‘Mary Poppins Returns’ with several heaping spoonfuls of nostalgia

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’ with several heaping spoonfuls of nostalgia

Theaters nationwide began

Theaters nationwide began "Mary Poppins Returns", Disney's sequel to their iconic 1964 film "Mary Poppins", on Dec. 19. The movie made $23.5 million in its first weekend in theaters.

Photo by Hannah Sween

Theaters nationwide began "Mary Poppins Returns", Disney's sequel to their iconic 1964 film "Mary Poppins", on Dec. 19. The movie made $23.5 million in its first weekend in theaters.

Photo by Hannah Sween

Photo by Hannah Sween

Theaters nationwide began "Mary Poppins Returns", Disney's sequel to their iconic 1964 film "Mary Poppins", on Dec. 19. The movie made $23.5 million in its first weekend in theaters.

Hannah Sween, Print Editor-in-Chief

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A star-studded cast meets a storyline dripping with nostalgia, “Mary Poppins Returns” has several spoonfuls of adorable parallels and quirky characters. Those expecting a cinematic masterpiece to push their intellectual, artistic minds will be severely disappointed by the film, but those who love some good old fashioned, classic Disney movie magic are sure to be pleased.

The return picks up several decades after the original “Mary Poppins” during the Great Depression, known in Britain as the “Great Slump”.  The film opens with a pleasant, but slightly underwhelming number from Lin-Manuel Miranda, playing a charismatic lamplighter named Jack. The story reintroduces Michael and Jane, the original Banks children. Michael (Ben Whishaw) and his three children Anabel, John, and George – affectionately called “Georgie” – (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson) live in Michael’s childhood home, number 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Playing into Disney’s matricidal trope, Michael’s wife has recently died and he has fallen into a stumbling, depressed, distracted version of himself. His sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), when she’s not working as a labor union organizer, helps him manage the house and the children in her absence, though the children are mostly left to their own devices.

Emily Blunt makes her entrance in typical Mary Poppins fashion: floating gracefully down from the sky, talking umbrella and bottomless carpet bag in hand, just in time to save the day. Though it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, Blunt’s portrayal is practically perfect in every way. From the hard smile to her iconic, sharp, witty remarks, Blunt matches Andrews original portrayal quip for quip.

this “aggressively smiley” remake is sure to please those with small children and fond memories of the original looking for another movie filled from beginning to end with predictable yet heartwarming Disney movie magic.”

— Manohla Dargis

Besides the obvious return of Mary Poppins, the sequel is full of adorable parallels to the original. Rather than jumping into a world created by sidewalk chalk drawings, Mary and the children jump into a world glazed on the side of a porcelain bowl accompanied by a slightly unkempt, cockney-accented fellow, though in the return Jack is a lamplighter rather than a chimney sweep like Dick Van Dyke’s iconic character. There’s also a complexly choreographed number performed by Jack and his lamplighter friends known as “leeries” called “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” that bears a striking resemblance to “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from the original “Mary Poppins.” Mary also introduces the children to another one of her quirky relatives (she takes the children to visit her giddy Uncle Albert in the original), her fix-all cousin Topsy, played by Meryl Streep.

However, the soundtrack is one place where the sequel does not measure up to the original. The songs do not have the same sort of catchiness that the iconic songs, such as “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” from the original do. And none come anywhere near the ear-worm that is  “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

Manohla Dargis for The New York Times sums it up perfectly, “this “aggressively smiley” remake is sure to please those with small children and fond memories of the original looking for another movie filled from beginning to end with predictable yet heartwarming Disney movie magic.”