Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nanny Mc... Colin!

Just took Bumblebee to see Nanny McPhee, since we've exhausted all other decent holiday movie choices (I refuse to see Chicken Little).

Emma Thompson is a smart cookie. She understands how to pull holiday mothers into a cinema. She gets Colin Firth back into longish hair, sideburns and a loose white cotton shirt. She also can pick talented children who look interesting and act well. Unfortunately she went a bit overboard on the tacky custard pie fights and silly donkeys for my taste. I'm a bit disappointed in Derek Jacobi too. He was my fantasy voice for many years (listen to I Claudius in the dark sometime and you'll understand, a bit like Fran with the shipping news) and I kept mistaking him for Benny Hill in this movie (internal voice: 'Benny Hill's dead, isn't he? I thought he was, maybe he's not? Nah, surely he's dead? Oh frick, it's Derek Jacobi').

Oh -- and I really disliked the way that characters would repeat really obvious things, as if they were in a pantomime. If another person happened to mention that Nanny McPhee had lost her first wart, I would have said 'Gah!' very audibly.

Thumbs up to the set and costume designers. There are lots of exquisite things to look at while you're trying not to think about the story and hammy acting. And the end credits are pretty spiffy too.

Like all book adaptations it just made me want to go and read the original books, in this case the Nurse Matilda books, written by Christianna Brand and illustrated by the delightful Edward Ardizzone.

But the bottom line is that Emma asked Colin to be a Mr Darcy whose Lizzy has died, leaving him with 7 gorgeous but naughty children. He did it, too. From start to finish, he was lovely. I could sit through the whole thing again just to watch him looking mock-amorously at Mrs Quickly.

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