#REVIEW: “MARY POPPINS RETURNS”
Review by Mr. Will Wong
Picking-up some 54 years after the magic of its predecessor, Mary Poppins Returns and she comes as our saviour once again in our time of need! Emily Blunt is just perfect like the Film’s titular heroine, proving some Sequels really are warranted!
The Story follows siblings Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) Banks who now are grown-up. Michael loses his wife and is left to care for his three young children Anabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), Georgie (Joel Dawson) and with his home facing repossession, he is caught in a serious predicament. Never shy of trouble, thanks to youngest child, the curious-minded Georgie, the three children are on the verge of catastrophe. Then Mary Poppins descends from the skies with her never-ending bag of magical wonders, enabling this family to find themselves in their time of great difficulty. True to form she pleads ignorance to all the magic, but always with a knowing wink. Michael must save his home and has just five days to gather the funds to William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth), President of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, which also happens to be his employer. Together with the help of his sister, children, Mary Poppins and her friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), we go on a whimsical ride to save Michael‘s home.
Rob Marshall soars in transporting us away to a wondrous place and time, stylizing Mary Poppins in a way we never could have before imagined. Cinematographer Dion Beebe reunites once again with Marshall, having achieved Oscar-winning success with 2002’s Chicago and we are dazzled not only by visuals, but spectacular costumes, choreography and singing. One of the Film’s musical centerpieces, the tune “The Place Where Lost Things Go” truly is affecting and you will be in awe at a showstopping number featuring lamplighters with Lin-Manuel Miranda front and center. A gorgeous blended live action-animation sequence pays tribute to the Film’s predecessor and Walt Disney himself would be proud.
Miranda‘s performance is a real revelation for those of us outside the Broadway world oblivious to the phenomenon that is Hamilton and all its accolades. He nails some demanding choreography with a scalpel’s precision and while his role as the non-threatening Jack veers more to a supporting capacity, he fills the screen with great luminance. Emily Blunt is flawless as Mary Poppins, embodying her perfection, unwavering calm and dignified grace, more than ably owning the role. This by no means is an easy feat considering the world’s universal adoration of Julie Andrews and her icon status in the prior. Her mastery of the song and dance required for her role is laudable, showing us uncovered talents. Ben Whishaw while not given quite as much as Blunt and Miranda, is captivating as Michael in his mounting worries, as is Emily Mortimer, who is a radiant Jane. The trio of child actors, Davies, Saleh and Dawson are enchanting and lovable and we are floored by their polished professionalism. And did we mention jawdropping appearances by Meryl Streep and Dick Van Dyke?
We can’t think of a more uplifting way to spend the Holidays. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release MARY POPPINS RETURNS Wednesday, December 19, 2018.