Mary Poppins Returns - where do I begin. I loved it and I didn't. I so wanted to. So.
From Walt Disney Pictures, directed and produced by Rob Marshall and starring Emily Blunt as the pitch-perfect nanny, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters, with smaller roles for Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury is the movie we were not sure we wanted a sequel of and after seeing it - I'm glad it's here and can appreciate all that is great with it - but I won't be watching it for years to come. Though an artistic accomplishment there is something stil missing.
The movie takes place in the 1930s depression-era London. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters) stilllive on Cherry Tree Lane. Three new Banks children also star: Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson.
Michael is strapped to pay the mortage and is aobut to the loose the beloved fmaily house. Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters their lives to help save the day and once again, Mary Poppins helps the family rediscover joy and wonder of their lives. This version introduces the children and us to new whimsical characters, including Mary's eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryle Streep).
Here is what's great: The set design is outstanding. Very well done. It's well acted. Production is outstanding. Artisitically all is a homerun. The live-action/animation meshes perfectly. The problem is - it never reaches great heights and it doesn't have that magical feeling. The storyline and its trajectory are not here nor there. It is beautiful to look at, don't get me wrong, but the storytelling and more so the songs fall short. The songs are forgetable. Nothing sticks. Nothing. And no SuperCalafragolicious song was a big mistake. Fun to watch the fanciful well produced and danced scenes but nothing stays with you. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote all new songs and Shaiman composed an original score. This all said - it's still a nice movie to take the kids too. It crosses generations - which is wonderful and it does have some charm. Mainly because you're willing it to so badly. You SO want to love it. You want to tap your heels together and be back hanging onto Julie Andrews unbrella. BUT - as GREAT a job as Emily does - you just can't catch flight. It has nothing to do with Blunt. She brings great pizazz to the role and she and Miranda are perfectly case together. Rather - it has to do with - what was on the page, the storyline, the choice of storyline progression and the choice of songs that did not go far enough to truly touch our hearts.So again, it's not bad, it's not weak, it's a visual specitcal of delight - it's just not quite there and no where near equal to the 1960's classic which moved us to no end (even when we watch it today.)
The film is produced by Marshall, John DeLuca and Marc Platt. The screenplay is by David Magee based on The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers.
Go see it, you must, it's a right of passage as an adult to see the new one. You just won't want to go see it again and again.