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CHERRY TREE LANE — Fans have waited a long time to see “Mary Poppins Returns” and the time has finally come. The nanny everyone wishes they had is floating into theaters this week, but will it please the masses, or do you need a spoonful of sugar to get through it?
For me, “Mary Poppins Returns” was nostalgically perfect in every way.
The film is a sequel, not a remake, and highlights Mary’s return to Cherry Tree Lane to help adult Michael and Jane Banks, as well as Michael’s children. The filmmakers have captured the magic and charm of the original and found the perfect replacement for Julie Andrews.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is the movie to take your family to this Christmas and here’s why:
It’s imaginatively magical
As children, we loved watching “Mary Poppins” because it seemed like someone had reached into our brains, laid our imaginations out on film, and then played the contents back to us. We love the original as adults because it reminds us we can still be kids at heart and let ourselves be silly, and it transports us back to that imaginative time that may have left us long ago.
“Mary Poppins Returns” hits those same notes and reminds us why we love Mary’s world. The set pieces, the imaginary worlds, the eccentric characters, the absurd scenarios and the bright colors make for a fantastical journey we wish were a part of instead of just watching.
Just like the original, “Mary Poppins Returns” has music that will have you tapping your toes and singing along, even though you don’t know the words. The film is more or less a retread of the original, but it still manages to feel fresh and new.
For example, instead of visiting Uncle Albert and singing, “I Love to Laugh,” Mary and her counterparts visit Cousin Topsy and sing “Turning Turtle.” Instead of dancing along the rooftops of London and singing, "Step In Time!”, Mary and the new Banks children meet up with lamplighters and sing, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic.”
“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” will make you want to jump out of your seat and dance, and “Can You Imagine That?” will transport you to another world where you can’t help but smile. Other musical highlights include the song “The Cover is Not the Book” and listening to Lin-Manuel Miranda do his unique style of Broadway rapping.
So while the new songs and scenarios mirror those of the original, they feel original and are just as much fun as you remember.
I think this area is what had most people both curious and possibly worried. While most people seem to like Emily Blunt, we all know that filling Julie Andrews' iconic and stylish shoes was going to be a big ask. How could anyone else ever be Mary Poppins? I’ll tell you — someone else definitely can be when that someone is Blunt.
It only took about two lines and a look from Blunt when you stopped comparing her performance with Andrews and just knew that she was Mary Poppins. I’m not saying that Blunt was better than Andrews, nor am I suggesting that Andrews was superior to Blunt, but rather that they’re both Mary Poppins and you can't help but love both of them as the titular nanny.
Blunt is a phenomenal actress and has done everything from action to drama to comedy, and now we know she can also sing, dance and become Mary Poppins.
Along with Blunt, the entire cast is fantastic including the aforementioned Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Colin Firth, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters. Another big highlight is when Dick Van Dyke shows up, but this is Blunt’s movie, and I couldn’t be happier about that. The torch has been passed, and I can’t imagine too many people being upset about that.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is all I had hoped for in a sequel, and Blunt has created all the magic, spectacle and imagination that are Mary Poppins.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is rated PG for some mild thematic elements and brief action. John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. John also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome and it just so happens that these are the three things he writes about.