I saw Mary Poppins Returns with my son many weeks ago now, and had so many things to say about it. In fact, my husband told our friends that he hadn’t seen me so jazzed about a non-Marvel movie in many months. I hadn’t realized until he said that, that it was the soundtrack that had me so excited to see it again. But that’s a whole different story…
Remember when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out? It seemed to me that people who saw it shortly after it was released fell into two camps. One was super annoyed that it was essentially a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope… and the other thought it was absolutely everything they wanted, because it was essentially a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope.
I think that fans of the original Mary Poppins film may fall into similar camps. For me, every time an element of story came and went that was reminiscent of the first, I fell more and more in love with this film.
For every chimney sweep dance number and usage of reverse psychology on a nanny’s charges in the first, there was leery BMX choreography and more reverse psychology. For every lullaby Julie Andrews sang to Jane and Michael, there was a beautifully similar scene in which Emily Blunt sang to Georgie, Annabelle, and John.
A scene inside a Royal Daulton bowl mimicked the chalk drawing scene; kids behaved “badly” in banks; most of the credits even came in the form of an opening title sequence on beautiful watercolor backgrounds.
And for every review I read that questioned the scene with Meryl Streep (as Cousin Topsy) and whether or not it belonged in the movie, I wanted to scream “DID YOU SEE THE ORIGINAL?! IT’S A KOOKY RELATIVE ON THE CEILING… WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED?” ::shrug:: Besides, Topsy was delightful. Much more so than Colin Firth, who I most definitely prefer as (either) Mr. Darcy. Or basically anyone who isn’t a villain.
On the Graham Norton show, Lin Manuel Miranda geeked out over a sudden recognition of familiar melodies buried in great new musical numbers, and all I could think was, “How, Mr. Uber-Talented-at-All -Things-Musical, did you JUST notice that? It’s literally the second thing I wrote in my notes during the screening.” Perhaps I’ve missed my calling? Probably not.
Speaking of Lin-Manuel, Jack stole mine and my kids’ hearts. He was endearing from start to finish. In an interview, he said that everyone involved wanted this one to “rhyme”, so to speak, with the original. I thought that was a lovely way to put it, and when Dick Van Dyke himself says that he felt the same spirit of the original when he walked on the set, I’d say they succeeded.
Director Rob Marshall said, “It’s our love letter to the original film.” He explained that Mary Poppins had been “in [the creative team’s] blood” since they were toddlers. He continued that as much as a priest or rabbi or pastor brings a new light or new moments to a message a congregation has heard before – yet in doing so they do not change the religion – this is simply a new light for Mary. And in my opinion, she looks beautiful in it.
I think the original Mary Poppins film is lovely. It’s absolutely, without a doubt, a rare gem. I will mourn the days that Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews leave us, and neither had a more iconic role, in my opinion, than that of Bert and Mary Poppins. But if I’m truly honest, there have been plenty of times in my life that the movie – if only intermittently and momentarily – felt a little long.
I said the character of Jack was endearing, but the reality? Everything was. My six-year-old was totally enthralled from start to finish – and it’s a long movie. Heck, this consummate multi-tasker (addict) didn’t look at her watch one time – and that’s saying something, since it’s another claim to fame that only movies in the MCU can usually make. When we saw it a second time, we were still both absolutely captivated – as were my daughters and my mother.
We have listened to the soundtrack more than any other movie in recent years, with the exception perhaps of Moana. The casting was phenomenal.
I wouldn’t say that I wanted to dislike Mary Poppins Returns, only that I “knew” I would. When we watched it the first time I kept waiting, scene after scene – and quite likely over analyzing everything – for the thing that would make the sequel disappointing. Such a thing never came. I’m not suggesting the movie is perfect; almost no movie is, save for maybe Inside Out. 🙂 It is, however, practically perfect in every way.
Perhaps this will get me kicked out of some Disney circles when people read too much into it, but I’m going to say it anyway–
This is the Mary Poppins movie for a new generation – but not just my kids’ generation; it’s for mine, too. Emily Blunt was never once Julie Andrews, but somehow she was every bit the next Mary Poppins. I didn’t know I needed a next one (and will never stop loving the original)… but I truly believe that this is our Mary Poppins film.
Take home Mary Poppins Returns on digital, DVD, BluRay, and 4K Ultra HD BluRay today!