Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns Movie Poster

That night we were invited to Boston for an advanced screening for Mary Poppins Returns which opens everywhere tomorrow! Mary Poppins is a beloved character in our home. Before our very first family trip to Walt Disney World where Eva was old enough to really understand characters we had her watch Mary Poppins. We did this because we were going to have breakfast at the Grand Floridian and meet Mary Poppins along with Tigger and Pooh and Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. But it was really Mary Poppins that we all wanted to see. After Eva watched Mary Poppins for the first time we started a month-long viewing of that movie on repeat. Allison knit Eva a scarf that was the same one that Mary wears at the beginning of the movie. So, when we met Mary Poppins at Disney it was such a magical moment.

Meeting Mary Poppins
May 17, 2009 – Eva meets Mary Poppins for the first time.

Mary was wonderful to Eva, she recognized the scarf immediately and told Eva how much she liked it. Eva was thrilled at meeting Mary Poppins and has had a special place in her heart for the character and the original movie. So, when we were walking up to the theater Eva said, “I am hopeful that this will live up to what I know of Mary Poppins and be a good movie.” My Little movie buff at 11 years old has something that was so special to her in her childhood that she was worried that something new would change that. Luckily, she was not let down by Mary Poppins Returns. She loved it! We all did.

Mary Poppins Returns movie still

The thing for me about this movie was all the cute callbacks and Easter eggs. Some you see in the trailers but there are many, many more within the movie. If you’e watched the original 45 times like I have then you certainly will pick up on them. I also loved the new music. My favorite was a song that Mary and Jack sing at a special place that is animated later in the movie. I loved those special touches that you know that Lin Manuel Miranda added to the song. It had much music reminiscent of the original but was completely new.

Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack, Pixie Davies is Annabel, Nathanael Saleh is John and Joel Dawson is Georgie in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

I adored the animation parts of the movie. There were moments that were reminiscent of movies like 101 Dalmatians, especially a specific chase scene. But there were also moments that were very much like the animated scenes in the original complete with the penguins that we love so much.

Group Mary Poppins Returns

I liked the character of Jack. While he was similar to Bert from the original and they sort of retconned his backstory a bit, I didn’t mind. I liked it and I liked that they were able to work in another very specific occupation into the movie. Bert was able to see so much because he was a Sweep. Jack also can see so much of London because he is a Leerie. The Leeries are the lamplighters around the city of London and like the sweeps they are incredibly talented at singing, dancing and BMX trick. To you recall the big dance number Step in Time from the original where Mary dances with the Sweeps. Well she dances again in this. And she has mad BMX skills. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Mary Poppins and Child

I probably would have to watch the movie several more times to have the songs stuck in my head. We were all singing and humming them last night as we left but today, I can’t tell you the name of any song other than enjoying the song about the book. Seeing Dick Van Dyke in the movie was a treat and while the character of the Balloon Lady is a beloved one from the books and Angela Lansbury pays the character I really thought it would have been cool to see Julie Andrews somewhere in the movie. I know that she wanted this movie to be Emily’s and not to put a shadow on it by appearing. But man, I was really hoping to see her in the movie as some character, like Dick Van Dyke did. While his made sense because of the original, I guess there was no way that Julie Andrews could have been in the movie. Well, there was one other brief moment where I think it would have been cool.

Emily Blunt’s take on the character was excellent. She seemed a bit more thoughtful and observant of the Banks children. There were moments where you see her deeply thinking about what is happening with the family. I just caught many more moments where we see Mary seeing how the children are starting to think differently. Eva was pretty observant when she told me that she noticed Julie Walters was the same woman who played Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. I count that as a win for my daughter being a moviephile like her dad. This was a delightful movie and great for families to enjoy. Even Andrew got caught up in the music and dancing.

That was my take on the movie. Here is more official info on Mary Poppins Returns.

MARY POPPINS RETURNS – WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES

Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” stars Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place,” “The Girl on the Train”) as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn an ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure. In this all new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. The enigmatic nanny is joined by her friend Jack, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”), an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London. “Mary Poppins Returns” is directed by Rob Marshall (“Into the Woods,” “Chicago”). The screenplay is by David Magee (“Life of Pi”) and the screen story is by Magee & Marshall & John DeLuca (“Into the Woods”) based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a., and Marc Platt, p.g.a. (“La La Land”) with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer and the music is by Marc Shaiman (“Hairspray”) with songs by Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”) and Shaiman.

“I was incredibly honored to be approached by Disney about directing a sequel,” says director/producer Rob Marshall. “This is a brand new original film musical from top to bottom, which is very rare, and it is a wonderful opportunity to create something specifically for the screen.”

PL Travers first introduced the world to the no-nonsense nanny in her 1934 children’s book “Mary Poppins.” However, the subsequent adventures of Mary Poppins remained only on the pages of the seven other PL Travers’ books…until now. “Mary Poppins Returns” is drawn from the wealth of material in these additional books. “Mary Poppins Returns” also stars Ben Whishaw (“Spectre”) as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer (“Hugo”) as Jane Banks; Julie Walters (“Harry Potter” films) as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”), Nathanael Saleh (“Game of Thrones”) and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children; with Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy In addition, Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.

The film takes place in 1930s Depression-era London 24 years after the first film was set. Michael Banks works for the same financial institution that employed his father and still lives at 17 Cherry Tree Lane with his three children, Annabel, John and Georgie and their housekeeper Ellen. Carrying on in her mother’s tradition, Jane Banks campaigns for workers’ rights and provides a helping hand to Michael’s family. When the family suffers a personal loss, Mary Poppins magically re-enters their lives and with Jack’s help, brings joy and wonder back into their home.

“’Mary Poppins’ was the first film I saw as a child and it opened my mind up to movies and to the love of musicals and adventure and fantasy in film,” says Marshall. “But this film isn’t just for children….it’s for the child in all of us.”

The award-winning craftsmen comprising the creative team include: director of photography Dion Beebe, ACS, ASC (“Memoirs of a Geisha”); production designer John Myhre (“Chicago”); film editor Wyatt Smith, ACE (“Doctor Strange”); costume designer Sandy Powell (“The Aviator”); make-up and hair designer Peter Swords King (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”); set decorator Gordon Sim (“Chicago”); and production sound mixer Simon Hayes, AMPS, CAS (“Les Misérables”). The film is choreographed by Marshall and DeLuca with Joey Pizzi (“Chicago”) serving as co-choreographer.

Genre: Live-Action Musical

U.S. Release date: December 19, 2018

Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, introducing Joel Dawson with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep

Director: Rob Marshall

Screenplay by: David Magee

Screen Story by: David Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca

Based upon: The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers

Producers: John DeLuca, Rob Marshall, Marc Platt

Executive Producer: Callum McDougall

Songs

Music by: Marc Shaiman

Lyrics by: Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman

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“Mary Poppins Returns” will be released in U.S. theaters on December 19, 2018.

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