‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is a magical nod to the original film



Blunt and Miranda pose in a promotional poster. It is reminiscent of the original movie's poster.

Taylor Ann Hartley, Features Editor

“Mary Poppins Returns” is a delightful nod to the cinematic masterpiece that is true to the original “Mary Poppins”. This movie is truly appreciated by fans of the iconic character because they will notice the numerous parallels to the original film.

All those involved in making the movie ensured the preservation of the original film. The preludes and overtures have some of the tunes from the original. There is a momentary appearance of the “bird lady,” and Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) even references or repeats iconic lines like “practically perfect in every way.” The sets are also identical to the original. Disney recognized the great responsibility they had to pay respect to the icon that is Mary Poppins.

The movie takes place years after the original as Michael Banks (Ben Wishaw) and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer), the children from the original film are now adults. He is now a widower with three children of his own. He soon learns that his house will be repossessed by the bank in five days unless he can pay back a loan. His only hope is to find a missing certificate that shows proof of valuable shares his father left him years earlier. As the family loses hope, Mary Poppins arrives to “look after the Banks children,” and take them on their own magical adventure.

The casting was masterfully done, with Blunt’s performance perfectly reflecting Julie Andrew’s original portrayal of the role. She pays homage in her body language and line delivery, not copying but developing upon Mary Poppins as a character. Lin Manuel Miranda plays a new character, Jack the lamplighter. This character is reminiscent of Bert (Dick Van Dyke), the chimney sweep who also befriends the Banks children and leads large-scale musical numbers. These two movies are so special because of the cast and crew’s desire to make them magical.

Every “Mary Poppins” fan remembers the classic scene where the Banks children jump through a sidewalk chalk drawing and enter into a magical land of hand-drawn cartoon characters. In the sequel, some of the very same animators were brought out of retirement to draw new characters in the very same style, but this time, the paintings they jump through are on a bowl.

A few characters’ roles were reprised for the sequel. The banker, Mr. Dawes Sr. (Dyke), returns for a small musical number. In the original movie, Dyke wore makeup to make him appear old, but he has now grown into the role of Dawes so he does not have to wear the old-age makeup. Ellen the maid (Julie Walters) also returns to play the same part.

The soundtrack from the sequel is another way the movie fulfills its fullest potential. The staff brought in a professional to analyze Blunt’s singing to ensure the songs would suit her voice. The composers spent time drawing inspiration from the other songs of the 1930 era (the film’s setting) and from the original soundtrack. Composers also utilized Miranda’s rapping in a few songs, while still keeping in tune with the style of the movie.

The movie by no means surpasses the original, not that it had intended to, anyway. “Mary Poppins Returns” is the perfect companion to its predecessor and will be truly appreciated by all Mary Poppins fans young and old.