What started out as a direct to DVD quality movie became something better as it went on. Nanny McPhee Returns, or Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang as was released in the UK, was destined to not be as good as the first. It's just one of those things. The original Nanny McPhee was great, and it would be very hard to duplicate.
Manny McPhee Returns is approximately the same story as the original, but seems to be geared even more towards kids with a bunch of poop jokes and slapstick. Things I didn't find very funny were laughed at by the kids in the audience. The thing that made me actually like the movie was how, out of nowhere, I found that I was attached to the characters. I started out thinking it was too much a kids flick, what with all the simple jokes, and was just about to start paying half attention to the movie when it switched gears.
Emma Thompson is a wonderful actress. She's done so many things, and never fails to entertain me. Rhys Ifans, whom I usually love, stunk up the screen, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, one of my favorite actors, didn't provide much more entertainment initially. That all turned around (well, not Ifans' character) and, as I've stated, I ended up being attached to the characters. The kids are well cast, and all help make the movie better.
Susanna White makes her directorial debut in Nanny McPhee. It's a change from Kirk Jones, from the first Nanny McPhee, who hasn't really done much, but what he's done has been good. It would have been nice to see what Jones would have done with this material. It would have kept the movies more consistent. Mike Eley is a great director of photography. The scenery and camerawork were perfectly done to get all the visual points across well.
Nanny McPhee Returns is a fairly well done movie, and is a good children's movie. It's innocent and fun. If the third one is as good as this one, I won't be upset at all.