Film Review: You’ll Be Wild About Magical ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

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CHICAGO – They did it. Walt Disney Studios took one of their most beloved live action/animated films and rebooted it for a new millennium. “Mary Poppins Returns” is a song-filled, emotional and magical celebration of all things Mary P, combining the elements that made it great the first time with the modern movie strengths of today.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Credit goes first and foremost to veteran director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”). Given all the legacy he had to deal with, he chose to create his own version by not borrowing one familiar song (except for incidental background instrumentals) from the 1964 film and mixing the right chemistry of current performers and wily veterans to retell the story of Mary Poppins. Emily Blunt portrays the title nanny, and understands the mystery of the character by going back to the source storybooks (by author P.L. Travers) for characterization, while formulating a character that conjures enchantment and no nonsense (how very British). Pairing her with Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”) was a second genius stroke. He takes the mantle of the working class dreamer – in this version a lamplighter rather than a chimney sweep – and absolutely nails the song&dance man for the ages. This is a must-see holiday gift.

Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whitshaw) Banks are all grown up and facing adulthood on their own. Michael is a widower with three children who works at the same bank as his late father, but prefers the dreamer life of an artist… with Jane’s hopeful support. Because of his head in the clouds, the family is in debt and may lose their lovely house (familiar from the first film). They are in need of some nannying, so Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to their rescue.

Although their father’s colleague Wilkins (Colin Firth) seems understanding, he actually is planning to procure the house, so he is doing anything to prevent the Banks from paying off the mortgage. Meanwhile, Mary Poppins is doing what she does best, caring for the Banks children with the aid of a friendly lamplighter named Jack (Lin Manuel-Miranda) and takes them on a wild ride of fantasy and adventure, while allowing them to focus on memory and love.

“Mary Poppins Returns” opens everywhere on December 19th. Featuring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whitshaw, Emily Mortimer, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury. Screenplay by David Magee. Songs by Marc Shaiman, with lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Directed by Rob Marshall. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Mary Poppins Returns”

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Emily Blunt as the Title Character in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Mary Poppins Returns”

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