I can’t actually believe it’s almost a month since Mary Poppins returns was released and I only saw it tonight! As the film was originally planned to be released on Boxing Day I made plans to see it whilst in Houston for New Year, however, it then came out early and I wanted to go so bad but thought I’d be a good friend. Then we never even had a chance to go in Houston! Typical!
Anyway, tonight was the night I finally saw it. And I’m actually not totally sure what I thought. I’ll give you a brief introduction and then I’ll share my thoughts.
The Banks’ children are all grown up and the Great Slump has hit England. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) and his three children; John (Nathanael Saleh), Annabelle (Pixie Davies) and Georgie (Joel Dawson), are living in the old Banks house. However, lawyers from the bank come to give notice of repossession of the house in five days as Michael has fallen behind on payments of his loan. Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael are both in a fluster trying to identify how to pay back the loan when the children head to the grocery store. Coming across the Banks’ kite from the original movie; which is now full of holes, Georgie grabs hold of it and is almost blown away when Jack the lamp lighter saves him. Closely followed by the appearance of Mary Poppins who has come to help the Banks’ children (ambiguously leaving us unsure of which children she is referring to).
With the ‘grown ups’ distracted with how to save the house; and the mean old bank president William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth), Mary Poppins, Jack and the three actual children are left to rediscover imagination, fun and adventure.
The feel of the movie is very similar to the original and it is almost like they have attempted to have a new song to match the theme and feel of the original; for example, Trip a Little Fantastic is comparable to Chim Chimeree, Can You Imagine That in place of A Spoonful of Sugar and Turning Turtle similar to I Love to Laugh. But we witness Mary Poppins remind the children that it is okay to have fun and let their imaginations run wild whilst also encouraging Michael to remember the children are just children.
Emily Blunt is; as expected, brilliant as Mary Poppins and I think she was a great option to replace Julie Andrews. I liked that Lin-Manuel Miranda played a new character and didn’t reprise Burt; I hadn’t really thought of it but it totally wouldn’t make sense he hadn’t aged. I had heard mixed reviews about Miranda, but I really liked him! I thought his accent was really good and he was the right mix of charismatic and cheeky. I also really liked that he got a mini “rap”. Then Joel Dawson was just so cute as Georgie; the cute kids always get the credit, I just wanted to take him home. The other children and Jane and Michael didn’t really do much for me though.
There are a lot of celebrity appearances in the film. Meryl Streep plays Mary’s eccentric cousin Topsy; and is really the stand out character other than Mary, Jack and Georgie as she is hilarious and it seems quite out of her comfort zone in my opinion. Angela Lansbury appears as a balloon seller, Chris O’Dowd voices Seamus the Irish cartoon dog and best of all Dick Van Dyke reprises his role of Mr Daws Jr.
It is a genuine feel good film filled with nostalgia, and it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it. But I just cannot put my finger on any parts that I LOVED. I think my expectations might have been to high. Plus, it’s hard to compare it to a film that was already such a major part of so many people’s lives before I had even seen it. I’m also undecided on the music. Usually when I watch a musical there is at least one song that I go away and listen to instantly (or the entire soundtrack in the case of A Star Is Born) but nothing caught my ear, I don’t know if it was because I felt it was too similar to the original. Potentially The Place Where Lost Things Go might grow on me, I guess only time will tell.
I think more than anything I’m disappointed I didn’t come away loving the film. But who knows, I’ll probably see it again and think totally differently. Christmas definitely would’ve been a good magical time to see it!