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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Photo Cred: Disney

Photo Cred: Disney

Photo Cred: Disney

Photo Cred: Disney

Elise Anderson, Copy Writer

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Many people have seen the timeless classic Mary Poppins. In the movie, George Banks is a strict father. He is working all the time and expects his children to grow up to be as hardworking as he is. George’s wife, Winifred, is a women’s activist, so she never spends any time with her children either. Since both of the parents are gone, a nanny is necessary to look after their children. Every nanny has been driven away by the Banks children, Michael and Jane. George decides to put an advertisement in the paper that calls for a nanny. George writes an advertisement and so do Michael and Jane. George is disappointed in his children’s advertisement so he throws it in the fireplace and doesn’t think any more of it. Mary Poppins can see the family is in need of some help, so she decides she will be the one to look after Michael and Jane while their parents are away. The movie is chock-full of happiness and cheer.

Mary Poppins Returns is the sweet story the Banks family in need of some more help. Michael and Jane Banks are now adults. Jane is an activist for the Society for the Underpaid Citizens of England, just as her mother was a women’s activist. She is not married and is dedicated to her work. Michael was married, but his wife passed away. He is now left to take care of his three children, John, Annabelle, and Georgie. On top of all this, Michael is about to be evicted from his house. The only thing Michael wants to work towards is finding a way to save his house. When everything is about to fall apart, Mary Poppins comes to lend a hand to the family.

The producers of Mary Poppins Returns wanted to have many references back to the original movie. This is a wonderful idea. One reference I immediately understood were the neighbors who lit a cannon every hour to signal the new hour. The neighbors were comical and a delight to see again. This was a simple way to make a connection to the original movie.

Other connections were more complex. For example, in the original movie, Mary Poppins is about to take Michael and Jane to the park. On their way there, they come across Bert who is drawing pictures on the sidewalk. Bert shows the children one picture of rolling hills. He and Mary Poppins decide to take Jane and Michael into the picture. While they are there, Disney put in some animated cartoons. It added to the whimsicality of the movie. In Mary Poppins returns, Mary Poppins, Jack, John, Annabelle, and Georgie all go into the picture on their mother’s china bowl. The animations from the original came back while everyone was in the bowl. I loved this way of connecting the original movie to the sequel.

While this movie was good, it had some flaws. The most major one was the character Jack. We were introduced to Jack in an awful way. Mary Poppins thought of Jack as an old friend, but all we knew about him was that he admired Jane when they were kids. The producers of the movie tried to make another connection by comparing Jack, a lamplighter, to Bert, a chimney sweep. Unfortunately, this reference did not make any sense to me. I love the idea of Jack, but he definitely needed a better lead-in. Although the character was badly written, Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of the Broadway musical Hamilton, did an excellent job of portraying him.

Another major flaw was the quality of the music from the first movie to the sequel. How can we forget the classic songs like A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Many songs were recreated in the new film, but none of them had the same charm and catchiness that the originals did. It was a bad idea to try and recreate the original songs, because most of the new songs failed.

“A Cover Is Not A Book” is a song that is supposed to resemble Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but it was one of the many that failed. The children that Mary Poppins is nannying accidentally break their mother’s china bowl. This moment is heartbreaking. These children who miss and love their mother so much break her favorite thing. Mary Poppins decides the children need to go inside the bowl’s picture and see what is inside. While in this world on the bowl, the children, Mary Poppins, and Jack go to the theatre, where Mary Poppins sees her old friends from the original movie. “A Cover is Not A Book” is sung in the theatre by Jack and Mary Poppins. Yes, this song is upbeat and fun to watch, but the song will never match the originality and exciting “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

While most of the songs were not as amazing as the originals, there was one in particular that brought me back to the rooftop where Bert and other chimney sweeps sing “Step in Time.” This new song was called “Trip A Little Light Fantastic.” This was by far the best song in the film. Mary Poppins decides to let the children lead her home. When they get lost, Jack sings the song to the children so they can follow the lights back home. This overall fun song is the only one that has choreography and is the first of two songs I can remember.

All of the actors in the film did a wonderful job. Emily Blunt, who plays Mary Poppins, brought me back to the original Mary Poppins. Blunt had big shoes to fill as Julie Andrews brought the character of Mary Poppins to life in the original 1964 movie. Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer also did a spectacular  job of portraying the original Banks children. They did a great job of showing that adults can be separate from their past, but their inner child can still shine through.

As I mentioned before, Lin-Manuel Miranda also did a good job of portraying Jack. His feature song, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” showed off his Broadway roots as he got to do tricks, dance, and sing. Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson played the children perfectly. We got to see the rambunctiousness and silliness of everyday kids through these actors, but we also got to see disciplined children. They did a great job of developing their character and having depth to their acting.

It was exciting to see some familiar faces in the movie as well. Three of these actors were Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, and Dick Van Dyke. Dick Van Dyke played Bert in the original Mary Poppins, so it was enjoyable to see the familiar faces in this film.

When the credits rolled onto the screen, the audience clapped because of how much they enjoyed Mary Poppins. At the end of the day, this movie is cute, fun, simple, and enjoyable. We were brought back to the eccentric Mary Poppins and all the fun she brought with her.

About the Writer
Elise Anderson, Staff Writer

Elise Anderson is a freshman at Lincoln Southeast High School. As this is her first year at Southeast, Anderson is excited to dive into journalism as a...

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