Okay, I might be a little late in the game, but I finally got around to seeing Mary Poppins Returns this past weekend! I don’t know about you, but it is so difficult for me to find time to go to the movies when the holidays are happening. We have 3 different families we need to visit for Christmas, several New Year’s Eve parties, and a New Year’s Day party. Plus I don’t get the days in between Christmas and New Year’s off (I worked during the day on New Year’s Eve) so time just disappeared!
But we finally got around to it and I’m so glad we did, but I enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns a lot. I’d been having a particularly bad day the day before/that day, and it was just the sort of feel-good movie I needed to get myself in better spirits.
I might be the perfect person to see and enjoy this movie because I’m a fan of Mary Poppins and enjoyed the first one, but not a die-hard fan who might get upset at what they “do to it” or someone else playing the part. In my opinion this movie captures the feel and the energy of the first one perfectly. It has a very similar style to much of the animation, the dialogue feels familiar, the music is in the right style, and the story is weird and wonderful.
This one takes place once the Banks children have grown up. Michael has 3 children himself and recently lost his wife about a year ago. His sister, Jane, stops in to help him when she can. But when Michael finds himself owing the bank money or else losing his house, it’s time for Mary Poppins to appear and work her magic. And of course she needs a cheeky cockney sidekick, so here’s Jack! (He’s a lamp lighter though, not a chimney sweep).
The music is great, one of those musicals where I immediately had to look up the soundtrack afterward and start listening to it in the car on the way home. The highlights for me was “The Cover is Not a Book” (featuring both a fun song and a semi-rap segment done by Lin-Manuel Miranda). “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” and “Nowhere to Go But Up.”
The things that happen in the movie are totally weird, and they don’t really make sense when you think about it – but that’s exactly the sort of magic captured in the first movie too. A nanny sliding up the banister, traveling to another land through chalk drawings, having a tea party on the ceiling… it’s all here in different ways (this time we go onto a china vase rather than into a drawing, and we meet Mary’s cousin whose house is literally flipped upsidedown every second Wednesday). It’s sweet and fun.
I’ve heard plenty of people say “no one is Julie Andrews.” And that’s true, but I really thought Emily Blunt was very bit Mary Poppins as Andrews was. She captured the character completely and yes, she’s “practically perfect in every way.” Mary Poppins is a complex character and I feel like Blunt got all of the nuances to her just right.
There’s nothing not to love about Lin Manuel Miranda as Jack, with his lovable character, his singing, and his dancing. Meryl Streep has a cameo as Mary’s crazy cousin, and while I thought she did a good job it was one of the lesser parts of the movie for me (though that’s not to say it was bad – just so much else stood out!). I loved Angela Lansbury’s song at the end. The three children are precocious and talented actors/singers. Everyone else in the movie does a fine job.
The ending ties back into the original in such a beautiful way that even though Jason felt it was “ridiculous,” I couldn’t imagine anything better. And of course Dick Van Dyke’s appearance was amazing and wonderful!
Mary Poppins Returns was a movie that I came out of the theater just smiling and happy, and to me that makes it practically perfect in every way.
Did you see Mary Poppins Returns? What did you think?