Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
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I think, and I can't believe this is true, Blunt is the main reason for this. Andrews is the gold standard but Blunt is almost her equal. Her Poppins is funny, stern, warm, knows more than she let's on, has everything in hand and is utterly charming. Blunt is everything you would want from the character and more. I was most surprised by her vocal performance being as good as it is. Jack (Bert's stand in and family relation) is also a great character. Miranda gives an crackerjack performance of charm, wit and wisdom. Best (and weirdest) of all Miranda uses a bad cockney accent all the time (and while singing!) that *somehow* manages to be obviously bad yet believable and adorable. Everyone is so good in this and the thing I thought most likely to sink the picture is the best part.
Not to overlook the score because it is so good I just brought it. It is not quite as memorable as the original but it is solidly singable and ear wormy. So while, say, "Can You Imagine That?" is not quite as perfect as "A Spoonful of Sugar" it is a brilliant song in its own right. The real standout is "A Cover is not a Book" as it is clever, funny, and carries a lot of weight in the story. I think I will playing this on a loop for a while.
The film is quite technically polished. I would argue that the integration of the live-action and animation is done better here than in the original. The cinematographer, art director, and custom designer did a better job of making the various wolds far more seamless here than in the 1st film. The music hall scene is fun and exciting as well as being a marvel.
I thought this film was going to be a disaster. Turns out it is among the best of the year.
If you are a visual person and not concerned with hearing good songs in a musical you might like it.
It does look like they had a lot of fun making this movie, wish they had paid more attention to the score.
This is not that. Sadly, no one came out of the theater humming or singing any of the songs - not our grandchildren, no other kids, no adults...that tells the tale. In fact there are some suggestive lyrics in 'The Cover is Not the Book' that is over the heads of the kids, but it surprised and disappointed the adults in our group.
That said, the visuals are generally amazing, and there were several things to smile about, but it was a bit like washing your feet with your socks on...gets the job done, just something isn't quite right. One person near by was overheard to say as he left, 'That was excruciating to sit through', while a roughly 12 year old girl was overhead saying "I thought it was really good." Same with these reviews which range from 10 to my 3, so you'll experience the same range I would guess upon seeing the movie.
Mary Poppins Returns is practically perfect in every way. It has great characters, a fantastic score, memorable songs and ... dare I say it? ... a storyline! There are nods to the original without being a carbon copy; but its originality does shine through. It's colourful, it's fun, it made me smile. Don't tell me you all walked out of the cinema in the 60s remembering all the words to "Sister Suffragette" and "Stay Awake". They're cultural songs, that's why they're unforgettable. A couple more watches and you'll be "Looking Up" with "Imagination" and remembering that "nothing's lost forever".
Give it a go... you'll be pleasantly surprised. Oscar for Miss Blunt please :)
Emily Blunt was perfectly cast as Mary Poppins as was Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack the Lantern lighter. The story line surrounds the now adult Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) who lost his wife just a few years ago and is trying to raise his three (3) young children in the original Banks family home at 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Michael's sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) is single, never married, and has her own apartment while she fights for the rights of the low income workers.
Michael Banks three children are Anabel,John and the youngest Georgie. The three Banks children love their father and sooner than they should have to worry about losing their home through a bank foreclosure , Mary Poppins magically appears. Mrs. Shullivan and I, as well as the rest of the theaters audience let out a noticeable sigh of relief because we realized that the magic of a Walt Disney movie is now upon us, and we were not disappointed in our faith in Mary Poppins. Quite the contrary, the evening was perfect as the films songs were beautiful, the dance numbers choreographed and animated to as many animals as were on Noah's Ark, the cinematography magical and the story of Michael and Jane Banks and the children that warms one's heart.
We especially loved the Banks childrens first afternoon bath with Mary Poppins and their most colorful and animated underworld adventure with song and dreams of a magical world. Just believe and anything is possible!
Loved it! A perfect 10 out of 10!
Let's start with the story. There is none. There are two parallel "stories" that happen. The first is the younger Mr. Banks, recently widowed, who learns overnight that if he doesn't come up with an insane amount of money, or find one specific paper, he will lose his home because of a debt. The second is "Mary Poppins, this one street lamp lighter and the little Banks children go around and sing songs with no link to anything". The first song goes along the lines of "Hygiene is important", the second, "it's important to read books", and the third "if you feel off, look at things with a new perpective". There is no link between them, and come out as absolutely random. There is absolutely minimal coherent link between them and the "story" in itself. These two "storylines" don't really ever merge, and you kind of wonder why each is happening, and how they will be linked. Sorry if this ruins the film : they essentially aren't.
The second is the characters. They don't hold up, in any way. The kinds are, at first, very responsible, and as soon as Mary pops up, they just end up being less and less mature. Mary Poppins is supposed to be a proper British nanny who teaches good values, etc., while having fun ("We are not a codfish"). In this film, she doesn't appear to do anything except bring the children to be less mature. The street-worker sidekick basically becomes the main character because he is the only one who actually does anything - he guides Mary and the children through everything. Mary Poppins most of all, is not Mary Poppins. She puts no focus on manners, she lets the children run around and do basically anything. She is the nanny, she is there to care and educated, but she has none of her manners. The character is not the character. Let's mention side characters like the mean banker. Is he mean? He rips out Mr.Banks' name out of a banking ledger in order to destroy proof that Mr. Banks own's shares at the bank, in order to reposess his house. Then, right after, he stays at the bank until midnight so that Mr.Banks and the children may bring a document which they may or may not find to the bank. How does this hold up? Yes, the screen writers are trying to build useless suspens, but a mean banker would go out of his job at quitting time, not stay there until midnight.
In a mix of "non-story" and "lack of character", the question of "what is Mary Poppins' role"? She serves essentially very little purpose until the very end. She isn't Mary Poppins, she serves little purpose... what is she there fore? I'll tell you - she is there because of her name. She is there so that one will say "oh look, it's Mary Poppins!" and be content with that. She is nothing but a name to attract audiences.
Let's get to the songs : after walking out from the theatre, I could neither remember nor hum the melody to any of the songs. And having tried for over a week, I still can't. On the other hand, I saw the original for the last time over two years ago, and I can still remember the melody to essentially all of them. The song writing in this one shows cheap song writing techniques used nowadays in musical drama. That is to say "I will start off this song by talking in rithm to some light musical background, and the we will simply go along some 4/4 partitions with a strong bass marking the first and third mesures". If this sounds technical, it's just in words what your ears will find ordinary, uninteresting, and bland.
May we go on to the aspect of "we won't copy the original, but we will try to copy the original"? In the first there is a hilarious scene with an old man on his ceiling and they had to sing to get him down. In this one, they are in an upside down apartment, and they have to sing to get it right side up. In the first they went into chalk drawings where they were in an innocent but amusing race. In this one they go into a porcelaine pot where they go to a theatre (only so that Mary Poppins and her main-character-side-kick can sing about the importance of reading books), where the children run off to have a over-the-top, American chasse with villainous animals who were trying to rob them. The chasse is imbecilic, lacks imagination, serves no purpose and does not "thrill". It is random, and has no place in this film.
Should we also go into what this film tries to teach? We've mentioned the values of "bathe regularly" and "read", but what else? The Mr.Banks is a painter who now works in a bank because there is an economical recession and art doesn't pay (though it could. ps. don't follow your dreams). At the end they all become magically rich out of nowhere, supposedly due to a micro investment that Mr.Banks made in his childhood (capitalism pays off; own stocks and invest, children!). It tries to teach some things, but the meaning of it all is quite... blurry and distorted.
Do I go on about everything that is wrong in this film? This is already long and negative.
I should mention the only good things : the sets, decors and animation. They are very nice, the 2D animation in the porcelaine scene was very beautiful and appreciated. Nonetheless, nice sets and animation does not compensate for an utter lack of everything else. It's what the french would call "powder to the eyes". Some sort of magical powder made to distract and blind to the fact that the film lacks everything else.
Here is a tip if you saw this one. Watch a scene from the original ,and it's parallel in this one. You will see that it the first, there are minimal sets, and the production value went into worthwhile dialogue and well written and catchy tunes. you will see that in this one, it is the exact opposite. The sets will put you in some magical re-imagined-passed universe, while the dialogues don't hold up, the songs are bad, and if you actually pay attention to what's going on, you are bored.
Let's cut it short : this movie is horrible. If I hadn't gone to see it with my family, I would have asked for my money back halfway through. I most certainly would not have appreciated it when I was little - this being said, I watched the first over and over again when I was a kid. P.L. Travers is probably rolling over in her grave. If you are wondering if you should see this movie - don't. Why does it have a good ratting? Probably for 2 reasons only 1) the name Marry Poppins is on it, and 2) Powder to the eyes.
The film opens in low-key fashion as we follow Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) through town as he performs his lamplighting duties singing the melancholic "Underneath the Lovely London Sky". It's actually a bit of a dry opening that may have some impatient kids wondering why their parents dragged them to see this. Soon after, we are at the familiar 17 Cherry Tree Lane - the Banks' home - easily recognizable from the original film. We meet grown up siblings Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer). Jane is a labor organizer following in her mom's footsteps, and Michael is a struggling artist and widower raising 3 kids. He has taken a teller job at the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank where his dad (now deceased) worked, but mostly he's an emotional wreck. In fact, the only way to save the family home from foreclosure is with proof of his father's bank shares ... something the evil new Bank President, William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth), conspires to prevent.
It's at this point that the kids' popcorn should just about be gone, so it's fortunate that our beloved nanny makes her timely appearance ... literally floating (with practically perfect posture) into the park where Georgie (an adorable Joel Dawson) and lamplighter Jack are flying a very recognizable kite. Jack, having been an apprentice under Bert the Chimney Sweep, is quite familiar with the significance of Mary Poppins' arrival. Back on Cherry Tree Lane, Michael and Jane are shocked to see their childhood nanny back in the house, and Michael's two spunky twins Anabel (Pixie Davies) and John (Nathanael Saleh) aren't sure what to make of this mysterious visitor.
Director Marshall wisely utilizes the template from the original film, so many of the subsequent sequences have a familiar and cozy feel to them. Mary Poppins' "Off we go" kicks off a fantastical bathtub adventure and leads to the first of many smile-inducing, visually spectacular moments. A broken porcelain bowl guides us to a beautiful hand-drawn animation (from Walt Disney Studios) sequence with horse-drawn carriage, penguins, and more. Meryl Streep performs "Turning Turtle" in her topsy-turvy studio, and there is an extended (perhaps a bit too long) dance sequence featuring Jack and the other lamplighters singing "Trip a Little Light Fantastic".
Julie Walters appears as the Banks' housekeeper and David Warner is Admiral Boom, the Banks' canon-firing neighbor; however it's two cameos that will really hit home with the older viewers: Angela Landsbury (not in the original) is the balloon lady singing "Nowhere to Go but Up", and the remarkable Dick Van Dyke (a huge part of the original) plays an elderly Mr. Dawes Jr from the bank - and even performs a dance routine atop a desk. All of the actors perform admirably, yet this is clearly Emily Blunt's movie. She shines as the practically perfect nanny, whether debating with her umbrella, digging in her mystical baggage, filling heads with 'stuff and nonsense', teaching life lessons to those in need, or singing solo and with others. It's a wonderful performance and she becomes Mary Poppins for a new generation.
Director Marshall co-wrote the story and screenplay with David Magee and John DeLuca, and they have created a worthy sequel (a quite high standard) from P.L. Travers' original books that is delightful and a joy to watch. The group of original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman serve the story fine, but the one downside to the film is that none of the new songs are as catchy or memorable as those of the Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert) from 54 years ago. They won Oscars for Best Score and Song ("Chim Chim Che-ree"), and left us singing others such as "Spoon Full of Sugar", "Let's Go Fly a Kite" and of course, "Supercalifragilistic". These new songs including "Can You Imagine That", "The Place Where Lost Things Go", "A Cover is not the Book", "Nowhere to Go but Up" all contribute to the story and to the viewer's enjoyment, but none leave us singing or humming as we depart the theatre.
This is a film where those behind-the-scenes are crucial to its success. Oscar winning cinematographer Dion Beebe (MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA) and Editor Wyatt Smith both are at the top of their game, and Costume Designer Sandy Powell delivers stunners, not just for the singing nanny, but for all characters. The core of the story remains rediscovering the magic in life, and finding joy in each other - and this sequel also provides the adventures to match the original. It's simultaneously familiar and fresh, which is key to a successful follow up to a beloved classic. Director Marshall has signed on to Disney's live action THE LITTLE MERMAID, but it's with MARY POPPINS RETURNS where he has delivered a film that is practically perfect in every way.
I suppose I'll start my list of complaints by mentioning how insufferable the acting in this movie is. Every time one of the child actors opened their mouth I wanted to break all the things. The terrible acting applies to the adults too of course. I think the father character (forgot his name) was the only notable one because of how fake his performance seemed - the rest of the cast were so devoid of character that I really couldn't care less about any of them.
I don't usually care about special effects in movies, but my god are they noticeably bad in this one. It was so distracting throughout the whole thing. You would think that Disney would have some kind of ability when it comes to special effects considering how many live-action remakes they've been doing but apparently not.
Every single song sounds the exact same with absolutely nothing memorable about them at all. They could have just used the same song for every number and I would not have noticed. The songs go on for way too long and don't progress the story at all. It was as if they just chose a random place in the script and shoved a song in.
The sense of conflict that the writers try to create is shattered by the fact that Mary Poppins can just swoop in and save the day anyway. That's one of the main sources of boredom. There isn't much enjoyment you can get out of a film when you know exactly where the story is going to go.
Mary Poppins Returns, like other nostalgic Disney cash-grabs, is a boring, soulless movie that is not worth your time and money. I can't think of anything positive to say about it, and I'm sure you couldn't either.
Emily Blunt is enchanting, and a wonderful Mary Poppins. I loved that she made her own stamp on the character and wasn't just a parody of Julie Andrews' version of Mary Poppins. She was actually quite a but more like the personality of the character in the books, which I really enjoyed.
I also truly felt Michael's despair, and the children's willingness to do anything for him, which is a testament to the excellent acting that was prominent in almost all of the performances.
The real problem is that it was if someone on the production had a checklist, and they were going down it, ticking things off: there's the magical things that Mary does when she first arrives to show the kids what she's really like, there's the adventure in an animated realm of some kind, there's the visiting a funny relative, there's the song and dance with the Not-Bert and his cronies where Mary joins in, there's the problem with the unsympathetic bank manager, there's the last scene in the park, etc., etc., etc.
The worst problem is that I don't think one person in the production truly knew anything about Mary herself and what kind of person she is. When the children were in the "bowl adventure" and they were separated from Mary, Georgie gets kidnapped by a scary wild and his henchman and the other two children have to rescue him while speeding down a treacherous road that is being cracked. This was somehow supposed to teach the children that you can't trust everyone and not to take people at face value, but was just awful and scary. At this point my six year-old started to cry, asking where Mary Poppins was, and was she going to save them?
Note to everyone involved with this production:
WHEN YOU HAVE AN ADVENTURE WITH MARY POPPINS YOU ARE ALWAYS SAFE!!!!!! Always!!
That is what makes them "adventures." When Mary Poppins takes you on an adventure it might be crazy, like floating on the ceiling, or getting sucked up a chimney, or even walking up a staircase made of smoke, and you might wonder if you are safe, but you always are. ALWAYS. That is why Mary Poppins isn't just magic, she's discovering the magic around you.
And Mary Poppins is not a dance girl, and she certainly does absolutely NOT do/say/sing anything that has sexual innuendo. The dance-hall number was well done but so disappointing because they tried to take the fun of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and instead they just made it tacky. And Mary Poppins is NEVER tacky.
The villain was completely useless. All they would have had to do was to make him a supercilious person obsessed with technicalities and it could have been the same result. Then you wouldn't have needed the awful part of the adventure where the wolf who started out nice got mean and scary.
When I was sitting in the theater I enjoyed myself, which is again, I think, due to the fabulous performances, even though there were those jarring moments, but after I left the bad parts overshadowed the rest, until that's all I remembered. And the songs are completely forgettable. Not a "Chim-chim-cheree" in the bunch.
I think that my 14 year-old daughter said it best when on the way home she asked if we could watch the "good" Mary Poppins when we got home.
This film was so appallingly bad. I disliked it. My two Sons hated it. Others in the group fell asleep.
Seriously next year I'll be crawling over glass for Pantomime Tickets if anyone suggests something as shocking. On a positive note, no one could pick a film worse than this next year so it's 100% guaranteed to be better.
Shocking film. Sorry!
It may be a more interesting movie at 90 minutes or less. There are whole scenes that made no sense to the plot. A sorry mess of a movie and I was so glad when it ended.