by Emily Baxter, Web Editor
With a tap of her magic stick, what you want is what you’ll get. That’s not always a good thing. You’re pretending to have the measles to try to stay in bed? She’ll give you the measles!
ABC Family showed “Nanny McPhee” on Nov. 24. I honestly had never seen it before, but when I found out Colin Firth played the father of seven rambunctious children: I had to see it!
These seven kids are nothing but trouble and their father doesn’t really pay attention to them at all. Then Nanny McPhee, ugly as she is, swoops in (I think literally) and orders the children to clean up the kitchen and go to bed. Simon, who is the ringleader of the children, declares that they are all having fun and will not clean up the kitchen. Suddenly the kids find themselves unable to stop what they’re doing and almost kill their baby sister, Aggie, in the process. First lesson? To say the word “please.”
Mary Poppins wouldn’t do anything like that, would she? Since “Mary Poppins” was aired right before “Nanny McPhee,” I was able to compare the two. Mary Poppins is very vain and always denies the adventures that Jane and Michael go on. Nanny McPhee however, is ugly and doesn’t seem to care, and she uses magic freely in front of everyone.
My childhood consisted more of Disney’s “Mary Poppins,” so “Nanny McPhee” was a different experience for me. I liked it well enough, but the character of Mrs. Quickly got on my nerves. Mrs. Quickly is to be married to Colin Firth’s character Cedric Brown. She wears overly pink and yellow gowns that do nothing for her, and she’s outrageous in the sense she puts two dyed lambs in collars and walks them like dogs! That was really weird for me and didn’t go at all with the 19th century setting of the film.
The characters in “Mary Poppins” were a little subtler in costuming but were nevertheless clever and very proper to the time period setting. “Nanny McPhee”? Not so much. The clothing was very bright – almost neon – while Nanny McPhee herself was dressed all in black with a strange cap that made her look like a crow.
I do love the fact that in the end (SPOLIER ALERT!), both fathers, in “Mary Poppins” and “Nanny McPhee,” realize that they are pushing their children away, and they therefore reconcile. That was a sweet ending, especially in “Nanny McPhee,” where Nanny becomes the beautiful Emma Thompson instead of an ugly witch.
I recommend both of these films because they are all about family, which is what this time of year should be about. They will most likely be running on ABC Family for the remainder of the year as part of the “25 Days of Christmas” special.