The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Smith
Directed by: Susanna White
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Emma Thompson
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
"Talk about a super nanny!"
Make way for more fun and hilarious mayhem as Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson reprises her role as the magical Nanny McPhee, who arrives when she's needed the most and wanted the least. When Nanny McPhee appears at the farmhouse door of a busy young mother, Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), she discovers that Mrs. Green's children are in an all-out household war with their two spoiled city cousins. Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes to life, to a tree-climbing piglet and an elephant that turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to show the children five valuable lessons, the most important of which is learning how to get along.
I hadn't seen the first Nanny McPhee film nor was I familiar with the character prior to receiving this for review. Nanny McPhee is a mysterious woman who shows up to help families in need of her particular talents. She carries a cane and has a magical/mystical way of resolving the various problems at hand as well as dealing with unruly behavior. In Nanny McPhee returns her assistance is needed to help Isabel Green (Gyllenhaal) the harried mother of three children who is struggling to maintain the family's farm while her husband is off fighting in the war (WWII). As if things aren't bad enough her city dwelling and well to do niece and nephew arrive for an extended visit only to add more fuel to fire. Once again proving that no situation is too difficult Nanny McPhee, along with the aid of an old feathered friend and her specific recipe of magic, successfully teaches the Green family the five lessons necessary to bring them closer together while saving the day.
Reminiscent of Mary Poppins Nanny McPhee is a larger than life character. Nanny McPhee returns is a magical, feel good family film that makes for good wholesome entertainment while offering a positive message for its target audience. The story contains mildly serious thematic content, a father missing in the war and the portrayal of the estranged/difficult relationship between cousin Cyril and his father (Fiennes), but it is presented appropriately and isn't the primary focal point. There is light hearted humor, quirky characters and lots of magic, some involving animals, specifically, a set of cute and cuddly piglets and a water hole. The cast of children are perfectly charming while Thompson, Gyllenhaal and Rhys Ifans, who provides the comic relief, do well in their respective roles. There are also a few noteworthy cameos filled by Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, and Ewan McGregor. The film plays a little long at 109 minutes especially considering the potential attention span of the target audience, however that is a rather minor nit to pick in a well executed and enjoyable family film that is most notably a labor of love for writer/star Emma Thompson.
The rating is for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
This is a great looking encoding that looks solid throughout. High definition detail is readily apparent as images are firmly resolute with crisp edges, defining sharpness, and two dimensional depth that enhances dimension regardless of the camera's perspective. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation and tonal warmth. The long range shots of the earth toned colors of the rolling hills and farm country look terrific. Fleshtones appear lifelike with naturally pale tonal description among the similar complexional types in the cast. Blacks are stable and exhibit good dynamic range with discernable gradational highlights and excellent depth of field during darker scenes.
The lossless audio presentation keeps pace with the video and sounds excellent. This isn't an aggressively dynamic or frequently immersive sound mix but for a film of its type I think the surround sound presentation is impressive. Pretty much any scene involving the use of Nanny McPhee's cane will deliver enough low end impact so that your subwoofer will feel appreciated. The final sequence involving the harvesting of the wheat puts the entire system to use as there is a flurry of discrete/ambient surround activity which emanates from various points around the soundstage and is punctuated by authoritative bass response. Dialogue is rendered with definitive clarity but isn't as pronounced within the sound field as I would like. Regardless this is an entertaining and well designed audio presentation that enhances the enjoyment of the film.
- (HD) 12 deleted scenes
- (HD) New film, new story - 4 minute featurette
- (HD) Magical moves - 2 minute featurette
- (HD) Mr. Edelweiss - 2 minute featurette
- (HD) Emma Thompson becomes Nanny McPhee - make-up transformation
- (HD) The pigs - 3 minute featurette
- (HD) The mud - 2 minute featurette
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- Pocket Blu - App for iPOD/iPHONE
- BD-Live: Streaming Bonus Movie - Curious George: Follow that monkey or Beethoven's big break
Nanny McPhee returns is a successful follow to 2005's Nanny McPhee. It's magically fun and a perfectly tailored family film that makes for good wholesome entertainment for young audiences. Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings it to Blu-ray Disc featuring eye catching high definition video and crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound that help bring the story and characters to life. The bonus supplements consist of a handful of brief featurettes that look behind the scenes and offer insights from the cast/crew. If you're a fan of the original film this sequel is worth checking out on Blu-ray.
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