Saturday, December 22, 2018

Mary Poppins Returns - Movie Review

The Movie: Mary Poppins Returns

The Director: Rob Marshall

The Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Jeremy Swift, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Jim Norton, Noma Dumezweni

The Story: Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's children through a difficult time in their lives.

The Review:
Rob Marshall is a really good director who has been responsible for films like Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha. Mary Poppins Returns may be his best work to date. No joke, this movie is amazing in how it immediately transports you to a magical world where anything is possible and you truly believe it. The imagery, the songs, the cast, the colors, the special effects, the music. All of it is put together in a way that looks and feels and sounds like it could have immediately gone into production after the original first became a smash hit success.

The feelings you have while watching this movie are exactly what you want from the cinematic experience and the cast does everything they can to give you all the emotions. Emily Blunt has been one of my favorite actresses for quite some time and I couldn't have been happier when it was announced she would be taking over the role made iconically famous by the one and only Julie Andrews. As anticipated, she is absolutely perfect in the role and, if you haven't already, you will fall in love with both the actress and the character almost instantly. The way she grabs hold of the character and makes it her own while still being spot on perfect to the style and personality that Andrews embodied is an absolute treat to watch and I imagine she may earn some nominations when the time comes.

Lin-Manuel Miranda might just be one of the most talented people working in the industry today. His work in this movie is fantastic although his singing, acting, and dancing skills are only a small part of his ever expanding resume. On Broadway he has been a force for years having created a couple productions you may have heard of including In the Heights which earned him a Pulitzer prize nomination and then Hamilton which he did end up again being nominated for and eventually winning the same Pulitzer prize. He has also worked with Disney before as the composer of the soundtrack for Moana which I feel is one of the best Disney animated feature soundtracks we have heard in quite some time. Did I mention he's really good in this movie, too?

Have I mentioned how Marshall manages to seamlessly weave together musical numbers, elaborate live action set pieces, and animated sequences that never feel forced or out of place? No joke, the whole thing is just filled with that classic Disney magic those of us who have lived a few decades will remember fondly from our respective childhoods. One thing I made special note to remember while watching the movie was how fully engaged everyone in the audience was no matter the age group or other defining demographic, it would have been very difficult to find someone not singing along to the musical numbers or applauding as each one came to an end.

The Verdict:
Mary Poppins Returns is a wonderfully nostalgic adventure that shows us just how entertaining a motion picture can be. All of the Disney magic is there including some captivating musical numbers paired with brilliant performances from Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is one of those movies you will want to watch again as soon as it's over because it's just so much fun.

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