If Mary Poppins Returns doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you may have some Ebenezer Scrooge in your heart. Or, maybe some Grinch in your soul. Is this sequel as good as the original? No, it’s near impossible to top a classic. Will the music stand the test of time? That, I think, is the true question. The production number for “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is terrific. And, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a true star. I give this movie 4 Gavels and it receives a 79% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Surely, the 70% Audience score disappoints the Disney hierarchy.
Jane and Michael are now grown; Michael, a widower, with three small children. During the “time of the slump,” the family house is being repossessed. Even though Michael works for him, the bank president will not budge. The bank stock owned by their father is nowhere to be found. All in all, it is a gloomy time. The children want to help but need someone to guide them. Out of the “Lovely London Sky” appears Mary Poppins reminding all of “The Place Where Lost Things Go.”
Emily Blunt has the acting chops to be Mary Poppins. The camera loves even the slightest of her facial expressions. Still, she just doesn’t have the voice of Julie Andrews. On the other hand, Miranda brings such a presence as Jack. He is so good that the movie suffers when he is not on-screen. Emily Mortimer is very good as Jane, Ben Whishaw less so as Michael. Colin Firth makes a wonderfully “bad” bank president. It takes a long while to get to Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury but they are worth the wait. On the other hand, Meryl Streep is disappointing.
Mary Poppins (1964) is Walt Disney’s only movie to win a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime. The live-action was so unique for the time. It is no less impressive and colorful here. Director Rob Marshall (Oscar for Best Picture — 2002 — Chicago) does a great job recreating the feel of the original. Some critics call it derivative, while others praise the nostalgia. It seems to me that they are two sides of the same coin. Finally, there is a reason that a Miranda song opens the movie. Someday, I hope to see him in Hamilton. I am certain it will be worth the price of admission. Let’s just say, I can’t wait to see what he does next.