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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: Mary Poppins Returns will put a smile on your faces

Review: Mary Poppins Returns will put a smile on your faces

January 04, 2019 15:02 IST

It's worth a watch, Aarush S promises.

It's not easy to reboot a perfect classic.

When Julie Andrews floated down from the London skies in Disney's Mary Poppins, she was so impressive that she was named Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

But as Poppins likes to say, 'Everything is possible. Even the impossible.'

So, 55 years after the original, director Rob Marshall -- best known for musicals like Chicago and Into The Woods -- spins off a sequel that makes you fall in love with Miss Poppins and the Banks family all over again.

Mary Poppins Returns takes the franchise forward with yet another story full of heart, humour, adventure and friendship.

But not as much fun.

The story picks up in the mid-1930s in that Victorian house on Cherry Tree Lane during The Great Slump.

Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) lives with his children, Annabelle, John, and Georgie.

Michael’s sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) lives across town but spends a lot of time with the family.

Then, there's Ellen, the Banks family’s long-time housekeeper, played by Julie Waters.

Mourning the recent loss of his wife, Michael has fallen behind on the mortgage payments. Even though he works for the same bank where his father did, the new president Mr Wilkins (Colin Firth) will not give him any extra time to pay up.

Enter Mary Poppins, floating down on a stormy day, ready to calm the chaos.

 

The film's simplicity is its plus point.

Rob Marshall tries to bring together the old world charm, gives it a modern context and spins a colourful, whimsical story.

The filmmaker tries to add his version to the classic tale as well. And so, we have some new twists.

The visit to Uncle Albert, who floated to the ceiling due to his uncontrollable laughter, becomes a trip to cousin Topsy, a delightful segment with Meryl Streep, whose life turns upside down on the second Wednesday of every month.

The role of the beloved the chimney sweep, Bert, is changed to Jack the lamplighter, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who gets the maximum screen time as he charms the audience with his performance.

The film is spectacular technically and the CGI is used effectively.

 

Music is so important in a musical and that's where the film falters.

None of the songs match the original. You will forget most as soon as they are over.

But the sequence where Jack trips a little light with his gang is the film’s best musical number.

At 130 minutes, the film feels long.

Screenplay writer David Magee does not develop the basic premise or invest in the characters.

Of the performances, Emily Blunt fills Andrews’ shoes with her unique approach and is quite earnest. She gives a sassy spin to the character.

Ben Whishaw, as Michael Banks, is extraordinary at showing his emotions.

The children -- Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks), Julie Walters Pixie Davis (Annabelle Banks) and Joel Dawson (Georgie Banks) -- are adorable.

Julie Walters, as Ellen the housekeeper, is charming.

But Marshall's casting coup is Dick Van Dyke.

In the original, the veteran actor played Bert, Mary Poppins's dear friend. This time, he’s a bank bigwig. At 93, he performs a song and dance number that is simply amazing.

For most parts, Mary Poppins Returns will put a smile on your faces and that's why it is worth a watch.

Rediff Rating:

Aarush S