One of my most cherished memories from childhood is from one simple day when I was around 7 years old. My mom called me down from my room and when I came to see her in the living room, I saw a blanket spread out with an assortment of snacks all around. She told me we were going to watch one of her favorite movies, Mary Poppins.
Ever since that fateful first viewing , I’ve been obsessed with Mary Poppins. I’ve seen almost every “behind the scenes” clip, I know all the words to every song, and I’ve even read some of the actual P.L Travers’ books. I’m a superfan, and unapologetic about it.
So, when I heard about the plan for a Mary Poppins sequel, I was immediately skeptical. It’s such a classic, and it works so well on its own! But, I kept my doubts to myself and waited to actually see the movie.
Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake. Instead, it shows the Banks children from the original all grown up and having troubles. After losing his wife and almost his house, adult Michael is in need of some help, and in comes Mary Poppins. There to take care of his children, she shows them how to appreciate life in a brand new, exciting way.
Emily Blunt’s performance as Poppins was practically perfect. She excellently captures the stern-yet subtly-sweet character that Julie Andrews defined in the original. Blunt has a beautiful singing voice and has great chemistry with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays opposite her as Jack. Miranda seems like he’s straight from the 20’s with everything he does in the film. He fits so perfectly in this movie that it’s weird to see him rapping Hamilton the next day,
But my favorite part about it wasn’t the acting, the plot, or even the music. It was the art. The first five or so minutes of the film were the opening credits, which I haven’t seen in a movie in a very long time. They were absolutely beautiful, I would even say breathtaking. It was reminiscent of Bert’s sidewalk drawings in the original, with muted colors and simple landscapes that found a way to incorporate so much detail. I found myself not looking at the names that were displayed in front of me, but the background of the intricate artwork. The artists really outdid themselves on this.
The most transcendent moments in the new film were when the art merged with the story of the film. My favorite scene took place in the Banks children’s vase where they meet tons of animated creatures while Mary and Jack sing a bouncy duet. The penguins from the original movie make an appearance and they’re still just as cute. (Fun Fact: The penguins in this are completely hand drawn as an homage to the original!) Again, the art is beautiful. My eyes kept bouncing around the screen trying to see everything I could; purple dancing elephants, chickens in suits, and turtles with canes, you name it! You can really see how much love was put into the scene, and the entire film.
I’m glad that I gave the film a chance because I loved it. But, I still won’t say that it was better than the original. Some of the songs seemed like throwaways that lacked the heart of the original score. I would have also liked to see more Emily Blunt in it, seeing as she is the titular character. But still, it was a fun movie that made me feel like a kid again
And if I could use one word to describe it all, it’s be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.