Mary Poppins Returns (**** four and a half stars)
conducted for Currents and awchamburg.org
- Opening: December 20
- USA 2018
- Directed by: Rob Marshall
- Writing Credits: David Magee
- Principal Actors: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer,
Disney is taking us back to Cherry Tree Lane, where the mischievous Jane and Michael Banks were scaring away one nanny after the other, until Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way, came along and taught not only the children, but the adults, what family is all about.
In this Disney masterpiece’s sequel, we are set about 25 years after Mary Poppins left Jane and Michael Banks, flying off with her magical attire, once the wind had changed.
Today, the Banks children are all grown up, Michael (Ben Whishaw) has children of his own, and Jane (Emily Mortimer) is an independent woman living by herself. One year after Michael’s wife had died, he finds himself in deep money trouble. Seems like the perfect time for good ol’ Mary (Emily Blunt) to come back descending from the clouds with her talking umbrella to once again help the Banks family. Together with her old friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), the friendly street lamplighter, Mary Poppins takes the new generation of Banks children on yet another adventure that again, won’t just help the children, but will show the adults, how wonderful life can be.
This powerful musical pops with colors, adventures and memorable songs that may not quite reach up to the classics “a spoon full of sugar” or the magnificent “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, yet do not need to shy away from comparison. However, there is nothing to compare anyway. Though the narrative pattern is close to the original, it presents a whole new spin on Mary Poppin’s Adventures, who even rocks a Bob. Thanks to Emily Blunt who makes this magical Nanny her all-own Mary, we almost forget about Julie Andrews and her spoons of sugars and such nonsense.
Colorful and exciting for children, this film is actually for the grown-ups. For those who watched Mary Poppins as a child and loved it, and as adults are painfully aware that life does not get easier when you get older. You worry more, there is more to worry about and you cannot seem to overcome the longing for the innocent happiness you believed that you had lost long ago.
Beautiful and practically perfect in every way.