During the last school holidays I took my 3 year old (nearly 4 year old) and 6 year old to watch Mary Poppins Returns.
I loved Mary Poppins growing up. I’ve watched it thousands of times. I’ve even made my kids watch it and reviewed it. (Here is the review of the Original Mary Poppins.) So I was nervous to watch Mary Poppins Returns. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good and probably even more worried that it would be better. I didn’t want my childhood memories and feelings towards the original to be altered. I’m glad to say that after watching Mary Poppins Returns I still feel exactly the same way about the original. Maybe even more nostalgic and happy about it.
Before reading this review you need to know two things:
1. I love Mary Poppins (the original) as is clearly evident from the above.
2. I love Julia Andrews.
Now that you know that you can read the below review with a hint of healthy skepticism.
Mary Poppins Returns
If you’ve never seen the original you’ll love this. It’s beautiful. Bright, filmed impeccably. And it has the grandeur of the old movies with adult orchestra opening to old school credits.
The Plot – without spoilers
A family of three children and a dad are stuck in a poor financial situation. The bank is going to repossess their home unless the dad and his sister are able to find some bank document.
The bank’s lawyers are coming to repossess the Banks’ home on 17 Cherry Tree Lane.
The dad, while kind and loving, has become quite absent minded and serious since losing his wife and has relied on the children a lot. To the extent that the children have matured and forgotten how to be children.
Mary Poppins is required to help remind the children about how to use their imaginations and how to have fun. And to look after the children while their dad goes through this difficult time.
Mary Poppins, together with the help of a friendly firelighter take the children on some amazing adventures.
Developments from the Original
Jane and Michael Banks, the characters in the original movie are all grown up now and the father and aunt of the children in this movie. The family still lives in the same home that they did in the first movie – 17 Cherry Tree Land.
There are so many throw backs to the old movie like:
- The boat house next door. You know the one with the admiral who is always setting off the canon on the hour.
- The adults find the kite they made as children at the end of the first movie.
- The animated penguins make a guest appearance!
Look out for the woman asking for number 19 that’s the original little girl.
There are also a lot of similarities:
- Mary Poppins still has her trademark umbrella and big magic bag.
- The movie crosses between animated and real acting
- Big dance scenes full of choreographed chaos
- A scene from the bank.
- Mary Poppins has the same stature and the same rthymyh of speech.
Things we loved about Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins is happier in this movie.
You know how in the previous movie she doesn’t really smile or act as though she loves the children, she is always matter of fact. In this movie she is much warmer and endearing.
The costumes are stunning, so are the film sets and animation. Really well put together! The creative elements are fantastic.
It’s also got a really great, strong cast! Even Meryl Streep makes a guest appearance.
Things we didn’t really like about Mary Poppins Returns
1. The beginning of the movie is a bit confusing for children – it talks about the repossession of the family home unless the father and aunt can find a certain share certificate. It’s also quite depressing!
2. Jack is no Burt! But Dick van Dyke is in the movie still!! He makes a cameo at the end.
3. This movie is a lot scarier than the first one.
4. The talking and singing is very fast and hard to follow even as an adult. I have no idea what my kids thought was happening.
5. The movie is SO SO long. It really should have been cut. I can think at least two dance / singing sequences that could have been cut out because they don’t take the movie any further.
Will these songs still be sung in 30 years time? I’m not sure.
Colin Firth is the bank manager and he is ominous. He is almost as scary as Nicole Kidman was in the first Paddington Bear movie. (Here is the first Paddington Bear review).
There is a scene when the kids disappear into a vase that they have had in their nursery. They have a wonderful time until there is a bad animal in the vase who comes and steals stuff from the nursery. It is a dark and long scene. My 3 (soon to be 4) year old was petrified.
It’s hard to know what the right age for this movie is.
It’s definitely too confusing and long for my 3 and 3/4 year old. My 6 year old son didn’t really enjoy it either because there was too much music and dancing.
As an adult it was interesting because it was a development on the previous one and I have so many good memories of the first. But for kids, I would say that have to be 5 and above and enjoy music, singing and dancing!
If you have to choose one of the two movies to watch – The Original Mary Poppins or Mary Poppins returns, watch the original!
If it’s on TV and readily available to put on for the kids, then watch it. Just make sure you break it up into 2 sessions.