A few decades after her original visit, Mary Poppins, the magical nanny, returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's children through a difficult time in their lives.A few decades after her original visit, Mary Poppins, the magical nanny, returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's children through a difficult time in their lives.A few decades after her original visit, Mary Poppins, the magical nanny, returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's children through a difficult time in their lives.
'Mary Poppins' Cast Give Advice, Get Sequelcalifragilistic
Found myself luckily really enjoying this on the most part after seeing it with my sister. It is not in the same league as, or have the same amount of magic as, 'Mary Poppins', which would have been a tall order in the first place with such enormously high quality to love up to. But on its own merits there were for me a lot of merits and a lot to enjoy for all ages, young and old, male and female. 'Mary Poppins Returns' is imperfect and the magic is not quite there all the way through, but for me the film was not devoid of it and there is a great deal of charm, not a cash grab.
There is not an awful lot of originality to the story, really did appreciate that it tried to be respectful, which is obvious in the numerous nods throughout the film. But structurally there was a sense of over-faithfulness and that it could have felt more like its own story. There were a few draggy stretches and scenes that felt like filler, especially the rather strange and not really needed in hindsight scene with Meryl Streep.
Really like Streep but she and her character were just bizarre and she overdoes the acting, with the character feeling like a going nowhere plot-device practically forgotten about quickly. Confess too to guessing early on everything with the shares.
However, 'Mary Poppins Returns' benefits hugely from looking absolutely wonderful, beautifully shot and with gorgeous nostalgic colours in the production and costume designs that fondly recall 'Mary Poppins'. The animation in the animated sequence shows technological advancement and how a lot of effort was made to show respect to 'Mary Poppins'. Another huge plus is Emily Blunt (closer to PL Travers' vision of Mary Poppins), who is superb and the asset that comes closest to being practically perfect in every way. She is well supported by Lin Manuel Miranda, sporting a not so great accent but immense energy, likeability, charm and a great singing voice (they work wonderfully together too, most obvious in "A Cover is Not the Book"). As well as appealing beyond their years performances from the children (evident in the tense climactic moments of the animated scene), movingly stoic Ben Whishaw and charming Emily Mortimer. Colin Firth is fun, and in the animated sequence his voice work was the standout, Julie Walters is even more of a hoot, and really loved the Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury cameos and a hilariously crusty David Warner. Only Streep didn't work for me.
A lot has been said about the inferiority of the songs. Will say that they are nowhere near the same quality of those in 'Mary Poppins' and are unlikely to become songbook standards. In their own way though, to me they were very pleasant and well composed, the best being "Can You Imagine That" and "Nowhere to Go But Up", both actually very hummable, and the one miss being the completely forgettable and pointless "Turning Turtle". They were also very well staged, neither overblown or static, the standouts being "Nowhere to Go But Up" and "A Cover is Not the Book" (didn't actually find the latter long winded). That for "Can You Imagine That" was very colourful and had immense charm. A highlight too was the Doulton bowl/vaudevillian animated sequence, loved the animation itself and it was just very entertaining and charming with a tense end. Most of the film left me completely gripped, the script had drollness and heart (with some funny moments) and there was an investable emotional impact with the Banks' story without it being cloying. It was hard not to squeal and shed a small tear at the affectionate and nostalgic nods to 'Mary Poppins' peppered throughout the film. This was clearly made by people who loved, or at least had great affection for, 'Mary Poppins', not intent on tarnishing it. It's directed with a loving hand by Rob Marshall and the instrumental score is lush and whimsical.
So all in all, as said, not practically perfect in every way but the magic almost returns. 7/10 Bethany Cox
- Jan 5, 2019