It’s been more than 50 years since Mary Poppins first graced our screens. A timeless, classic Disney movie that’s enchanted families for generations. Some might argue that it didn’t really need a sequel, but Mary Poppins was already loosely based on a series of books anyway, so plenty of material to work with. And if they can keep churning out live action remakes that nobody asked for, then what does it matter about a belated sequel?
To be fair, Mary Poppins Returns does do a fantastic job of recapturing the magical style and feel of the original movie. The Banks children are now all grown – Michael (Ben Wishaw) is still living in the Cherry Tree Lane family home, having recently lost his wife and struggling to cope with their three children. Jane (Emily Mortimer) is on hand to help her brother, but when the bank threaten to repossess their home, it’s clear they need even more help, in the form of a familiar nanny.
To be honest, I’m kind of struggling to know what to say about this movie. The main thing to take from this review though is that I did enjoy it, my wife loved it and so did my daughter’s. For me though, it just wasn’t enough to leave any lasting impression on me. The songs are all good, usually accompanied by wonderful visuals, beautiful 2D animation and fun choreography, but none of them were particularly memorable. There’s nothing that I can imagine being as repeatable, or as catchy as ‘A spoonful of sugar’ for example, or as memorable as ‘Feed the Birds’. Emily Blunt is wonderful as always, Lin-Manuel Miranda is the customary American doing a chirpy cockney accent, there’s just something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. I can remember leaving the cinema after seeing The Greatest Showman a year ago, having the songs stuck in my head, downloading the soundtrack and wanting to see the movie again. I didn’t really feel like that at all with Mary Poppins Returns and there is a lot of unnecessary filler (the scene featuring Meryl Streep just seemed pointless).
This is all beginning to sound a bit negative but it’s not meant to be. This is still a good fun family movie and if you enjoyed the original you should find enjoyment in this. With all the doom and gloom in the world right now, the world definitely needs something like this for all the family to enjoy at Christmas time.