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Mary Poppins Returns

by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Mar 19, 2019
Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins once said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. What "Mary Poppins Returns" purports is that the same medicine doesn't quite work anymore. Instead of a helping of magic and whimsy in the Rob Marshall-directed Disney sequel, you're subjected to set pieces straining for the same musical staging that the original had in spades, rarely landing on both feet.

It's been quite a few years since the Banks children were graced with Mary Poppins' presence. Still living in the same house and struggling with debt after losing his wife, Michael (Ben Whishaw) doesn't know how he's going to care for his children if money runs out. Jane (Emily Mortimer), who like her mother is part of a woman's rights movement, can only help so much with her own life taking up much of her time. When the bank is threatening to foreclose on the Banks' childhood home and Michael's children are fretting about how to help, Mary (Emily Blunt) enters the fold once again. Joining in on the adventure is a street artist and handyman named Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) who, you guessed it, has a penchant for singing and dancing.

What struck me as sad about "Mary Poppins Returns" is its entire lack of purpose. I'm not saying that sequel has to share much of the same thematic qualities as the original to succeed, but the sequel is about acceptance and growth as much as it wants to be. The Banks family have fallen on hard times and Mary is there to support them in whichever way possible. Multiple sequences are dedicated to making the family okay with the prospect of being poor because even when you're financially poor, you have a family that'll never let you be emotionally poor. Dramatic notes like this get shoved off in the favor of paper-thin characterization and villainization in an attempt to draw up conflict.

The thing about "Mary Poppins" is that there doesn't need to be conflict. It's an old-timey representation of family values by Disney and "Mary Poppins Returns" is representative of Hollywood cinema's current obligation to plot and conflict. Luckily, Emily Blunt is game for it all and is more than a pleasure to see in the role that Julie Andrew made famous.

Out now on 4K Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray and Digital from Disney, "Mary Poppins Returns" comes with plenty of features to satiate fans of the film. Special features include:

• "Seeing Things From a Different Point of View": The Musical Numbers of "Mary Poppins Returns"
• Deleted Scenes
• "Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns"
• Practically Perfect Bloopers
• Deleted Song - "The Anthropomorphic Zoo"
• "The Practically Perfect Making of "Mary Poppins Returns""

"Mary Poppins Returns"
4K Blu-ray


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