Nanny McPhee (2005)

Genre(s): Comedy / Family / Fantasy
Universal || PG - 97 minutes - $29.98 || May 9th, 2006
Reviewer: Chris Gonzalez || Posted On: 2006-05-18


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Kirk Jones
Writer(s): Emma Thompson (screenplay), Christianna Brand ("Nurse Matilda" Books)
Cast: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Angela Lansbury


Theatrical Release Date: January 27th, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director and Kids Commentary
  • Actress and Producer Commentary
  • "Casting the Children" Featurette
  • "Village Life" Featurette
  • "Nanny McPhee Makeover" Featurette
  • "How Nanny McPhee Came to Be" Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

I consider myself a fan of the recent films based in the UK and made up of a British cast like Bridget Jones's Diary, Love Actually, Chicken Run and About a Boy. When previews for Nanny McPhee hit theaters I sat there, rolled my eyes, and waited for it to end as quickly as possible. To my surprise, the film turns out being far more enchanting and charming than you would imagine.

Centered on a family composed of a father and his seven children who have recently become motherless. Calling the seven small things brats would be an understatement and they take pride in getting rid of every new nanny their father hires to establish some order in the house. That is until a mysterious, and hideous woman named Nanny McPhee, played by the always dependable Emma Thompson, enters their lives, and carries with her a bag full of tricks and magic.

There is a subplot about the father, played by Colin Firth, having to marry a woman in a month or his financial support is cut off. This storyline plays nicely into the whole "evil stepmother" theme that runs through most fairy tales and the film is always aware that it in itself is a fairy tale and exploits that knowledge.

The film's set design and color pallete are worth a rental alone. It is shot ultra wide, which is a nice surprise for what is supposed to be a throwaway kiddie flick, and features some beautiful cinematography. The film gets progressively better, and while it's not going to become an instant classic or remain in anyone's memory for a very long time, it is entertaining, well developed, and tries to send some good messages. It's also a nice touch to know that Emma Thompson wrote the script. A very decent family film with a bright cast and an even brighter look and feel.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Director & Actors Commentary - This track is fun for fans, given the constant chatter from the kids, which can be humorous at times. On the other hand, there isn't too much insight into the filmmaking because Jones has to cater to the children most of the time, and help them relive the memories. Amusing for the most part, but not too informative.

Actress & Producer Commentary - This is a more traditional commentary, and Doran provides a great deal of little details about the making of the film while Thompson concentrates on the performance and script. A solid, run of the mill commentary.

Casting the Children - A nice 12 minute feature that goes through the process of picking the children for the film, which is a nice bit of information, since the kids do such a great job in the film. It covers every process of working with the kids from the casting, to getting them to know each other, and rehearsing for the film. There's a great deal of stuff given here thanks to the lack of constant clips from the film inserted.

Village Life - This feature goes into the set design and how they created all the sets for the film from scratch. It's incredibly impressive, and only adds quality and admiration for the technical aspects of the film. It's a short feature, at 3 minutes but gets the job done.

Nanny McPhee Makeover - Five minutes are devoted to what goes into the make up work and costume design done on the beautiful Emma Thompson to transform her into Nanny McPhee. Since there are many make up changes done the feature goes into a good deal of detail going into the specifics of how it was done. Since the make up plays such a large part in Thompson's role, a feature of this sort was needed so it's nice to see.

Deleted Scenes - With an introduction from director Kirk Jones for each scene these 6 deleted scenes they run 13 minutes in total. It was wise to remove them because they're all concerning subplots that don't directly deal with Nanny McPhee or the children. The last "deleted scene" is a lot of fun and features Colin Firth in the full Nanny get up for a laugh on the set.

Gag Reel - This is 3 minutes of annoying material. They're not really gags, simply the actors giggling and laughing at messing up their lines or just nothing at all, just laughing. For a film that features this many kids, animals and ludicrous moments a better gag reel could have been assembled.

How Nanny McPhee Came to Be - This 7 minute feature concentrates on the book the film is based on and its origins. Its a great little segment to put the film in a different setting and to get a background on the story. It also features interviews from Emma Thompson.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Picture: Presented in an anamorphic 2:35 scope Nanny McPhee is a great looking film. As mentioned before, the colors are vibrant, shocking, and they lend themselves to bleeding, but thankfully the transfer is free of such defaults, along with others. It isn't something that's reference quality and the film retains some of the grain it had from its source, but for the most part it's a great transfer that does the look of the film justice.

Sound: Here is where the disc falls a bit flat. This is a film filled with flying objects, loud thuds, screaming children, and magic spells. Given so much potential it's a bit of a shame that the audio track comes across as a bit weak. This isn't to say that the sound design and effects for the film aren't well done, it's just that the track doesn't stand out as much as it should. Perhaps a DTS track would have improved this, but for what's given it's nothing that's a huge disappointment, there's just room for improvement.



.::OVERALL::.

When its all said and done this is a fun family film, that is well done, and a lot of care has been put into it. The video is great, the audio is a bit weak but serviceable, and the extras are very good for a film like this. A movie like Nanny McPhee does not need a 2 disc special edition, so the handful of features given are to the point, but expansive and better than expected. A good disc for a very solid flick.