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Blu-Ray Review: ‘Nanny McPhee Returns’ Sure to Delight Children of All Ages

Chicago – Magical nannies, dancing animals, great gusts of wind, lyrical life lessons and cute kids in need of a father. You don’t need to be practically perfect in every way in order to find these ingredients a trifle familiar. Robert Stevenson’s 1964 masterpiece “Mary Poppins” used these elements better than anyone has before or since, resulting in what is unquestionably the best live-action Disney film ever made.

“Poppins” is also one of the most influential children’s pictures ever made, inspiring countless variations and copy-cats. Yet Cristianna Brand’s “Nurse Matilda” books took the formula and peppered it with gleefully macabre wit. They centered on a hideously ugly nursemaid who resembled the Supernanny from Hell, until her charges started to become well behaved, thus erasing her multiple blemishes. In 2005, Emma Thompson adapted the books into “Nanny McPhee,” a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy that felt like the offspring of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl.

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