Mary Poppins Returns is a Spoonful of Sugar and More

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Mary Poppins Returns on Blu-ray

ROB MARSHALL has accomplished the rare privilege of getting to direct a classic of the Disney variety. MARY POPPINS RETURNS pops off the screen, with a color palette right out of a fantasy and a soundtrack firmly in tune with the songs from the original 1964 film that gave us such unforgettable songs as "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

EMILY BLUNT steps into the impeccable shoes of the unflappable Mary Poppins, arriving at a time when the two Banks children, Michael (BEN WHISHAW) and Jane (EMILY MORTIMER) have grown up. Jane, like her mother, works to promote women's suffrage, while Michael is a struggling artist who has taken a job at the bank to make ends meet after the loss of his wife. Michael's three children, John, Annabel, and Georgie, do their best to help out, but can accomplish very little when the family learns they have until the end of the week to come up with the money to save their family home before the bank forecloses on it.

While the technology exists to have embellished this film with modern touches, the creatives behind it made the right choice in combining traditional two-dimensional animation interacting with the live-action scenes. The transportation into the china bowl was transcendental, while at the same time containing the only musical number that only slightly spoiled the film (as it is unthinkable to picture the proper Miss Poppins on stage uttering anything with even the potential of a double-entendre, let alone something mildly bawdy).

Naturally it's a happy ending for all involved, with the come-uppance of the ruthless banker (COLIN FIRTH) and a welcome guest appearance by DICK VAN DYKE who can still "trip a little light fantastic" with the best of them.

Other notable appearances include MERYL STREEP as Mary's cousin Topsy, and ANGELA LANDSBURY as a balloon seller. And, of course, none of the action could happen at all without the assistance from Mary's friend Jack (LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA), the lamplighter who stands in for Bert the chimney sweep in this musical fantasy.

Walking into a sequel to a classic, especially one that is so iconic after so many decades since last revisiting it, can be daunting, both for the creators as well as the audiences. The cast and crew can rest assured they have delivered a loving masterpiece that stays true to the original. Fans of MARY POPPINS can breathe a sigh of relief and settle in for a seamless and magical continuation of a story that, even after all these years, is practically perfect in every way.

4.5 / 5.0