I had the chance to see Mary Poppins Returns in theaters yesterday and the movie, like its namesake, is practically perfect in every way.
I’ll be completely honest… when the first photo of Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins was shown at D23 2017, I wasn’t sold. Although the internet exploded approvingly, I felt like she was an imposter. As time has gone on, I’ve softened on my stance and after seeing the movie I am a completely changed man. Blunt was marvelous! Her singing and dancing were fantastic and she stepped into the famous nanny’s shoes as if they were made for her (and technically speaking, they probably were).
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Lin-Manuel Miranda played the role of Jack, a street lamplighter who had Mary Poppins as his nanny when he was a youngster. As a Broadway superstar, Miranda has shined for years in In the Heights and Hamilton. This was one of his first chances to star on the big screen, although he did the catchy music for 2016’s Moana. Miranda’s best moment of the movie (and there were many) was when he had a solo during the songA Cover Is Not the Book“>A Cover is not the Book. It was written perfectly for him and he performed it impeccably.
A real highlight of the movie is when one of the stars of the original Mary Poppins, Disney legend Dick Van Dyke appeared. Although I won’t spoil what he does, is was inspiring to see the 93 year old in the movie.
The animation in the movie is so clever. At one point, Mary, Jack and the Banks children are brought into the painting of a china bowl. As they move, the reflection for the bowl can be seen and so can the imperfections of the bowl. The characters are animated beautifully and in the 2D style of the original movie. They also perform a musical number or two which is fun and impressive.
One slight downside of the movie is the music. Yes, it is something you’re going to want to have in your Disney soundtrack collection, but it isn’t as catchy as the music from the 1964 original. You’ll leave the movie wanting to re-listen to the music, but possibly struggle to find more than one or two songs that are memorable classics.
As someone who grew up watching Mary Poppins, I loved to see the subtle ways this movie paid homage to the original and the ways the two are inter-connected. Whether you’re a long-term fan of the original or just looking for a fun way to spend two hours, it would be difficult to find anything as practically perfect as Mary Poppins Returns.