Mary Poppins Returns review by Drusilla Blakey
Disney’s 1964 feature Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke has cemented itself in film history as a classic in the Disney catalog. The film is so iconic that they even made the film Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson about bringing the film to the big screen. Not long ago Disney made the surprise announcement that they were now focusing on bringing a sequel to the original film to the big screen titled Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt taking on the role of Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack along with Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep. Could this come close to the original film or will it need more than sugar to help it go down?
The film is set in n 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers’ additional seven books. In the story, Michael and Jane are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen, living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack, uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy.
I have always been a fan of the original. I found it to be exciting, fun, and adventurous. I also enjoyed the music and the songs and would always sing along anytime I watched it. I do understand that there are portions of that film that are perhaps unnecessary, but, taking into account the fact that it’s a musical, it’s completely understandable that we would have extra time for song and dance. Upon hearing that a new movie would be made, I was somewhat concerned about how it would turn out. Would it be as fun as the original?
Would Emily Blunt’s Mary still be as lovable? What about new music and songs; would they be as catchy and enjoyable?
I entered the theater, full of questions and anxiety, I was finally relieved when the movie started. Immediately we open up to the character played by Lin-Manuel Miranda named Jack. I must say, that it was a little strange to hear him with a thick British accent a la Dick Van Dyke as portrayed in the first film, as essentially he’s playing the same character. I thought this was somewhat lazy in the storytelling and wished he hadn’t chosen to play it this way, as a straight up rehash, but perhaps they were going for a sense of comfort and familiarity. He of course did an amazing job in the film! We all know he’s a great singer and dancer and is great at selling a story. I just wish there had been a bit more originality.
Emily Blunt‘s portrayal of Mary Poppins was a bit different yet harkened to the familiar. She captured some of the classic looks and facial expressions that we were used to, but also added a little bit of her own flair to the character. There were times however, where some of her looks or quick turn aways seemed harsh and abrupt. But again, she did a wonderful job and her singing and dancing we’re impeccable. Like the original film there are scenes that are unnecessary and only there for us to see a new song and dance, but it’s a musical-what can you do.
By far the best thing about the whole movie is Dick Van Dyke’s appearance. He does a wonderful job and it was the highlight for me. I don’t want to give too much away but we get to see him fully in his element and I think audiences will really enjoy it. Overall I found the movie immensely fun and entertaining. The songs are catchy and I will again be singing along with this film just as I do with the original.
This release not only includes the movie, but also bonus content including deleted scenes, commentary, deleted song, and featurettes taking viewers behind bringing this new chapter in the world of Mary Poppins to life. Take a spoon full of sugar and grab your copy of Mary Poppins Returns hits Digital 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere on March 12th and then on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray March 19th from Disney.