Mary Poppins Returns - Is it Practically Perfect in Every Way?

On opening night, my family and I headed out to celebrate the return of everyone's favorite nanny to the big screen.  I have to say we are a big Mary Poppins household and couldn't wait for a jolly holiday this December.  It's important to understand this as I think our intense love of the original may have influenced some of our feelings on this sequel 54 years in the making. So here we go. . .

Mary Poppins returns to 17 Cherry Tree Lane as the Banks family once again finds themselves in need.  Jane and Michael Banks are all grown up and Michael lives in the family home with his three children.  Michael is recently widowed and his family, along with many in London, have fallen on tough financial times.  When those financial struggles literally hit home, Michael and his sister begin searching for bank shares that had belonged to their father in order to bring back financial security.  While they are searching the house, the three kids walk through the park on their way to pick up some groceries.  Instead of finding food that afternoon though, they find a nanny and bring her home. Michael and Jane instantly recognize Mary Poppins from their childhood and the whimsical adventure begins again! Just like in the original, you'll find music, imaginative stories, and life lessons.

There are several things I really loved about this movie.  I think Emily Blunt's performance as Mary Poppins was truly memorable.  She nailed the "cheekiness" of the role as well as the warmth and comedic timing.  I also thought she carried the musical numbers very well.  Now to the banks children - they were adorable!  I loved watching them care for each other, care for their father, and learn how to be kids again through the magic of Mary Poppins.  Several of the songs were also enjoyable additions to the movie including "Can You Imagine That?," "The Place Where Lost Things Go," and "Trip a Little Light Fantastic." But the best highlight of the movie was undoubtedly the cameo by Dick Van Dyke. I seriously think the man doesn't age - to see him dancing around and singing in his 90s is downright impressive and magical!



Now for the things that missed the mark with me.  There is an entire scene reminiscent of when Bert and Mary Poppins jump into one of his sidewalk paintings where Jack and Mary Poppins take the kids and jump into a painting on a bowl.  I didn't enjoy the two songs in this scene - especially "The Cover is Not the Book." While the message behind the song is commendable, there are some lyrics that may raise an eyebrow.  I also felt the costuming here felt "forced" to bring back some original Mary Poppins memories.  And as much as I enjoyed several of the songs in the movie, the soundtrack did not live up to the original in my opinion.  "Turning Turtle," for example, left me confused and checking my watch. . .and I love me some Meryl Streep so that's saying something.

So my final thoughts on the movie, it was OK.  I walked out of the theater feeling good about the film and about life, but I wouldn't put it up there as one of the best I've seen in 2018.  While my feelings on the film wouldn't rate it as "practically perfect in every way," there are plenty of others who have absolutely loved it.  I'd love to hear from you with your thoughts after you have a chance to catch Mary Poppins Returns this holiday season! And check out this FREE activity packet you can download including coloring sheets, games, and bookmarks!

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