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FILM REVIEW: MARY POPPINS RETURNS (U)


By Spalding Today Columnist


SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: EMILY BLUNT, BEN WHISHAW, EMILY MORTIMER, LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, JULIE WALTERS, MERYL STREEP, COLIN FIRTH, DICK VAN DYKE & ANGELA LANSBURY

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 10 MINS

DIRECTOR: ROB MARSHALL

“Why, it’s Mary Poppins!”

I have fond memories of watching Mary Poppins as a child. I remember watching it almost every Christmas and it never got old.

How does Mary Poppins Returns compare to its predecessor? I’ll reveal all shortly.

Remember young Michael Banks and his sister, Jane? Well, in this sequel, they’re not so young any more. Since we last saw them, Michael was a painter but has since traded his brushes for a less imaginative job at the bank.

His wife recently passed away, leaving behind three beautiful children - John, Anabel and Georgie.

Mr Banks is the shadow of the person he once was. Understandable, given his current circumstances. To make things worse, he is three months behind on paying back a bank loan, and if he can’t raise the entire sum within a short amount of time, the family home will be repossessed!

Luckily Michael (Skyfall’s Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Shutter Island’s Emily Mortimer) remember that their father has shares in the bank. Something they could cash in to save all their problems. However, they can’t prove this. They’re in a panic. Their lives are falling apart. They sure could use some help.

Wait... what’s that? Up in the air? “Why, it’s Mary Poppins!”

Can she once again save the family? This is well worth the time to find out!

First off, Emily Blunt is a great choice as Mary Poppins. She’s very believable as the ‘super nanny’ we all know and love. Despite stating in interviews that she doesn’t feel she can sing – or enjoys doing so... she certainly can!

And there are plenty of songs throughout the duration of this movie. In fact, everything you could expect from a Mary Poppins movie features heavily – including dance numbers, animation and magic. You could argue that this follows a little too closely to the original. It’s almost a remake – with similar plots and characters appearing.

Sadly it is the songs that are the biggest let down. None have stuck in my mind – nor did they have much of an impact on me during the screening. I remember watching The Greatest Showman and the first thing I did afterwards was purchase the soundtrack. There was not one song featured here where I thought: “I’d really like to listen to that again.”

Overall, Mary Poppins Returns is a victim of its own success. When you compare it to the original, it doesn’t even come close to being as good. However, if I were to judge it on its own merits – which is only fair – this is still a fun family flick that is stunning to look at.

Perhaps with a running time well over two hours, it’s a little too long for the younger audience – but most should get a kick out of this newly-reimagined walk down memory lane.

Rating: 3.5/5 Mikey Clarke



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