Mary Poppins Returns Movie Review
It has been 54 years since MARY POPPINS charmed our lives on the big screen. Granted, I was not born yet, but it is definitely a classic film from my childhood that I considered old even then. I have since introduced the whimsical musical to my children and was delighted (with some reservation of course) about a sequel. Thankfully, it does not disappoint. MARY POPPINS RETURNS may not reinvent the wheel when it comes to story or even a message about retaining a playful spirit. However, I can safely say that families will be transported to an enchanting world of joyful imagination that one could arguably describe as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
In Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, the practically-perfect nanny flies onto the scene to help the next generation of the Banks family. Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are all grown up and Michael has three children of his own. Michael and the children have recently suffered the loss of their wife and mother and are in danger of losing their home. To brighten their spirits and remind them of the joy they’ve lost, Mary Poppins “returns” with her talking umbrella and unending bag of unique magic that can turn an ordinary task into an extraordinary adventure.
With the oh-so difficult task of filling the incredibly talented shoes of Julie Andrews as the title role, Emily Blunt is practically-perfect as the beautifully buttoned-up, bewitching brilliance of Mary Poppins. Helping out in the song and dance department is ‘Hamilton’ creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Lin-Manuel plays Jack, the optimistic street lamplighter, who literally brings light to the streets of London. The children, Anabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie (Joel Dawson) are also top notch delivering adorable expressive wonderment throughout the picture. Additionally, Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Colin Firth pop in to chew up some screen along with a surprise guest or two.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS doesn’t necessarily do anything too terrifically new compared to the original. Instead of jumping into an animated chalk drawing, they leap into the artistry of a hand-painted bowl. Instead of tea on the ceiling through uncontrollable laughter, they meet a fix-it lady with a topsy turvy upside down shop. Instead of a chimney sweep musical number led by Dick Van Dyke’s Bert, we are treated to a choreographed lamplighter sequence. None of this is bad, in fact, it’s all quite marvelous. I’m not sure there is a better way to introduce a sequel to a movie from 1964. Modernize what works in the original, cut out some of the excess baggage (the banking drama) and package it for a new generation seems to be a fairly decent formula. Of course, it will never be as great to those of us who grew up on the original. However, for a fresh set of hopeful eyes, who are less familiar with the old, MARY POPPINS RETURNS is lively and new. Only time will tell if the wonderful original songs like, “Trip A Little Light Fantastic”, “A Cover is Not the Book”, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” will be as catchy and long lasting as “A Spoonful of Sugar”, Super-cali-fragil-listic-expi-ali-docious”, “Chim Chim Cheree”, and “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”.
MARY POPPINS is a timeless classic. MARY POPPINS RETUNS is a cheerful delight that will reinvigorate the imagination and, young or old, bring a smile to one’s face.