Mar 3, 2011

Movie: Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang!

Tonight we watched Nanny McPhee Returns (thank you Netflix).
     The Nanny McPhee movies are based on the Nurse Matilda books by Christianna Brand, illustrated by her cousin Edward Ardizzone. The books themselves were written from stories that their mutual grandfather told them as children. Actually, the first movie is the only one that somewhat resembles the books. The second movie is a spin off of the first (if you've seen the first one, you'll catch the connection in the second one at the end). The focus of all three books is the Brown family who have so many "exceedingly naughty" children who scare off all of the nursemaids except the insurmountable Nanny McPhee.
The Brown children change their ways but only for a time, ending up in the hospital in the last book. I have not read the books so I have no idea what happens to them. That all depends on what Christianna and Edward's grandfather wanted to teach them, now doesn't it? I would like to have the books and movies someday though to go along with my dream of owning book, movie combos.
     Nanny McPhee ("little 'c', big 'P'") & the Big Bang was released in 2010 as Nanny McPhee Returns in the US. The movie stars Emma Thompson as a very unattractive (an understatement judging by the reactions of the other characters), magical nanny who helps bad children become good, shedding her ugliness along the way. The first movie (released in 2005) focuses on a widower (Colin Firth) and his seven monstrous children. It has more romantic elements than the second movie, ending with an enchanted wedding. The second movie deals with a mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and five children (three are her own, the other two are a niece and nephew) who must save their farm while the husband/father/uncle is away in World War II. Much magic ensues including a crow that eats window putty, a sorcerously souped-up motorcycle, and little piggies that do synchronized swimming (yes, you read it right. Synchronized swimming. The whole little piggies scene is my favorite, I think). I confess that I teared up a few times during the emotional scenes, one very sad (and well done), the other two much happier (one being a computer effects extravaganza set to very moving fantastical, cinematic music, the other being the happy ending). There is rumored to be one more movie in the works.
"There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It's rather sad, really, but there it is."
-Nanny McPhee

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