TL;DR – This is a film with two halves, the beautiful story of a family coming together in the face of a crisis with the help of Mary Poppins, but also a story about how it is individuals and not big corporations that are bad … from Disney … umm
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Mary Poppins is a movie that is quite dear to me. When I was a child it was one of those films that we would watch as a family on a Saturday night. I honestly I was not really all that on board with the remake/sequel hybrid film all the trailers seemed to imply that we were about to get. As well as this, I am starting to get a little tired of Disney’s ‘Weaponised Nostalgia Era’. Well, that is what I thought walking in, but then a wave of joy enveloped my life leaving a smile on my face and tears rolling down my face.
So to set the scene, it has been a number of years since the first film and the Banks’ children have grown up. Michael (Ben Whishaw) is, well was, a painter, who married and had three lovely children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) before his wife tragically died. This has understandably sent ripples through the family, made all the worse when there is a knock on the door and we discover that the bank is foreclosing on the house because Michael has fallen behind paying back a loan, the same bank his father helped run, and the same bank he currently works for. Well, the whole family, including his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) helps to look for their father’s shares in the bank in the last ditch effort in saving the house, when who should appear at the end of a kite, none other than Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) herself.
a film like this to work, you need to be
100% on board with whatever is happening and the first thing that helps with
this is the cast. Goodness does this film have an amazing cast, starting right
at the top with Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. In her performance she both evokes
the amazing Julie Andrews but also completely stamps her own performance on the
iconic role. Add to this the fact that she has to both sing and dance and well everything,
and it is really impressive. Full respect to the child actors that have to do a
lot of the emotional heavy lifting, including in sequences that were shot on
greenscreen, and that is hard for long time actors to pull off convincingly. Colin
Firth is going full camp as the evil bank owner who is evil because … profits,
I think, it is not made clear why he wants the house at all. Also, I am always
here for Ben Whishaw, and he doesn’t disappoint.
Because this is a Mary Poppins film, it does mean that there will be a number of song and dance numbers and every single one of them hits the right note. You have opera sequences inside the rim of a porcelain pot or a song after diving into a bath. In many of these occasions, you have the use of animation to bring the world alive, and it is just as good as it was to see the dancing penguins today as it was all those years ago. Though it is interesting that Disney of all studios had to outsource the 2D animation to another studio. My favourite song has to be the end one, which I won’t go into because of spoilers, but it hit the right emotional note, and I was in awe as I watched.
I did have such a good time, you couldn’t help but see some of the moving pieces
going on under the surface. As much as it is billed as a sequel, and indeed bar
a couple of hints in the musical score they are all new songs. It follows the
exact same plot beats as the first film, down to the order and type of songs.
As well as this, some of the casting choices, were odd, like did Meryl Streep
actually add anything to the film, and also there was a moment where it was
clear that the filmmakers had intended it to be Julie Andrews cameo that didn’t
happen. Finally, much like the first film, Mary
Poppins Returns is exploring social commentary, this time the replacing the
suffragette movement with workers’ rights. Focusing in on how big evil banks
are only after profits, not the social good.
Which all sounds kind of rich coming from one of the world’s largest corporations,
which does not have the rosiest history when it comes to the same issues.
In the end, do we recommend Mary Poppins Returns? Yes, yes we do. While there were a couple of choices in the film’s direction that made me go ‘really …’ None of that pales in comparison to what a beautiful fun joyful time I have with it. With this film (and many others) Emily Blunt has shown that she is amazing in any genre you put her in, and well I can’t wait to see what she does next.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Mary Poppins Returns
Directed by – Rob Marshall
Story by – David Magee, Rob Marshall & John DeLuca
Screenplay by – David Magee
Based on – Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
Music & Songs by – Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman
Cinematography by – Dion Beebe
Edited by – Dion Beebe
Starring – Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Karen Dotrice, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, David Warner, Jim Norton, Jeremy Swift, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Noma Dumezweni, Sudha Bhuchar, Steve Nicolson, Tarik Frimpong, Edward Hibbert, Chris O’Dowd & Mark Addy
Rating – Australia: G; Canada: G; Germany: 0; New Zealand: G; United Kingdom: U; United States: PG