‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ sets high expectations
by Kia Harlan
graphic by Emily Duong
Endeavoring to bring back the wonder and magic of the original “Mary Poppins” while adding flair with new layers in animation and music, “Mary Poppins Returns” will be in theaters Dec. 19.
Based on P.L. Travers’ many other stories about Mary Poppins, this sequel, made 54 years after the 1964 musical classic, tells the story of the now grown-up Banks children who have families of their own. When tragedy befalls them, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns, reviving their child-like wonder. She helps them to see beyond their bleak circumstances of possibly losing their home and the vacancy left by the death of their mother.
Directed by Rob Marshall, this musical features Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, a London lamplighter, making an homage to Bert the chimney sweeper from the original. The grownup Banks kids, Michael and Jane, are depicted by Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer and Meryl Streep plays cousin Topsy, who is, as her name implies, a bit crazy. A 92-year-old Dick Van Dyke, returns as the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank; he originally played both Mr. Dawes Sr. and the chimney sweep, Bert, in the original “Mary Poppins.”
Taking Julie Andrews’ place now as the modern Mary Poppins, Blunt has large shoes to fill, especially for fans of the original Mary Poppins character. However, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Blunt explained she has worked to adopt Andrews’ mannerisms, voice and personality, to become Poppins while still adding her unique style.
The animation shown in the trailer is reminiscent of old-school Disney’s hand-drawn 2D animation with drawn-on clothing and cartoon illustrations. “Finding 2D animators was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done,” said Marshall in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “A lot of them had to come out of retirement to do the movie.”
Critics cite a mixture of upbeat and melancholy musical numbers, that combine with whimsical animation for this already Golden Globe-nominated follow-up to the Mary Poppins original, which hopes to delight many fans, young and old alike.