Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw
Release Date: March 19, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
In “Mary Poppins Returns,” Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) — just a child when Mary Poppins first visited 17 Cherry Tree Lane — is now a grown man raising his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) with help from his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). Times are tough in Depression-era London but the winds begin to change and the enigmatic governess, whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day. Teaming up with an old friend, Jack, they take the Banks children on a series of whimsical adventures, encountering colorful characters like Mary’s eccentric Cousin Topsy (Streep), Jack’s lovable band of leeries and bank executives William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) and Mr. Dawes Jr. (Van Dyke) — bringing life, love and laughter back into the home.
The long-awaited follow-up to Disney’s unforgettable classic ‘Mary Poppins’; ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ rejoins the Banks children Michael (Whishaw) and Jane (Mortimer) during a trying time in their adulthood. Still struggling after the loss of his wife, Michael sees everything threatened when the bank that he works for announces its intent to claim his childhood home (and now the home of his three children as well) if he is unable to cover a loan he still owes on the property. But just when things seem darkest, the peculiar and lovable nanny Marry Poppins (Blunt) returns to Cherry Tree Lane just when she’s needed most, using her magical wit, charm and unique style in order to help a new generation of Banks children to find their path, as well as reminding the previous ones of just what can be accomplished with the help of those closest to you no matter how seemingly impossible or improbable, if only you put your mind to it.
Directed by Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) from a screenplay by David Magee (Finding Neverland) which was based upon a screen story by Magee, Marshall and John DeLuca, and altogether based upon the “Mary Poppins” stories by P.L. Travers respectively, Marshall does an outstanding job at the helm of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ guiding along this new tale with care while always capturing the heart and essence of the original. The film also benefits a great deal from a wonderful cast that includes Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Lin-Manuel Miranda (TV’s Curb Your Enthusiasm), Ben Whishaw (Paddington), Emily Mortimer (The Bookshop), and Julie Walters (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), Colin Firth (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Meryl Streep (The Post), plus a special appearance by Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins) and more, with nearly all offering highly capable performances in each of their respective roles, and Blunt in particular doing a tremendous job of brilliantly capturing the aura and loving nature of Mary Poppins.
‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is a magical, heartwarming and gorgeous follow-up to Disney’s original masterpiece that constantly stays faithful to its unforgettable predecessor, consistently managing to recapture much of its heart, style and tone in the best possible ways. Offering everything we could want from a sequel to ‘Mary Poppins’ including a number of new, original songs and accompanying dance numbers that feel right at home in that world, along with an incredibly human tale filled with love, beauty and even a few subtle lessons to help our characters learn and grow. Smoothly guided along its breathtaking course by director Rob Marshall and his careful guidance at the helm is perfectly complimented by a magnificent cast led by the talented Emily Blunt who does an outstanding job portraying the beloved Mary Poppins herself in this follow-up, almost perfectly capturing the iconic character’s essence, charm and unique style. I would strongly encourage anyone that enjoyed the original classic and those who are hardcore fans of Disney in general to try and go out of your way to check out ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ at your earliest convenience if you haven’t already had the pleasure. It’s a truly wonderful and impressive sequel that only exceeds expectations and somehow manages to almost perfectly recreate the magic and innocent wonder of its predecessor over half a century later.
Overall, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is simply wonderful, a magnificent sequel that exudes plenty of its own magic and charm while always remaining faithful to the heart and soul of the original film and cemented with a phenomenal performance by Emily Blunt who captures the essence of Mary Poppins quite remarkably. ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is definitely highly recommended. Especially for longtime fans of the original Disney classic who are certain to thoroughly appreciate its passion and dedication to the 60’s favorite, as well as the various throwbacks and nods at it sprinkled throughout. It should make a perfect selection for a family movie night (or even a solo one) as well as justifying two hours of your time and the price of a rental if nothing else. Many households with fans of the first film and/or young ones that will likely want to revisit this magical tale will also probably want to strongly consider purchasing a copy.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a rich, detailed and vividly colored presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults or issues to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit, fast moving and heavily populated sequences, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Disney that should more than satisfy both fans and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and quite active audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to immerse the viewer within this magical world, sending music, nature elements, crowd chatter and plenty more throughout the various speakers quite regularly, while always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clear and fully audible. Overall, this is a solid 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments this wonderful film splendidly and sounds great from start to finish.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ features a number of worthwhile extras that fans should enjoy, as well as two options for viewing the feature film; the ‘Original Theatrical Version’ or a ‘Sing-Along Edition’. Included on the release are a couple ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 2 minutes in length combined), plus a ‘Deleted Song – “The Anthropomorphic Zoo”’ (running approximately 5 minutes) and some ‘Practically Perfect Bloopers’ (approximately 2 minutes). We are also treated to a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes including interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Back To Cherry Tree Land: Dick Van Dyke Returns’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns’ (24 minutes) and explore four key musical sequences from the movie with ‘“Seeing Things From A Different Point of View”: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns’ (approximately 18 minutes altogether).