Mom usually takes me to the movies on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. She doesn’t care for it too much, but she knows it’s my happy place and the rest of the week is spent with her dragging me around to various family events I usually don’t wanna go to. If there’s a musical, that’s usually what I pick for us. Last year, she fought me so hard on The Greatest Showman because she “doesn’t like the circus” but loved it so much, it’s all she talked about for the next three days. This year, the most obvious choice, even if it wasn’t an enthusiastic one, was Mary Poppins Returns.
I’ve never quite gotten the appeal of Mary Poppins. I know some people adore her (I was dragged to the Broadway show by a close friend in Boston, tho it was kinda worth it to see Bert tap dance on the ceiling), I just don’t get it. The original does have some great songs (again, love the chimney sweeps) but it’s on the lower end of Disney for me. I realized, how you feel about “Feed the Birds” determines your love of the film overall. I know people who cry hearing that song, and that’s cool, they LOVE her. I would always fast forward or take a snack break during it.
Anyways, now she’s back some 20 years later or so, still taking care of the Banks children. Although this time, they’ve got their own children to take care of. Jane has moved in with her brother Michael after his wife passed, to help watch his three children. He’s fallen on hard financial times and is days away from losing their home. Mary arrives to help the kids who have grown up too much in the past year to be children and play, while still providing order to the house.
The whole thing was rather delightful. Yes, very juvenile, but still delightful. I found myself chuckling throughout the film, and heard similar reactions coming from mom. I loved the whimsy of it, especially as that extended to the costumes and the set design.
Emily Blunt was simply divine as Mary. She provided her own spin while still making it believable that she was the same person Julie Andrews portrayed. Although to be honest, I was mostly excited to see Lin-Manuel Miranda up on the big screen post-Hamilton. He was all heart and wonder (just like Lin IRL).
There were some fun cameos as well. Meryl Streep chewed scenery in an over the top(sy turvy) silly song. Dick van Dyke appeared and tap danced on a desk. And in a spot that was originally meant for Andrews (who declined, not wanting to upstage Blunt), Angela Lansbury had a moment.
As I’m writing this, Mom calls out to me across the room “I liked the first Mary Poppins better. Did you?” “Yeah, the first one has better music, but this one looked AMAZING, and I love the cast” “Yeah it was good, but still I like the first one”
Mary Poppins Returns – \m/ \m/ \m/