies of the World', 'Jowls and Wheen work at night', 'Mr
Brown and Evangeline', 'Mr Sepless and the pink chair', 'Jowls and Wheen
surprise Mr Brown', 'The tea party' and 'Nanny in Disguise', these deleted
or extended scenes are introduced by director Kirk Jones
Kirk Jones, the director
and the children
The man at the helm is joined by Raphael Coleman, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer
Rae Daykin, Sam Honywood and Holly Gibbs to talk about making 'Nanny McPhee'.
This is a chatty and fun commentary from the director and the kids, as
they play havoc as the director tries to talk about making the film. He
is constantly interrupted by the kids wanting things as he tries to get
his points across.
Lindsay Doran (Producer)
and Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee)
The producer and star/screenwriter provide an informative and funny commentary
about adapting the 'Nurse Matilda' novels to the big screen. They talk
about the cast and characters, highlighting the many changes in the script
during pre-production and the evolution of the script. This is a good
commentary that adult fans of the film should enjoy.
Casting the Children (11.39
Director Kirk Jones, casting director Pippa Hall, producer Lindsay Doran
and stars Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Angela Lansbury,
Imelda Staunton, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Raphael Coleman, Holly
Gibbs and Sam Honywood take you behind the scenes of the making of the
movie. Here we see the original casting videos, rehearsal workshops, the
read through and the animal training the kids when through to prepare
for the film.
Village Life (3.51 mins)
Director Kirk Jones, producer Lindsay Doran, production designer Michael
Havells and Emma Thompson talk about building the house and the village
for the production. We also see the construction of the inside of the
Nanny McPhee make over
Director Kirk Jones, producer Lindsay Doran, costume designer Nic Edel,
hair and makeup designer Peter King and Emma Thompson take you through
the various stages of makeup used to create Nanny McPhee
Gag Reel (2.44 mins)
Watch the outtakes from the food fight, Celia Imrie eating worms and the
kids forgetting their lines
How Nanny McPhee came to
be (7.41 mins)
Emma Thompson introduces a featurette that shows how the story developed
from the original Christanna Brand 'Nurse Matilda' books and why the changes
had to be made. We find out which characters stayed the same and which
were changed and also the scenes that are the same. The featurette also
offers an insight into writer Christanna Brand and her illustrator Edward
Previews of 'The Barbie Diaries', 'Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the
Were Rabbit' and 'Pride and Prejudice'
Universal has done a very
good job with the DVD treatment of 'Nanny McPhee'. The featurettes are
informative and fun and the commentary tracks are a very good listen.
Fans of the film should be very pleased with this package.
The Princess Bride
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