Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
All I can think about is the old style movies like Chitty Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Herbie the Love Bug when I see the cover for Nanny McPhee Returns. It has that old school feel, which is not altogether a bad thing. It is slightly goofy and retro, but it works, even with the magic sparkles and flying pigs.
The menu is the classic Universal menu with shots of the movie overlayed on the black Universal background.
- Deleted Scenes – There are a number of deleted scenes included on the Blu-ray, including an alternate beginning and a few different ending shots.
- Featurettes – There are a number of short features here, including a very short, but very fun time lapse shot of Emma Thompson getting her Nanny McPhee makeup done, and a feature about the cute pigs that were used in the movie. We also get a bit about the massive amount of mud used in the movie, as well as a bit about the bird that features in many of the scenes.
- A Look Inside – This extra is almost a little commercial for the movie, with Emma Thompson talking about the new movie mixed with shots from the movie itself. It runs about 2 and a half minutes.
- Feature Commentary With Director Susanna White – There is a commentary that you can turn on as the movie plays featuring the Director Susanna White, which is actually pretty decent. There are only a few real dead spots, and Susanna White is very excited about the movie and does a good job discussing many of the films major attributes.
- Bonus Movie – In an interesting trick, by accessing the BD-Live menu, you are able to choose a streaming movie to watch. the choices include Beethoven’s Big Break or Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey. This is a nice little feature that I can see being used by more movies. so far this is the best use of the BD-Live technology, which I believe was overhyped and underused.
- Pocket Blu/BD Live – Once again the BD-Live menu takes you to more trailers and extras.
The Movie: 8/10
Nanny McPhee Returns is the sequel to the Emma Thompson’s 2005 romp Nanny McPhee. In the return, Nanny McPhee shows up unannounced (as always) to the country house of Isabel (Maggie Gyllenhall) who is struggling to keep her family of three kids going as her husband (Ewan McGregor) is fighting in WWII. Isabel is in danger of losing the farm as the money is tight. Her kids are out of hand, and when the added stress of two visiting cousins from London arrive, Nanny McPhee shows up to restore order to the unruly household.
Nanny Mcphee is a grotesque looking woman with warts and all, who wields a sort of magic that she uses to teach manners to unruly kids. She shows up when needed, and leaves when her lessons have all been learned. Upon the children learning each lesson, magically Nanny McPhee loses some of her ugliness, until all that one can see is her true beauty. As she tells the children, when they need her but do not want her, she will stay, but when they want her but no longer need her, she has to go. Basically when the kids have learned to behave, and actually love Nanny McPhee, it is time for her to go elsewhere and help others.
The story, like the last Nanny McPhee is the result of Emma Thompson, who seems to have a knack for these movies, as they are both well done. This time she incorporates her real life BFF Maggie Gyllenhall, who adds a great bit of depth to the character Isabel. The overall movie is a delightful little retelling of the original, and I liked it slightly better due t the superb acting by all involved. the scenery is brilliant, and with the exception of the overused cute pigs, the movie is charming (my wife loved the pigs, so perhaps it is just me who has an issue with the pig-a-thon in the middle). Nanny McPhee is fun and light and a good family movie that all can enjoy.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The video for Nanny McPhee Returns is really well done, with hyper realistic color and sharp. detailed close up shots. The overall appearance of the film is calculated and cartoonish, with colors that pop. the VC-1 encoded 2.35:1 widescreen aspect is very nicely done.
The audio is even better, with amazing use of the Surround Sound speakers in many parts of the movie. The bass when Nanny McPhee taps her cane on the floor was a real shock, and the rest of the audio in the movie was exceptional.
The sequel in this case is better than the original, but they go together quite well. It is not imperative that one sees the first Nanny McPhee to enjoy the second, but it does help. Nanny McPhee Returns features a stronger cast, and a better overall story, even if it does not seem as heart feltas the original. I really enjoyed this version, and thought that Maggie Gyllenhall and the kids were superb.
Overall Score 8/10