Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.
Going into ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, I was hopeful but leery (pun not intended, I promise – I only caught that when I was proofreading this post). The critics weren’t kind to this movie. They labeled it dull, joyless, boring, and an unworthy successor to the original film. Even the more positive reviews did little more than bestow faint, somewhat withering praise on the film.
But I had to see for myself.
And, well, I LOVED IT.
Everyone was perfectly cast. I was pretty excited to see Lin as Jack (it blows my mind that little kids will grow up with Lin the way I grew up with Dick Van Dyke) but it was Emily Blunt that really blew me away. She’s not imitating Julie Andrews. She is playing a character – the character. Mary Poppins herself. I was on the fence about her performance for about two sec- Forget that. I was never on the fence. From the moment she sailed out of the sky holding onto the kite she was my Mary Poppins.
Ben Whishaw was another delightful surprise. He’s rather adorable but he also brought such emotional depth to Michael. Left me in tears several times. Jane was AWESOME (following in her mom’s footsteps by fighting for people’s rights). I ship her and Jack so hard. And the three children – Annabel, John, and Georgie – were delightful and worthy successors to (of? for?) Jane and Michael.
Seeing Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, and Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks’s actress from the original movie) was a delight – especially Dick Van Dyke. I never even really liked him as Bert (the accent! the horror!) but, man, the nostalgia was real. Plus, it’s super impressive that he’s in his nineties and still singing and dancing and acting.
And let’s talk about the nostalgia. It was real. Very real. From Karen Dotrice’s character saying “Many thanks, sincerely” to THAT STORY ABOUT MICHAEL’S TUPPENCE I CAN’T EVEN (many tears, you guys) to the kite and “We are still not a codfish”…ahhhhh. Loved it. And all the instrumental versions of the original songs on the soundtrack. I think they hit every song from ‘Mary Poppins’ and it was definitely ‘Feed the Birds’ that I loved the best.
And speaking of songs…I thought they were perfect. ‘A Cover is Not the Book’, ‘Trip a Little Light Fantastic’, and ‘The Place Where the Lost Things Go’ were my favorites but I loved almost all of them. Except ‘Turning Turtle’. That whole scene weirded me out. I didn’t LOVE the songs the first time I watched the movie but they’ve been running through my head since the second viewing. Which has to mean they’re pretty great.
If I were writing the screenplay I would have cut out the bath sequence entirely. I would also have cut out ‘Turning Turtle’ and have had Cousin Topsy come along into the Royal Doulton bowl when they took it to her (and that’s when the bowl would have opened up for the children and Jack and Mary Poppins). I just didn’t like the bathtub scene or ‘Turning Turtle’ – they didn’t add much to the story, in my opinion – and I would have liked the movie better if they’d been cut.
But besides all that, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is a fantastic movie. There were so many delightful, quotable lines. So many memorable scenes. So much joy.
Though it was also very emotional. I came into the movie with all the emotional baggage of losing a parent and watching ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ (NOT the same level of emotional wounds, but ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ does do things to my heart) so there were several parts that made me cry. But everything ends in a wonderfully, blissfully happy way so it was all good.
Have you seen ‘Mary Poppins Returns’? What do you think of it?