Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Mary Poppins Returns a work of joy and darn near perfect

Published on

Vicky Sparks

I wore out my VHS copy of Mary Poppins from playing it too much by the time I was 10.

To say I was a fan of the pitch-perfect performance Julie Andrews gave and the world she lived in would be an understatement.

So when I heard they were making a sequel I thought what everyone else thought, “Why-oh-why would you mess with perfection?!” Nothing against Emily Blunt (in fact she’s one of my favourite actresses) but she’s no Julie Andrews – no one is – or so I thought.

It turns out my fears were misplaced because Mary Poppins Returns. Even in this new form she remains practically perfect in every way.

The film is a sequel — NOT a remake — and picks up 25 years after the original, with the now grown-up Banks children (played by Ben Wishaw and Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks’ three young children who have been recently devastated by the loss of their mother.

Mary arrives just in time to see 17 Cherry Tree Lane be repossessed by the bank — unless the family can come up with the money necessary to save it in only five days.

The film follows the general structure of the original with an infusion of joy and imagination. With a quick jump into a porcelain bowl, a visit to an old topsy-turvy Oscar-winning friend (played by the inimitable Meryl Streep), and a street-wide dance with a bunch of lamplighters (affectionately referred to as leeries), Mary once again rights all that was wrong with the world.

Emily Blunt gives a performance that is near perfection as the titular Mary, an incredibly difficult feat considering Julie Andrew’s performance runs through the hearts and minds of almost every child and adult of the past 60 years.

Her Mary is slightly different – a little sassier, a little more vain and perhaps just a touch stricter, but she captures the magic that lives inside her effortlessly.

Lin Manuel Miranda delights as Jack the lamplighter, and his song and dance skills are put to work beautifully in the film’s 14 new original songs. There’s even a quick visit from Dick Van Dyke as an old banker with a little twinkle left in his toes.

Mary Poppins Returns is a work of joy. No hidden message, no political agenda. It exists solely to make you smile, laugh and sing along.

It is the perfect holiday film for families – adults will delight in being reunited with an old friend and children will watch in wonder as they meet the world’s best nanny.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia



More like this