“Mary Poppins Returns”
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: David Magee, Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, P.L. Travers
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Rated: PG for some mild thematic elements and brief action
SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: Set approximately two decades after the original film, London is in a deep financial depression that threatens to take the Banks Family home unless a miracle can intervene. Enter Mary Poppins.
Review: Although it is likely that I saw “Marry Poppins” in a theater when it was rereleased in 1980, my memories associated with the film are from the various times I watched it on television over the years. Boxed into a small frame, “Marry Poppins” was an enjoyable film, I was particularly fond of “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Step in Time” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” but I never memorized "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and always found the “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)” sequence to be incredibly creepy.
"Mary Poppins Returns" finds the perfect nanny returning to help the Banks children, now grown adults, through a messy financial stretch that threatens to take the family home.
If you love “Mary Poppins,” then I suspect that you’ll enjoy “Mary Poppins Returns.” David Magee’s script isn’t purely a nostalgia trip as it is able to tap into the past without entirely relying upon it, Emily Blunt is enchanting, Lin-Manuel Miranda is engaging, Rob Marshall’s direction is solid, Dion Beebe’s cinematography is wonderfully rich and everything else mostly falls in line.
Where the film stumbles is in the original song category as Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman fall considerably short of the Richard and Robert Sherman compositions that were the heart and soul of the 1964 film. It’s not that “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” or “The Place Where Lost Things Go” are bad songs; they’re just not on par. This is doubly damning when you consider Miranda, one of the catchiest songwriters of his age, is right there to add a melody and turn a phrase or two.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is a good movie. You could argue that its narrative has more substance as it navigates depression era London. Had it been released a decade ago it might feel more relevant. Still, in my estimation, the songs aren’t quite there, but the film is perfectly enjoyable anyway.