When it was announced that Disney was making a sequel to the much beloved Mary Poppins we all clutched our proverbial pearls. ‘How very dare you sir?!’ we lamented! But then they cast Emily Blunt and Lin Manual Miranda and everything seemed like it was going to be okay.
Well guys, let me tell you, it’s more than okay. It’s fantastic. We are massive Mary Poppins fans in this family. My cousins and I have been watching this since we can remember and know all the words of all the songs. We watched that video tape until it broke. And we’ve continued on the love with our own kids. My 5-year-old’s favourite song is Jolly Holiday. So as far as we were concerned, Mary Poppins Returns has BIG shoes to fill, and well, they fit perfectly.
Jane (Emily Motimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) are all grown up now and Michael is recently widowed with 3 kids. Ellen is still around, losing the plot a bit and played by the wonderful Julie Walters (or as we like to call her Molly Weasley).
The stakes are a little higher this time around. When Mary Poppins first visited the Banks household, they only thing that plagued the family were parents who didn’t pay attention to them.
The Banks family has more to lose this time around because it seems Michael is in trouble of losing the family home. In addition Mary Poppins helps the children to navigate the loss of their mother. I won’t lie, I cried as only a mother could when Mary Poppins sings The Place Where Lost Things Go to the children in the nursery. The three Banks children are played by newcomers Nathanael Saleh (John Banks), Pixie Davies (Anabel Banks) and Joel Dawson (as the absolutely adorable Georgie Banks).
I was afraid that the songs would not live up to the songbook of the first movie but it’s all amazing. Every song from the original film has a counterpart so to speak. Her first introduction to the children Can You Imagine That is even more fantastical than the much beloved Just a Spoonful of Sugar. I sat with a big smile on my face and in my heart the whole time I watched it.
Trip a Little Light Fantastic is the Leerie or lamp lighter’s version of Step in Time and while I did enjoy the new song, Step in Time just has a special place you know?
I think my son is going to love what they did with the animated bit because the penguin waiters are back for a little jaunt in A Cover Is Not The Book. Also, Chris ‘O Dowd plays the voice of Seamus the coach driver which was a treat for me because I love Chris ‘O Dowd. The entire animated sequence is so fun and reminiscent of an old school Disney movie.
Emily Blunt is wonderful as Mary Poppins and a worthy heir to Queen Julie Andrews. She does a great job as our favourite nanny who never ages and is very likely a Time Lord. Look all the evidence is there really.
Lin Manuel Miranda plays Jack the lamp lighter, former apprentice to Burt and is Mary Poppins companion in this adventure. And his cockney accent is less grating than Dick van Dyk’s even though we love Burt to death, bless his soul.
All in all, it’s a wonderful feel-good movie and a fantastic one for the festive season. While this may be a children’s movie it’s a bit long for younger kids clocking in at just about 2 hours.
Mary Poppins Returns will be in cinemas on 28 December 2018.