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Almost Practically Perfect in Every Way

In a world where new movies are just sequels and book adaptations, Mary Poppins Returns is... both?


In a world where new movies are just sequels and book adaptations, Mary Poppins Returns is... both?

The fun loving, magical somewhat of a narcissistic nanny, Mary Poppins, takes flight again in "Mary Poppins Returns." Mary, played by Emily Blunt, yet again comes to the Banks house to help an overworked father find the importance in family and get the children to see the love and joy in childhood again.

  • IMDB

Where they went wrong

"Mary Poppins Returns" is the book adaptation of P. L. Travers', ‘’Mary Poppins Comes Back.’’ Travers, who died in 1996, hated the original "Mary Poppins" of 1964. The biggest complaint from Travers was Julie Andrews, who she thought was too pretty and sweet for her character. Now Blunt plays Poppins and brings an instinctual sharpness about her—which Travers might have liked, but you probably won't.

Mary Poppins, at least to children 10 and older, will most likely be Julie Andrews. Andrews gives us a strict but sweet disposition and presence of gracefulness in every step and word. Blunt, an amazing actress and certainly looks the part, will never be Andrews. Before you go see the movie you can't expect it to be the kind sequel we're used to. Movies like the "Incredibles 2" and "Finding Dory" take place soon after the first movie ends, and since they're animated, they show no gap when watching them.

This Mary Poppins is different—taking place in the 1930s, 20 years after the first movie is set and with a 54-year gap between production. Actors had to be changed, making it feel like a remake with a slightly different plot.

When watching this movie, it's hard to decide whether you hate or love the darker side of the reality it shows. The plot is driven by the Banks family loan needing to be paid in full and the family scrambling to find the money. On top of that, Michael’s wife, Kate, died earlier that year, which not only drives a wedge into the family, but forces the children to grow up a little too fast. Poppins flies in to save the day, but not without letting the children fully experience the danger of trust. It's not scary enough to avoid letting your children see it, though, it is more realistic than the first.

Where they went right

Disney is known for its amazing dance numbers, on point animation, and of course its catchy tunes that will ring in your household till the next princess movie comes out. ‘Poppins’ is no exception, with magical song and dance numbers like, “Can You Imagine That?’’ where Mary and the children swim in their bathtub, meet dolphins and find gold. As well as “A Cover is Not a Book,’’ where Mary and Jack, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, sing about how people and books are not always as they seem. A lesson for the audience and little Georgie, played by Joel Dawson—who steals the show with his adorable voice and stellar acting.

Mary Poppins’ entrance was absolutely as we would expect it to be, as she emerges from the clouds holding no other than a tail of kite. This showed the mysterious awe of her being in full motion and gave an impressive first impression for the Banks children.

Throughout the course of the movie we also get amazing nuggets nodding to the first movie. Keep your eyes peeled for the blocks from the nursery, the snow globe from “Feed the Birds’’ and Mary’s talking umbrella. Make sure to listen for quotes like “Spit Spot’’ or “Codfish.” These Easter eggs will tickle keen listeners pink and make the movie feel like it can appease new watchers and old.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s casting was spot on. Unlike Mary Poppins, Burt does age and his character was not in the movie. But Jack, his apprentice, is grown and is just like his old pal Burt. Weird accent and all, Burt's character shines through Jack and gives us more reason to love this movie. Miranda’s seasoned skills in dancing and singing shine though in his performance. Not only that, but we get to see him fall in love with Jane Banks; which gives a hopeful satisfaction that we didn’t get from Burt and Mary in the first movie.

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We get to see cameos from all different kinds of actors in this movie including a scene with Meryl Streep. Streep plays Cousin Topsy ,who apparently shares a similar affliction with Poppins, as every second Wednesday Topsy’s world turns upside down. Similarly, Poppins requires every second Tuesday off—though we don’t know what for—but seeing a glance into Topsy's world may give us a hint towards Poppins'.

We also get a thrilling cameo from Dick Van Dyke who plays Mr. Dawes Jr., and wows us with dancing and singing. Van Dyke turned 93 this December and didn’t let that stop him from climbing atop a desk and doing a jig. Andrews turned down her cameo invitation to avoid distraction from Blunt’s performance.

“Mary Poppins Returns” is another one for the charts, racking in $4.8 million opening day. This magical wonderland movie will not disappoint. As Disney does best, it will certainly leave you crying tears of joy and sadness for your childhood.

Rating: B+

See it at Regal Cinemas Old Mill, Redmond Cinema, Sisters Movie House

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