Disney does it again! Over 50 years later, we get a taste of the essence of a Disney icon. Mary Poppins Returns retains a lot of what we feel when watching the original, almost like watching a reboot or a remake of the 1964 film. The story is relatively simple; the children of the original film, Jane and Michael have grown up, and are facing financial difficulties that could cost them their house, all the while Michael is struggling to be a father of three after the death of his wife.
Enter Mary Poppins, who brings a sense of fantasy to the children and offers her services to aid the adults in their endeavour. While someone could say that the film is a rehash of the original, it makes a lot of sense for it to go in that direction. Both stories have a similar structure, from a wacky character that Mary has a familial relationship with, to the father of the family reuniting with his inner child, to a beautifully hand-drawn animated scene and to the songs managing to follow the same pattern of events as the first film.
That doesn’t change the quality of the story, if anything it makes a lot more sense to follow the same type of storyline when it comes to a nonsensical story like this. You know what they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
The settings and costumes are very reminiscent of the styles of the 1964 film, with the sets being a perfect match to the original. As well the costumes look bright and colourful, especially for the hand-animated scene where the they look as if they literally leapt from a sketchbook.
The characters are all very dedicated to their roles, each actor giving 110 per cent. Emily Blunt gives an incredible performance that completely captures the role as portrayed by Julie Andrews. Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Jack, our stand-in for Bert who does a fantastic job in repeating the same kind of mannerisms as Dick Van Dyke.
The Banks family, which consists of the grown-up versions of the kids from the first film, Michael’s three children and the family maid who is played by Julie Walters, are all a bit flat, but they all work together really well and each has their own likability. There’s a couple of memorable performances given to us by cameos featuring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Dick Van Dyke which you should definitely look out for.
Finally, there are the songs. While many seem very similar to songs from the original, each one is fun and definitely get your toes tapping and a huge smile on your face, including “There’s Nowhere to Go but Up”, “The Cover is not the Book” and “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”. In the end, Mary Poppins Returns has brought us a film that invokes childhood whimsy and imagination. With a heartwarming story, stunning visuals and a wonderful cast, it is “Practically Perfect in Every Way.”