Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Mary Poppins Returns
Director: Rob Marshall
Writer: David Magee, Rob Marshall, John DeLuca
Based on: P.L. Traversbooks
Sequel to/Remake of: Mary Poppins
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Jeremy Swift, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury
Seen on: 19.12.2018

Many years ago, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) stayed with the Banks family to take care of Michael and Jane. Now Michael (Ben Wishaw) is a father and widower himself and he and Jane (Emily Mortimer) try their best to provide everything Michael’s children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson) could need. But they are struggling, emotionially and financially. So Mary Poppins makes a return to the Banks’ home to help them once again.

Mary Poppins Returns is nice enough, but it didn’t really make me happy, given that it doesn’t really know if it is a remake or a sequel, makes some questionable choices, and generally it just doesn’t hold a candle to the old film.

The film poster showing Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt).

Of course, it’s not an easy challenge to continue such an iconic film like the original Mary Poppins. And the film is very clear about not wanting to be a remake, but a sequel – with actually incorporating the child characters from the original, now grown. But at the same time, they follow the template of the old film down to the smallest things, making it feel much more like a remake – and a lesser one than that. I think it would have gone over better for them if they had deviated a little more, leaned a little more on the sequel angle and did a little more of their own thing.

Because as is, you can only compare everything all the time and here, the new one just doesn’t really stand a chance. Especially when it comes to the music – it just really isn’t as good as the old music. Far from it. And of course, it’s a nice hommage that Lin-Manuel Miranda continues the very bad accent that Dick Van Dyke introduced back when he played Jack, but the accent was so incredibly annoying to me (I was blessed to grow up with the German dub) that I just wanted to slap him whenever he opened his mouth.

Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) jumping with the three Banks children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson).

But that’s not the only bad choice the film makes. There is a scene where Mary Poppins actually sings a raunchy song – and in what world would Mary Poppins ever do that? Definitely not in mine. But even worse than that is the scene inside the bowl where the kids are suddenly in actual danger and Mary Poppins is not only not there, she isn’t even aware of what’s going on. Mary Poppins not in absolute control? Mary Poppins pretty much being negligent? I don’t know what Mary Poppins you know, but it’s certainly not the one I grew up with.

It’s not that the film is bad – far from it. Emily Blunt is really good, and she definitely has the toughest job here. Colin Firth had a lot of fun. The sets and costumes were beautiful. The nods towards the old film were very nicely done. I did enjoy watching the film. It just didn’t make me very happy.

Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) performing with cartoon animals.

Summarizing: I’d rather stick to the old film.

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