THREE AND A HALF STARS The world's most famous flying nanny returns to save the Banks children once again.
Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw
Some 50 years after Mary Poppins (she’s never just Mary) first flew in on a talking umbrella to save the Banks children, she returns again to save the children’s children from, er, the bank. There’s an echo of WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD about the greater narrative but rest assured, MARY POPPINS RETURNS is pretty much a remix of MARY POPPINS, complete with catchy tunes, hand drawn penguins and off-key east-end accents. Even Dick Van Dyke stops by for a cameo, and what could be sweeter than that spoon full of sugar? Well, not much actually.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS is an unashamedly old-fashioned family musical that will, if you’ve a taste for old-fashioned family musicals, not fail to delight. Led by the charismatic Emily Blunt with warm-heated support from Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as the Banks children senior plus cold-hearted support from Colin Firth the bank manager, and no one puts a foot wrong. Even 93 year old tap-dancing Dick Van Dyke, which is impressive.
The production by director Rob Marshall (CHICAGO) is colourful and lively, his reinterpretation of key moments (animated penguins, choreographed lamp-lighters, kite-flying, even Dick Van Dyke) hit their marks in the most cheerful and buoyant way.
Although few of the musical moments make it out of the cinema alive (there’s nothing that measures up to the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious songs and score of MP-1 unfortunately), it doesn’t really matter. Think of MP-2 as less of a sequel and more like an exceptionally well crafted series of scenes that never made the original cut. Consequently it soars like a happy balloon. Chim chim cher-ee, you might say.