Mary Poppins Returns (AU - G/UK - U/US - PG)

In a Word: Refreshing

Mary Poppins Returns

One of the big musical numbers in 'Mary Poppins Returns'.

 

"While a sequel to Mary Poppins was not necessarily needed story-wise, it turns out to be a great way continue the Disneyesque dream that the first one inspired. With lamp-lighters instead of chimney sweeps, and balloons instead of kites, the 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' continuation of Mary Poppins should bring a smile to all."

Taking us back to our favourite house on London's 17 Cherry Tree Lane after 55 years, Mary Poppins' return to the big screen brings with it more magic, more problems with banks, and, of course, more brightly-coloured scenes combining real-life and cartoons. Yes, it's a very similar approach to its predecessor, but with a couple of new characters and songs, it's a welcome refresh bringing with it a sense of the child-like wonder that only Mary Poppins can evoke.

The story takes us back to the Banks family who are once again dealing with some bank-related problems. Michael Banks (played by Ben Whishaw) is now grown-up - a recent widower and father to three, and learns that he is behind on his payments for a loan and must pay the loan back in five days or face the repossession of his house. The only thing that can save him is a certificate showing his father’s shares in the bank, which he, and his visiting sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) then set about finding before the deadline.

Just when everything is starting to look rather hopeless, who should walk through the door but their old nanny, the fantastical Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt). Both hilarity and hijinks ensue, as Mary Poppins once again tries to save the beloved Banks family.

Loosely based on PL Travers’ famous books, this film brings a sense of evolving wonder as the clouds clear over a grey 1930s London and the colours on the screen slowly amplify as the movie progresses. Blunt deftly recreates the proper and slightly mysterious character known as Mary Poppins - not attempting to replace the character played to such acclaim by Julie Andrews, rather enhancing her. And she's ably backed by supporting characters including cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep) and William Wilkins (Colin Firth) as well as a special appearance from Dick Van Dyke (playing the character of Mr Dawes, Jr).

The animated scenes, much like the first movie, add a burst of joy and a break to the plot. Very well done, these brightly coloured segments take place both in a bathtub and a china bowl and come with some great musical numbers. The china bowl sequence in particular is quite spectacular with lovely drawn scenery and some familiar looking penguins. While there is a couple of slightly darker scenes, the animation on the whole is very vibrant and a key nostalgic addition to the plot.

While a sequel to Mary Poppins was not necessarily needed story-wise, it turns out to be a great way continue the Disneyesque dream that the first one inspired. With lamp-lighters instead of chimney sweeps, and balloons instead of kites, the 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' continuation of Mary Poppins should bring a smile to all.