REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke.

Written by Cameron Frew

Mary Poppins is a curious thing. Depending on how you explain her, one would be forgiven for being slightly disturbed – a nanny who arrives out of nowhere flying out of the clouds on an umbrella, with seemingly magical powers and the ability to transport whomever she pleases into weird and wacky animated worlds. Disney turned P.L. Travers’ creation into a cinematic legend, however, beaming with warmth, peppy energy and a rigid stance on manners that taught the virtues of decorum and imagination as a pair. It was the perfect treat for the children and adults of 1964 – now more than 50 years later, cinema has given way to a sequel. Will you require a spoonful of sugar to put it over? No, this medicine is an immensely pleasant time all on its own.

Michael and Jane Banks (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) are now fully-fledged grown-ups. The latter organises rallies for the working class, the former isn’t so content. After losing his wife, he’s saddled with the task of trying to earn a living at a bank under the scrupulous but seemingly generous eye of William “Weatherall” Wilkins (Colin Firth) and raising his three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson). Life is getting particularly hard as untenable bills mount. Then, as luck would have it, from the breaking clouds flies down Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) to look after the Banks children – and their children.

From the murky, familiar opening shots of an industrial London, there’s a keen sense of welcome in the picture. Not just welcoming new and old audiences, but welcoming its roots, the look, the feel, the style, the mood. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Broadway superstar from In the Heights and Hamilton, plays a huge role in fuelling the charisma machine, leading us into “the days of the Great Slump” with a pep and a jive. He has a breathless allure, the sort of birth-given gift that can’t be truly explained; he’s simply a diamond of the industry.

Whishaw and Mortimer are uncannily believable siblings, both sharing similar ticks and resonant chemistry that’s neither overpowering nor weak. The Newsroom star brings a little of that anxious energy in a likeable turn, but Whishaw has far more to do. That soft-spoken voice which propelled Paddington into our hearts is still around, but the nuance in his performance is quite impressive; at times he’s overcome with giddy joy, at others he’s harrowed with anguish and rage as events out with control cause continuous hardship. There’s a constantly sad undercurrent, the writers (David Magee, Rob Marshall and John Deluca) reminding you of the children’s endless devotion to their mother’s ethos – “That’s what mother would do” you hear them say. But in respecting this grief, in a very accessible way, the filmmakers untangle that knot of emotion.

Of course, they’re gifted the most supreme of helping hands in the form of Blunt, who in one of the most supercalifragilisticexpialadocious efforts this year, totally embodies the spirit of Poppins, and then some. Julie Andrews won the Oscar for the role, and it won’t be a surprise if there’s a Best Actress nomination on the cards this time. Punctilious and genteel, kind and firm, a queen of decorum and advocate of the imagination, Blunt is a revelation.

Soon we’re into ebullient animated-land, a mixture of modernistic visual effects-driven sequences and old-time, classic hand-drawn works that blend live-action and art in the finest display since Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The way writer-and-director Marshall and cinematographer Dion Beebe (who worked on the very different but insanely brilliant Collateral) orchestrate such dazzling set-pieces, packed with stunning choreography and warmly impressive animation is nothing short of remarkable. There are visual gags aplenty that’ll only improve on repeat viewings too, any excuse to dive back into the bathtub.

The song list is only impaired by the odd slightly overlong show tune, but the wild enthusiasm of them all is infectious, anchored on Marc Shaiman’s extravagantly grand composition that never feels anything less than an occasion. ’Trip a Little Light Fantastic’ is the finest number, an ensemble-belter that transports you into the cinema of old.

That’s the thing, Mary Poppins Returns feels like an ode to a cherished time at the movies. It packs both the power to move the kids and the adults, tap everyone’s feet and widen all the grins. There are only a few little bits that nag; the more ornate animation exceeds far better than the CGI stuff, and there’s one joke that sticks around a long time not all that effectively until the admittedly funny pay off. But you can see why big names wanted to get involved; Firth is delicious as a pantomime villain, Meryl Streep makes an appearance, and watch out for Dick Van Dyke. Few sequels these days are quite as joyous.

Blunt is sensational. On top of that, it’s pure Disney. Suppose when you consider the talent involved, there’s nowhere to go but up.

CAMERON’S VERDICT:

4

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Tickets For Special Charity Screening Of ‘Buttons’ On Sale Tomorrow

Buttons is a new musical fairy tale film, much like the old MGM classics. During a time of robber barons, mills, and rising industry, two orphan children meet two unexpected visitors (Dick Van Dyke & Angela Lansbury) who turn the tide of events and change their lives forever.

It includes an amazing cast, with narration by Robert Redford and Kate Winslet.  The film also features actors Abigail Spencer, Jane Seymour, Roma Downey, , Katie McGrath, Robert Picardo, Charles Shaughnessy, Paul Greene, John de Lancie, and “Nova” a song written by Sir Paul McCartney.

Following the film, there is a one of a kind tribute to legendary dancer, director, and choreographer Gene Kelly, hosted by Kelly’s wife and biographer, Patricia Ward Kelly.

The proceeds of the film will go to benefit Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation, helping those living with autism.

Tickets go on sale TOMORROW at fathomevents.com.

A Magical New Trailer For ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Has Arrived

“In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” an all new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.”

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, ssBen Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walkters, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke

Release Date: December 21st, 2018

A New Story Begins In The First Teaser Trailer For ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

“Mary Poppins Returns” stars: Emily Blunt as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure; Lin-Manuel Miranda as her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London; Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; and Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. The film also introduces three new Banks’ children played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.”

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, ssBen Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walkters, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke

Release Date: December 21st, 2018

Production Underway On Mary Poppins Returns

Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed that production began yesterday (9th February) on ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, a sequel to the 1964 childhood favourite ‘Mary Poppins’.

The synopsis for the sequel is:

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is set in 1930s depression-era London and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers’ additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson) and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters), living on Cherry Tree Land. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing on their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colourful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).

Dick Van Dyke will be returning to the cobbles of London to play the character of Mr Dawes Jr., who is the chairman of the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, which is being run by William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth). Helming this sequel is Academy Award nominatee Rob Marhsall, who is also signed on as a producer.

It’s fair to say that this sequel has a lot to live up to, with the original being a classic childhood favourite for many many people, but with such a strong cast line-up and creative team working on it, I think this sequel has great potential to be successful. 

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is scheduled for a Christmas Day release in 2018

What are your thoughts on this ambitious sequel?

Written by Tom Sheffield

Dick Van Dyke Will Be In The 2018 Mary Poppins Sequel

Dick Van Dyke has confirmed that he will have some sort of role in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, a sequel to the original ‘Mary Poppins’ which was released in 1964, in which he played lovable cockney chimney-sweep, Bert. It’s not yet clear whether this ‘role’ will be a small cameo or an integral part of the story, but either way it will be nice to have a familiar face in the sequel! 

Emily Blunt will be playing the main lady herself, Mary Poppins, and confirmed to join her are Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Angela Lansbury. The story is set to focus on Michael Banks and his 3 children 20 years after Poppins left Michael and his sister Jane at the end of the first film. Michael and his children suffer a personal tragedy, which is where Poppins comes in to do what she does best. 

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is set to release in December 2018

Written by Tom Sheffield