I had to. Watching ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ gave me the itch to re-watch ‘Mary Poppins’ and, well, here I am.
MP: Mary Poppins comes to London in 1910 to put the Banks family to rights.
MPR: Mary Poppins comes to London in 1935 to put the Banks family to rights.
MP: What more can be said about Julie Andrews? She is truly, like Mary Poppins herself, ‘practically perfect in every way’. And the fact that ‘Mary Poppins’ was her first film role is even more impressive. She brings a sweetness and charm to the character of Mary Poppins that wasn’t in the book. So, points off for inaccuracy to the book, but points on for what really is a marvelous performance. (And there is a lot of Book Mary Poppins in Julie Andrews’ portrayal.)
MPR: I think everyone was a wee bit skeptical that anyone could step into Julie Andrews’ shoes. But you know what? Emily Blunt didn’t even try. She went back to the books, she conferred with Rob Marshall (and her own fabulous acting instincts) and played Mary Poppins close to the book and close to everyone’s hearts. There were so many moments through ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ when I was almost crying because “YES. That’s my Mary Poppins!”
The Other Characters
MP: Everyone is so memorable in this film. The Banks family, Bert, Admiral Boom (why does every name start with a ‘B’?), Ellen, Cook, Uncle Albert…it’s truly delightful. Re-watching ‘Mary Poppins’ was like coming back to very old, very dear friends. Mrs. Banks is an interesting mixture of defiance and decorum, Jane and Michael are The Best Child Actors, and even though I don’t particularly care for Bert, he adds a unique flavor to the film that I couldn’t do without.
MPR: Thank goodness the actors for John, Annabel, and Georgie weren’t awful. That would have probably (mostly) ruined the movie. But they were darling. Michael and Jane are sweethearts, Colin Firth’s character (name?) is a pretty good villain…and then there’s Jack. I like that they didn’t give him a romance with Mary Poppins (like she had with Bert, kind of) because I believe she’s ‘above’ romance in a way? I mean, she’s basically immortal and Not Of This World. But the little sparks between Jack and Jane made me so happy.
The Awful British Accent
MP: This is more a gag category, but…Dick van Dyke’s accent is truly awful. And it slips up quite a bit, especially when he’s singing. Definitely not a fan. 😛
MPR: And then there’s Lin. You can tell he’s faking it, but it’s not as over the top/grating. So that’s nice.
MP: The Sherman brothers outdid themselves with the songs for ‘Mary Poppins’. It was their first time writing allll the songs for a big Disney musical and they knocked it out of the park. Pretty much every song in ‘Mary Poppins’ has entered common usage – stuff like “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” and “chim chim cher-ee” – and the songs themselves are so catchy you can’t help but love them. And then, of course, there’s ‘Feed the Birds’, which was one of Walt Disney’s favorite song and which always makes me tear up.
MPR: The songs that I heard from ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ before watching the movie didn’t thrill me. (Except for ‘Trip a Little Light Fantastic’, which I saw a clip of and was promptly blown away.) But after seeing them in their proper context and getting the story/emotions behind them…I love almost every one. ‘The Place Where the Lost Things Go’ is actually more meaningful to me than ‘Feed the Birds’ and I love, love, love ‘A Cover is Not the Book’ (#bookworm). My little brother’s favorite song is ‘A Conversation’, which I think is a little weird. But I just go with it.
(Incidentally, HUGE shout-out to Marc Shaiman for creating an Overture that sounds like it came straight from 60’s Disney musical.)
MP: ‘Jolly Holiday’ and ‘I Love to Laugh’ are entwined with two unforgettable Mary Poppins adventures. Personally, I think that the whole chalk drawing sequence drags on for too long but the song is catchy and the visuals are nice, so I don’t mind it too much. The tea party on the ceiling (sounds like something out of Wonderland) makes me grin…because everyone else (except Mary Poppins) is laughing so much.
MPR: I really don’t care for the bath adventure or the Cousin Topsy adventure. They just don’t do anything for me. What I do like, however, is the whole Royal Doulton sequence. I think it’s really cool how they’re ‘in China’ (lol) and all the risks that has with it. And both songs in that sequence are lots of fun and very energetic. (Plus, it adds to the plot because Certain Events help the children to see through Colin Firth’s character later on.)
The Emotional Pull
MP: This is going to sound a bit weird, but most of the parts I find emotional in ‘Mary Poppins’ are because of ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. That movie made me love ‘Mary Poppins’. It’s kind of hard to admit that I didn’t like it before that, but I watched it so many times as a child that I was sick of it. (Until ‘Saving’.) That being said, I dare you not to tear up at ‘Feed the Birds’ or ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ (which was the one part I always unequivocally loved).
MPR: *deep breaths* THIS MOVIE. The nostalgia made me cry, the extremely poignant subplot of Michael grieving for Kate made me cry, ‘Lost Things’ made me cry…I was a mess by the end of the film. Though there were definitely parts that made me laugh and there were a lot of happy tears (far less than sad tears). ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ hit a chord inside me. It’s a part of my heart now and I love that.
MP: Mr. Banks MENDS THE KITE. And starts singing and dancing with his children! And everyone is so happy and joyful and, uh, kite-flying-y. ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ is one of the most triumphant, awesome Disney songs ever and it provides the perfect capstone to the story.
MPR: I can see what they were trying to do. They were trying to capture the wonder and excitement of the first film’s ending. Having Angela Lansbury there, having everyone floating in the air, Jack following Jane…it was all super sweet. But I think ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ is the better song and a better scene, overall.
(LOVE how Michael’s like “I’ll start feeding the birds and go fly a kite” because yasssss.)
So, what’s my favorite Mary Poppins film?
‘Saving Mr. Banks’.
That really is the truest answer I can give you because I can’t choose between ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (and I like ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ better than both). They’re each quite perfect in their own way. So please don’t ask me to choose.
However…do you have a favorite of the two? (Or three, if we’re including ‘Saving Mr. Banks’?)