Movie Review – ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I’ve recently seen the film ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ at the cinema with my parents and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Beforehand, I’d seen the original 1964 film of ‘Mary Poppins’ starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke on Christmas Eve via BBC One. I’m glad I saw that before watching this special movie!

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is of course a sequel to ‘Mary Poppins’. It took them 54 years to make a sequel to ‘Mary Poppins’ then. I’m not sure why they needed to make a sequel since the original film was fine on its own. But nevertheless, the sequel got made and it seems to be well-received already.

The film is set 25 years after the events of the original film. So we’re in 1930s London during the Great Depression…or ‘the great slump’. Michael and Jane Banks are adults now. Michael is a widower with three children and Jane is a labour activist helping Michael’s family during a hard time.

Soon, Mary Poppins ‘returns’ (as the title states 😀 ) to be the nanny of Michael’s children, Annabel; John and Georgie. Whilst Mary Poppins looks after the three children, Michael might soon lose the house the Banks family has lived in. Can Mary Poppins help the Banks family in rescuing their house?

The film stars Emily Blunt in the title role of Mary Poppins. I found Emily Blunt to be ‘practically perfect’ in the role. She manages to echo some of the original performance of Julie Andrews whilst also adding her own spin on the character, making her seem to be superior whilst also kind-hearted.

There’s also a sense of fun in Emily Blunt’s performance as Mary Poppins as well as being an observer and possibly a manipulator in helping the lives of Michael and Jane Banks as well as the Banks children. The magic essence of Mary Poppins shines throughout in Emily Blunt’s performance!

What I’ve noticed about this film in comparing it to the original is that it captures some of the nostalgic feel of the original whilst also adding something new. This is especially in the songs and music performed in the film. The songs are mostly original and new. There aren’t any old songs sung.

I was hoping that maybe ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ and ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ might have been performed, but at least the tunes for the songs are performed in the incidental music by Marc Shaiman. I could definitely hear ‘Feed The Birds’ performed during the musical score with one scene.

There are some of the new original songs that I liked in the film such as ‘Can You Imagine That?’; ‘The Place Where Lost Things Go’ and ‘Trip a Little Light Fantastic’. I suppose these songs will catch on over time just like the songs in the original ‘Mary Poppins’ have been able to catch on over time.

The film has a 2-D cartoon animated sequence in the film just like in the original. I’m not joking! Instead of CGI, they actually did a cartoon scene like the original film. That’s nostalgic! Except it’s not inside a painting on a street pavement! For this movie, it’s on the outside of a ‘priceless’ china bowl.

I wouldn’t say the cartoon animated sequence for ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is as good as in the original. But it was fun to see and a nice nod to the original with Mary Poppins, Jack and the three children in fitting costumes for the scene. They even had the dancing penguins from the original. 😀

As well as Emily Blunt, there’s Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, who is a cockney lamplighter and a former apprentice of Bert from the original film. Honestly I would’ve have had Jack as the son of Bert from the original film. Jack’s playing the Bert role that Dick Van Dyke played in the original. Why not?

There’s Ben Whishaw, who voiced Paddington Bear in ‘Paddington’ and ‘Paddington 2’ and was in ‘Suffragette’ apparently, as Michael Banks, now a part-time teller at Fidelity-Fiduciary Bank where his father worked. There is also the lovely Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, Michael’s sister in the film.

The three children include Pixie Davies as Annabel Banks; Nathanael Saleh as John Banks and Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks. The three children are very good in the film, playing opposite Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins. Georgie is the child-like of the three whilst Annabel and John seem grown-up.

There’s Julie Walters as Ellen, Michael and Jane’s long-time housekeeper. Ellen was in the original film. Yikes, she’s lasted this long?! She didn’t seem surprised when Mary Poppins came up the stair-rail and said “Hello”. She just said “Hello” and carried on with her work. Where was the double-take?

Colin Firth stars as William ‘Weatherall’ Wilkins, the villainous president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank where Michael works and wants the Banks out of their home. There’s also Meryl Streep as Topsy, an eccentric cousin of Mary Poppins who has an upside-down shop in London. Yeah! She’s topsy-turvy!

David Warner stars as Admiral Boom in the film. I’ve met David Warner in real-life at conventions! It was nice to see him on the big screen here! 😀 In fact, I believe it’s the same Admiral Boom character from the original character. Yikes he’s still alive after all this time. Jim Norton plays Mr. Binnacle, Admiral Boom’s first mate in the film. Jim Norton was in ‘Star Trek: TNG’ and the sitcom ‘Father Ted’.

But of course, the biggest star of the movie is Mr. Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr. who comes in and saves the day at the end. I wondered when Dick Van Dyke was going to turn up and when he did it was amazing. He can still dance after all that time! Even my parents were surprised to see him so fit!

There’s also a special appearance of Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady. Apparently the Balloon Lady was in the original novels of ‘Mary Poppins’ by P.L. Travers. She didn’t appear in the original film and it was intriguing to see how she knew Mary Poppins and had balloons for people to fly high.

As you can tell, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ was a highlight to watch at the cinema for me and my parents. I’m saddened Julie Andrews didn’t get a cameo in the film like Dick Van Dyke did. But overall, I found the whole film pretty enjoyable that’s full of nostalgia as well as some new elements.

Emily Blunt shines as the title character and the performances from the rest of the cast have been great. This is definitely a live-action Disney film that’s been worth waiting for. I’m sure my parents and I will be going to see this film again sometime soon at the cinema or else have it on DVD/Blu-ray.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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