Mary Poppins Returns

Written by Khurshed Batliwala

January 5, 2019

I am so very glad she did!

Mary Poppins Returns is a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hit. At least in my book. I would give it 10 stars on 5. It is so good. It’s the kind of movie we all wonder why they don’t make any more… Well, they did!!

This movie is an out-and-out, old-fashioned, old-school musical. Make no mistake of that. There is a song every few minutes. Someone in the audience behind me moaned – not another song. She failed to see the beauty and the almost inevitability of the music, the songs and the dancing. I, on the other hand, was waiting for more and this movie satisfied every bit of me with its brilliant score.

All is not well with the Banks family. It is London in the 1930s. The Great Depression has set in and even well-to-do folks have a pretty hard life. Jane and Michael Banks are grown up now. Michael is married with three children. Alas, his wife died… Jane has moved away from 17, Cherry Tree Lane but comes around to visit often. She has taken on the cause of the workers of London – quite the activist, just like her mother used to be.

With so many things gone wrong and even more terrible news coming – it’s time for Mary Poppins to return… And boy! Does she!!

Emily Blunt is no Dame Julie Andrews, and to her credit doesn’t try to be. She recreates her own Mary Poppins and does it delightfully. No one could ever match Dame Julie Andrew’s voice in her prime, but the songs that Emily Blunt sings as the new Mary Poppins sings are genius – from the achingly beautiful “Where lost things go” to the almost raunchy “A Cover is not the Book” – I fell as much in love with Mary Poppins as I had with the earlier one… The adventures she takes the children on while they go about their mundane chores are as incredible as before. As “absolutely nonsensical” and whacky as they could get.

The children are adorable, acting their parts out admirably, actually much better than the original Jane and Michael. Ellen, their cook is still with them, as inept as ever. She grumbles much less in this movie compared to the earlier one and provides a lot of laugh-out-loud moments with her sarcastic comments.

Meryl Streep makes a quick appearance, so does Dick Van Dyke aged 92 and he still manages to do a little tap dance and bring such sparkle in the scene he is in.

There is no chimney sweep this time around. There is Jack the Lamp-Lighter and he is the eternal optimist. Nothing gets him down. His songs are full of hope and have a zing in them that will get your feet tapping. Jack and Mary are clearly not in love, though they are very, very good friends. Jack is interested in someone else… and Mary definitely approves.

And watch out for the one-liners from the parrot on Mary Poppins’s magic umbrella 

Without spoiling much, I have to say, this time around, there is an obvious villain. And a nice, slightly scary animated chase through a dark, dark wood… If you have watched Into the Woods, see if you can spot music from there with very different lyrics 

Ultimately the movie is about imagination, gratitude, kindness, love, family and believing in yourself. It has a LOT of music in it, old-school type – you have been warned. My nephew, almost 18, said I am not going to watch it – it’s about a lady who flies down from the sky with her umbrella. He missed 2 hours of sheer, unadulterated joy. If you are like me and enjoy classy music and a warm, innocent story, you will adore it.

Watch it with people you care for, and like me, you will leave the movie theatre with a song in your heart and a few very happy tears in your eyes.

Jai Gurudeva!



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