Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Nanny McPhee Returns

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Nanny McPhee Returns

    Studio: Universal

    Year: 2010

    Length:  1 hr 49 mins

    Genre:  Children’s Fantasy

    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

    BD Resolution: 1080p

    BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 32 mbps)

    Color/B&W: Color


    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 4.0 mbps)

    English DVS 2.0

    French DTS 5.1

    Spanish DTS 5.1

    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

    Film Rating: PG (Mild Thematic Elements, Some Rude Humor and Brief Language)

    Release Date: December 14, 2010

    Starring:  Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rys Ifans and Maggie Smith, with appearances by Ralph Fiennes and Ewan McGregor                                                                                

    Based on the “Nurse Matilda” books by Christianna Brand

    Screenplay by:  Emma Thompson

    Directed by: Susanna White

    Film Rating:    3/5

    Nanny McPhee Returns is the second installment in what looks to be a series of family films based on the books by Christianna Brand about a magical nanny who teaches children important life lessons.  As with the first film, the rules of how she works are quickly established and are consistent with what we  previously have seen.  Namely, Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson once again in the lead role and writing the script herself) arrives looking like a scary witch, complete with warts, big nose, giant frame, etc.  As the children learn their lessons, the warts disappear, and her looks restore to that of a beautiful woman.  (As I pointed out in my review of the earlier film, the effect is akin to watching a reverse of The Picture of Dorian Gray).  The current film is set during World War II, in a family led by Maggie Gyllenhall’s Isabel while her husband is off fighting in the army.  As the usual shenanigans occur both with her three kids and with two rich cousins who come to stay with them, Nanny McPhee arrives to bail everyone out.  The current film can be enjoyed even if you haven’t seen the first film, but if you are versed in this story, there are some added bonuses.  In more than one case, we are shown that the Nanny has had many charges over the years, which can come in handy for her and her current flock.  And the Nanny herself is given a bird sidekick, who comes in quite handy at times.  This film is actually a bit more fun than the first film, given that there is a tiny bit less of the children’s antics to set things off, and there is a pretty funny use of CGI to give astonishing abilities to a group of piglets.  I should also note that Ralph Fiennes turns in a brief but very effective performance midway through the film.  Like the first film, this should make for a fun evening of family entertainment.  And yes, they’re going to make a third one.

    Nanny McPhee Returns has been released on DVD and Blu-ray this month, in time for the holidays.  The Blu-ray includes 1080p VC-1 transfer, an active DTS-HD MA sound mix, and a few extras, including a commentary from the director, along with some deleted scenes and featurettes in high definition.  Aside from these features, the Blu-ray includes the usual Blu-ray functionality, including BD-Live and the My Scenes bookmarking function.  The disc is also set for D-Box functionality.  As an added bonus, the Blu-ray allows a BD-Live option that allows the viewer to stream a family movie from the BD-Live website for free.


    Nanny McPhee Returns is presented in a 1080p VC-1 2.40:1 transfer that presents a fair amount of colors, environments and flesh tones in a pleasing manner.  There are many shades of green and brown evident in the countryside and farm where the film primarily occurs, set against the solid black of Nanny McPhee’s wardrobe or the primary colors worn by other characters.  A Royal Guard costume midway through the film shows a brilliant primary red that is quite satisfying.  The CGI sequences are seamless here.   I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.


    Nanny McPhee Returns is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, along with DTS mixes in French and Spanish.  An English DVS track is also included.  As with the first film, the English DTS-HD MA mix is quite active.   In addition to the expected score cues in the surround channels, there are also plenty of moments of directional atmospheric sound.  The subwoofer is used in several places, usually to punctuate Nanny McPhee’s tapping of her stick on the floor to activate one form of magic or another. 


    The Blu-Ray presentation of Nanny McPhee Returns comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality, along with a commentary, about 30 minutes of bonus features, D-Box functionality and the bonus streaming option.

    Feature Commentary with Director Susanna White – This scene-specific commentary with Susanna White is definitely a step up from the Director+Kids idea tried the last time out.  White’s comments are quiet and reserved, but she has a fair amount of information to pass on regarding the production.  In some cases, she falls back on simply relating what we are already seeing, but there are places where what she is saying may be new information for people who haven’t seen the first film.

    Deleted Scenes (14:57 Total, 1080p) – Twelve deleted scenes, including an alternate opening and two alternate versions of the ending, are presented here in high definition.  In one case, a deleted scene features a character whose name was changed during production.  The alternate endings are really just added cutaway shots that in the end are quite unnecessary to the primary action onscreen.

    Featurettes (15:22 Total, 1080p) – A total of six very brief featurettes are included here, including quick discussions of the piglets, the mud, the bird, and the makeup process undergone by Emma Thompson.

    A Look Inside (2:37, 1080p) – A final featurette is included here, this one clearly built from the same interview sessions as the other featurettes, but functioning both as a quick series of blurbs for the film and a promo using the same Police song heard in the theatrical trailer.

    BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. 

    My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.

    D-Box – D-Box functionality is available for those people who have this capability in their home theater systems.

    Bonus Streaming Movie – Via BD-Live, viewers can stream either Beethoven’s Big Break or Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey for free while this Blu-ray is in their player.

    The film and the special features are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu.   When the disc is first put into the player, the usual BD-Live previews appear, including the general Universal Blu-ray trailer.

    IN THE END...

    Nanny McPhee Returns is, like its predecessor, a nice, family –friendly movie, and it gets a solid Blu-ray release here.  There are fine picture and sound transfers here, and a few extras to boot.  I’m not sure if the streaming movies are the world’s greatest choices, but that’s really just a bonus option anyway.  Fans of Emma Thompson and the first film will have a good time with this one.

    Kevin Koster

    December 28, 2010. 


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