In light of new year’s resolutions, we together should go back to when the impossible became possible, way back when Jesus walked earth (ahem, water) to prove himself as God’s son by breaking the laws of physics and the Pentateuch. As an attempt of recreating that, for temporary entertainment, Disney revisits P.L. Travers’ Jesus figure she brought to humanity. The big Mouse House still hasn’t quite mastered how to produce live action feature films, meaning Mary Poppins Returns deserves no spot inside anyone’s wine cellar due to its absence of a story in order to showcase bad lip syncing, as well as other horrors of cinematic musicals.
The elements of this reality center around Michael, now a grown up widower with three children, who must pay off a loan or else lose his father’s home. It’s not at all worth caring for, since this potential homeless life leaves the three children unphased; I doubt they’d even run in fear from the Return to Oz wheelers—they’re that dull. That reality tries to combine with the whimsy too grounded in smelly parts of below to be funny, particularly when it comes to the bits with Admiral Boom. Then after two hours of hearing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fake accent that sounds worse than Dick’s, the end takes on a thriller vibe driven by Colin Firth, an evil villain with a Cruella Deville cackle.
That’s why Mary Poppins returns, to help the family through something they easily could solve on their own. Rather, her only purpose is to teach kids dangerous games in a bathtub that for sure would cause death by drowning from toddlers who watch that scene and want to imitate it. The three offspring of Michael are in fact the ones who save the day for the grown-ups, something that would make parents watching roll their eyes; for any youngster that smart may as well crank their heads a full three-sixty then vomit pea soup. Except you won’t hear yourself shout, “the power of Christ compels you,” since the stereo blasts much louder than your own thoughts! While my mom and I were watching this, she had to cover her ears, and I wanted to, not just to block out the painful stereo, but because Michael sings worse than the witches of Hocus Pocus, making every one of his scenes that much more painful!
Although the good tunes try their best to remedy the pain, right from the exciting overture heard behind a series of rough London paintings. Marc Shaiman (The American President) heals the senses as his melody generates the spectacular tune of everyone fitting on a single bike, or even when the home of Mary’s cousin Topsy turns upside down. While many songs are bland, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” manages to reach improbable levels of fun, relative to the rest of the film that is, although not like the legendary tunes of the original. Although not as strong, Emily Blunt does her best to capture the pacing of Julie Andrews’ iconic role by continually denying the adventures she has with the kids.
Those details leave relatively miniscule scars—all else penetrates pretty deep. Mary succumbs dancers less organized than the hysterical housemaid of the original movie, and with a sense of chaos that feels like life flashing before the eyes. A vertigo camera effect used at one brief point in the horrific climax means Cherry Tree Lane looking better than before matters none; the attempts to spark nostalgia fail from certain abuse of modern filming techniques.
Another huge reason for that disloyalty to the source material comes from the casting: Meryl Streep’s obnoxious accent literally seems unsure about which side of fantasy to express, she resorts to the anti-fantasy of a surfaced trout‘s blub-blub-blub. But the biggest reason for the disloyalty lands on the screenplay; nothing that ever happens, not even a china bowl adventure where a wolf steals one of the boys‘ stuffed giraffe, inflicts change on anybody or anything. After all the chaos happens, a deus ex machina renders everything throughout the entire film pointless… and just to make room for a High School Musical type of ending that teaches young innocent minds to stay self-indulgent on their dreams.
Really, what’s the point of these excessive musical numbers if they’re just going to be as obnoxious as a Cheetah Girl concert? There’s even a cabaret number to divert the familiar old Mary Poppins essence, hence why the people responsible behind this sequel forgot why the original became a classic. Highly doubtful they even care about the earliest memories of so many who grew up with Mary Poppins.
I as one came to love the original Mary Poppins over time due to its profound themes of a family’s interpersonal distance. To make things worse, Disney may target another property this coming year to fudge up. Ignore the way Mary Poppins Returns has made P.L. Travers roll over in her grave. Look instead toward a man who walked on the sea, died, came back, and flew up to heaven; that there give incredible rewards beyond diving backwards into a soapy tub.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Mary Poppins Returns. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/mary-poppins-returns>.
Tapley, Kristopher. “Oscars: Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins’ Returns, at Just the Right Time.” Digital image. Variety. WordPress, 18 Nov 2018. Web. <https://variety.com/2018/film/awards/oscars-disneys-mary-poppins-returns-at-just-the-right-time-1203031853/>.