Years ago, the nanny that changed everything charmed her way into the theaters, bringing song and dance to her teachings as he helped sculpt family lives. It was a wonderful movie that shed so much joy and wonder to the families who gave it a try. Decades later, the mystical nanny has decided to return once more, in hopes of bringing the same magic to the mix. Will her resurgence bring the same joy and whimsy, or has her relevance blown over too many generations to warrant the same quality? Welcome to Robbie’s movie reviews as I take on:
Movie: Marry Poppins Returns (2018)
Acting: While no one can replace the lovely Julie Andrews, it does not mean that Blunt has not done wonders with the character. Still holding the same nostalgic quality, the new Mary Poppins has a little more edge, sass, and a wonderful balance of love that is quite endearing to see with her cast mates. Lin-Manuel as well adds his own fun to the crew, bringing his theatrical qualities to the character of Bert. Nostalgic enough to have that same childish demeanor, but different to stand out, his musical skills were quite welcome to the mix. And as for the rest of the crew, they all do a bang-up job of adding to the film, and the young cast of the Banks kids are well directed to avoid being the annoying twerps these roles can be.
The Numbers: Mary Poppins was all about bringing the energetic numbers that would forever ingrain themselves in the music hall of fame. With her return, Mary once more brought the energy back to the screen, utilizing Miranda’s talents well to once more bring the showmanship of the theater. This film is filled with the magical song and dance routines made famous in the first film and will have the young and young at heart dancing in their seats. Each of these numbers accomplished the goal of being resident, and in true musical fashion was able to portray their inner feelings and lessons. A wonderful ensemble of songs awaits the audience members, and holds great potential to become that new song to be repeated a thousand times.
The Story: Thank the idea of nostalgia, or thank the director because the return of Mary Poppins brings with it a charming delight that holds both old and new motifs in its well-timed shots. Lessons for all generations lie the nanny’s wisdom, utilizing a variety of worlds and settings to help the Banks family find their way in the harsh London streets Much of the story contains nods to the original plot, while others hold something new and exciting in their powerful sequences. In addition, there is enough nod to other characters to establish the fate of the various characters, while also being original to stand on its own. Regardless, there is so much delight and balance to the story to help rope many into the plot.
The Classic Animation: Think back to the classic version and one might recall the dive into the 2-D cartoon land and the epic scenes and songs that came with it. Over 50 years later, and Disney was not afraid to return to the cartoon theatrics again. I thoroughly enjoyed the return to Disney’s origins, seeing the classic art style fill the screen and integrate with our live action friends. Again, the memories of youth rush back in with it and bring perhaps my favorite number that held so much pep and vibrant enthusiasm. A wonderful nod to the old, while making sure to balance the new style into the mix as well.
More Of the Older Banks Children: The trailers painted heavy integration of Michael and Jane as they fall under the care of the nanny to relearn things left behind. While they have a decently strong integration into the mix, it’s not quite the same level I was expecting and as such wanted them to go on the journey a little more with their kids. Again, nothing remotely weak, but perhaps a little more integration could have taken the element farther.
More Time In the Animation: The classic horse racing scene had plenty of time in the 2-D world, making sure to really give the audience the full fun of the scene. This movie did a fantastic job in the short time they were there, but I was hoping for more time or at least another visit to an animated world where the two styles could meet. Poppins may do a great job balancing a lot of components, but yours truly wanted another masterpiece in 2-D/live integration that could bring with it the same memory etching greatness it did.
The Meryl Streep Number: Is it cute? Yes! Does it serve a musical number with catchy lyrics and beats? Yes. Does Meryl Streep do a good job? Yes. So why a dislike? Well, this number as fun as it is, is very irrelevant to the story. The dive into the workshop held some potential, but stuck out like the sore thumb at its inclusion into the whole plot, dropping it after the nearly 10 minutes of inclusion. I just wished that they had continued the story, and perhaps brought another number in, again relevant tot eh story.
Overall, the second visit to Mary Poppins’ lessons still has plenty of charm, love, and energy that will bring so much joy to the audience. Get ready to have your family film of the holidays, ready to bridge generation gaps, and help one learn old lessons in the new age. With relevant, energetic song and dance numbers, a fantastic cast with great chemistry, and whimsy from a number of sources, this reviewer encourages hitting the the theater for this one. And while it is not the same as the first movie, it holds its own charm and wonder that was long overdue for the cinema.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5