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54 years after the original film very released to the world, Disney, who are heavily mining their own back catalogue for remakes and sequels, bring us a new vision of the iconic character. Given the passage of time, it’s only natural that Julie Andrews has passed on the role to a new actor in the form of Emily Blunt. She’s joined here by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, and Colin Firth, and the film has been put together by veteran Broadway performer and director of “Chicago”, Rob Marshall.
The film is set some years after the events of the original. In it, Michael Banks (Whishaw) still resides in the family home on Cherry Tree Lane as a widower with his three children. He is assisted by his sister Jane (Mortimer) and maid Ellen (Julie Walters), but the household is in disarray and the bank are coming to take the house away from the family, despite their pleas to the manager (Colin Firth). This is where Mary Poppins (Blunt) re-enters the family’s life. Michael and Jane are shocked to see her, despite the fact they have seemingly forgotten the more outlandish adventures they went on that we saw in the first film. Mary hasn’t lost her magic touch, and takes Michael’s kids on similar adventures, with some help from lamp-lighter Jack (Miranda), and a songbook full of brand new material.
While I alluded to Disney relying heavily on nostalgia lately, this film isn’t guilty of relying too heavily on the original. It would have been very easy for Marshall and co to just reuse songs from the original, or to have Blunt basically do a Julie Andrews impression, but they have made the wise decision to change things up. It is a bit unusual at the start to hear the new songs and see someone else play Mary Poppins, but that’s probably because most of us have seen the original more times than we can count. Once you get into it though, it’s a really fun family movie that uses some of the same techniques as the original such as mixing live action and animation, but gives it a modern twist. While it will take people a while to get used to this new story, in time it will eventually stand on its own, and people will realise it is a very worthy successor to the original film.
Theses are the sincere and talented words of our man Kevin Dillon, @kevinwriestuff.
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