“Practically Perfect in every way!” What a joy! When Mary Poppins Returns pops into your life, you won’t stop grinning. I have not felt that warm glow of sheer pleasure watching a film for quite some time. The phrase, they don’t make’em like that anymore is truly apt for this.
Clearly, detractors will say it’s just a rehash of the original film , but with updated twists. Instead of chimney sweeps, we have lamplighters, and one with a crush. Bert is now Jack (wonderfully performed by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda), and the Banks children are now grown up, with Jane (Emily Mortimer) on her own, and Michael’s wife having recently died and he (Ben Whishaw) and his three long-suffering children threatened with foreclosure on their home, even though he works at his father’s old Bank – and they hold the mortgage! Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins clearly has her work cut out. Her timely arrival involves travelling into a china pot to visit a cartoon circus (instead of penguins), and an underwater bath fantasy. If you worry her clipped accent might start to annoy, don’t. You do get used to it, and it just seems to work. Meryl Streep has a cameo and contrary to the views of some, I do believe it works rather well. It’s fun and silly, though rather a sidebar.
Mary Poppins Returns is about recognising how to look at life through a child’s eyes – something we all forget as the years pass – even when you had Mary Poppins in your life as a child. We have a ticking clock to save the family home, which gives the film something the original didn’t really have, and that’s also a cue for a lovely song about ‘where lost things go’. There are nine new songs, and one or two where the lyrics are so complex they will go way above the heads of younger viewers, but whilst there are not quite the classic lines we’ll be singing in 50 years time, it’s still pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!