Those of us who were children in the 1960s will have strong, and in my case very fond, memories of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, so when it was announced that a new film was going to be made I was a little anxious about how it would turn out. Once Emily Blunt was cast as the lead I relaxed a bit, and began to be excited about seeing the film.
And before I go into more detail, I am pleased to be able to say that it is really lovely and charming and highly entertaining.
Mary Poppins Returns is set in the Depression, several decades after the original, with the Banks children all grown up. Jane has followed her mother into political activism (hands up anyone who’d forgotten that Mrs Banks was a Suffragette) and Michael is a recent widower with three children, a job in the bank at which his father worked, and financial difficulties which may lead to the loss of the family home.
Cue the arrival of Mary Poppins.
If the original film was all about saving Mr Banks (and if you haven’t seen that film with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks then you really should), then MP Returns is definitely about saving Michael. I will fight anyone who says it isn’t.
It is fair to say (as others already have) that this is less of a sequel and more an exercise in revisiting the original film. Not sure?
- Non-cockney Cockney? Check.
- Cartoon sequence? Check.
- Really good songs? Absolutely, though only time will tell if they will last as long as, for example, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or A Spoonful of Sugar. But let’s give it time.
- Lessons to be learned even in the middle of surreal situations? Yep.
Everyone will rightly talk about Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda but for me, Ben Whishaw was one of the best things in the movie. The children were also excellent and there were some very enjoyable cameos. And a special shout-out to Colin Firth’s moustache which made me very suspicious from the outset as to his intentions.
Mary Poppins Returns was clearly made by people who actually love the original. It looks very familiar but also totally fresh and really manages to retain the spirit of the original film. And has made me want to re-read the books.
Highly recommended; it’s super.
Dazzling details: directed by Rob Marshall, MPR is 130 minutes long and rated U for everyone if you are OK with very mild threat. I feel I may have said this recently about something else….