I’m a little behind on this one I know; there are a lot of Disney fans and Netflix fans out there (Props to my Peeps!). But let me save you a little effort if you have not seen the new Mary Poppins Returns movie, which is featured on Netflix this month…don’t waste your time.
I tried to watch it last night and couldn’t even make it through the whole movie. About two thirds the way through, my viewing companion looks at me and says “turn something else on if you want” and she is a huge Disney & Mary Poppins fan.
Emily Blunt plays Mary Poppins. She looks the part and her voice sounds pretty good, but the movie still suffers from a poor script. And the music, where is the music styling from the original? The songs that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
The movie was just missing that innocent magic of the first one. The music was lifeless, without any sort of hook. The segues were clumsy – an example was when they showed a beautiful leaded glass door close and next you see blurred fire on the glass. It appeared as if the door suddenly combusted and Mary didn’t notice. The fire was the segue into the next scene of the lamplighter lighting lamps.
Then there was Jack the Lamplighter, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who took the place of our adorably lovable chimney sweep Burt, Dick Van Dyke in the original movie. Jack seemed like he was struggling to be the new Burt and to sound as much like Dick Van Dyke as he could, instead of letting the character be his own character. His accent was dodgy but his singing was decent.
Following the lamplighter sequence, we find Mary and the children following Jack as he lights his lamps until Mary climbs onto a lamp and it lowers like an elevator into the sewers. The children and Jack slide down the lamp pole into the sewer and follow Mary into an area that is filled with street lamps and Lamplighters. I don’t know about you, but why is there street lamps in a sewer, let alone a bunch of them only four feet apart? From here you guessed it, a song and dance breaks out, which felt like another poorly contrived ripoff from the first movie and again lacking any real catch to the song.
The first Mary Poppins movie had that light, fun feel to it with its age of innocence and a disconnected busy family. Mary Poppins Returns is set with a grown-up Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) as the widowed father of three children. He and his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer ) are desperately trying to save their childhood home from foreclosure while the villainous bank president wants to grab it out from under him.
While the animation and special effects in this movie are fun and reflect the stylings of the original, the dry story and the lifelessly droning music make it a bore. I wouldn’t recommend this movie unless you are having trouble sleeping, in that case this movie makes a great sleeping pill. I give it 1.5 stars out of 5 and that’s only because of the animation and the sets, which by the way some of them look like were taken from Harry Potter.
That wraps up another Reptile’s Random Review.