“Mary Poppins Returns” Review: As magical as the original?

Released 54 years after the original, Disney’s "Mary Poppins Returns" was released Dec. 19.

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“Mary Poppins Returns” Review: As magical as the original?

Jenna Weyforth, Writer

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From sliding up banisters to soaring through the sky, the timeless story of Mary Poppins is brought back to life in the spectacular  “Mary Poppins Returns.” This movie is magical from start to finish and will leave your imagination stirring.

Taking the umbrella of leading lady Mary Poppins is Emily Blunt, who takes a page out of Julie Andrews’ book for her portrayal of the magical and caring woman. Andrews won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Poppins in the iconic 1964 film, “Mary Poppins.” This sequel has already been put on shortlists for its own Academy awards for best original score, best visual effects and best original song for two of its numbers including “The Place Where Lost Things Go” and “Trip a Little Light Fantastic.”

The story centers around Mary Poppins back at 17 Cherry Tree Lane, the childhood home of Michael and Jane Banks, who are now grown up and have forgotten the magic of Mary Poppins. As a newly single father, Michael lives with his three kids, Georgie, John and Anabel. Michael struggles to make ends meet, which leads to his bank threatening to foreclose the house if he cannot pay. When Mary Poppins comes to nanny for the children, she helps the family rediscover the power of joy and imagination.

With the help of local lamplighter, Jack, played by Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins takes the kids on unimaginable adventures, which creates a similar feel to the original, but the uniqueness and creativity of the new storyline make it a classic of its own. This sequel takes a more serious perspective on the lives of the Londoners as they attempt to save their house and move on from the passing of Michael’s wife. This change adds depth to the storyline and the understanding of the beloved characters. Although the movie is still overall very heartfelt and magical, some of the more serious scenes seem somewhat out of place for a more lighthearted plot.

On a different note, the score for “Mary Poppins Returns” is skillfully done. The background orchestra not only matches but highlights each scene’s individuality and gives a few hints back to the memorable original score. The music numbers of the movie are charming and guaranteed to leave you whistling the tunes all day, but even so they are still a few forgettable numbers that might not leave such a lasting impression. Not every song is a masterpiece, but only Mary Poppins could have a song about Turning Turtle and taking baths that will surely make you wish you could visit the mystical 17 Cherry Tree Lane.

With many nods to the original Mary Poppins, including an appearance by 93-year-old Dick van Dyke, who portrayed Bert the chimney sweep in the original film.There are many jokes to the original Mary Poppins film to watch out for, like the admiral and his time keeping cannon, the classic dancing penguins and more. The most prominent returner is the reappearance of 2-D animation. In “Mary Poppins Returns,” the cartoon-like animations make the film shine out among the many films of heavily computerized imagery and gives a spoonful of nostalgia to the original Mary Poppins. The 2-D animation is simply captivating, and gives “Mary Poppins Returns” a step up among other films in this day and age, and the detail in the colorful animations is sure to bring a smile to viewers of any age.

Although the character of Poppins may be strange, she is certainly exciting and Blunt’s portrayal of the gentle but firm Poppins is right on. The cast as a whole is truly admirable, but there are a few characters that stand out out, one of them being Jack the lamplighter. His charming Cockney accent and upbeat optimism are bright spots in the film and musical numbers.

If you are planning to see the movie for all the nostalgia, it is truly worth it, but be prepared for a fresh spin on the classic story of Mary Poppins and the Banks.

Mary Poppins Returns might not be as iconic or catchy as the first, but it certainly has its moments, and a lot of them. While Mary Poppins returns might not be practically perfect in every way, it certainly comes as close as it can, and shows that sometimes nonsense can be fun.