Practically perfect in every way. I loved “Mary Poppins Returns” more than I thought I would, mainly because of the beautiful original soundtrack that is sure to be added to the long list of timeless Disney classics. Long story short, Lin-Manuel Miranda filled a void in Disney musicals that I didn’t know even existed. I was skeptical about the studios trying to make songs on par with the original but, for the most part, the sequel did a good job with the help of the amazing voices of Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda as the leads, Mary Poppins and Jack, respectively. Supporting voices of Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Ben Whishaw and a special appearance from a familiar banker, Dick Van Dyke, made for a colorful and very talented cast.
Though the phrase “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was nowhere to be heard, several motifs and musical themes from the original were present, adding a wonderful, nostalgic feel that matched perfectly with the plot which followed the family of Michael Banks raising his family in the same house. Though the chimney sweeps are no longer dancing in the sequel, the leeries make their own fun debut, lighting the lamps from downtown London to 17 Cherry Tree Lane and giving one of the exciting and perfectly choreographed performances that seem to be a daily occurrence for the workers of London.
Apart from the music, the cinematography was extremely well done and a work of art in itself. Whether the scene was somber or simply super silly, the screenplay and settings had a way of captivating the audience and pulling them into the struggles and the triumphs of the Banks family. That, in addition to the throwback animation style, which I loved, honestly made me feel like I was at Disneyland again.
Problems I had with it were few and far between. I wasn’t a major fan of the fact that there were three Banks children, causing there to be little focus on them and, in turn, not as major of a role for Mary Poppins. With only two in the original and a story revolving around their time with Mary Poppins, we grew more familiar with Jane and Michael. Banks. In “Mary Poppins Returns,” the presence of three children splits the attention, causing us to slightly question why there were three to begin with.
The other critique was the animation style of the first adventure with Mary Poppins, the bath scene. I am fine with the CGI style of new Disney movies, but in making the sequel of such a beloved classic, I wish they had used the original style. Fortunately, they do bring that back later in the film which made up somewhat for the modernization. It could be argued that they didn’t want to overdo it, which I understand, but in my opinion, it was only the presence of those cartoon penguin waiters that saved the animation aspect of the film.
I loved the film, and more importantly, I loved how it made me feel. The morals of family importance and childhood imagination and innocence brought a heartwarming sensation that I am always waiting for in Disney movies. It was an exciting and riveting two hours and 10 minutes that I do not regret. I’m not going to say that I clicked my heels exiting the theater, but I’m not going to say I didn’t either.
And for these reasons, I give the movie a 4.5/5 stars and as for my thumbs, “there’s nowhere to go but up!”
By: Bartel Van Oostendorp, Print Editor-in-Chief