It’s the sequel to the family favourite everyone knows and loves, with a sparkling cast and a familiar message of love and optimism.
Despite much hand wringing about an update of the original Mary Poppins (1964) ruining the legacy, many of the ingredients of the first film are present in Mary Poppins Returns. Emily Blunt channeling Julie Andrews as the quick-witted, strict yet loving nanny, Julie Walters as Ellen, the cook who can’t seem to keep the house running smoothly, and Lin Manuel-Miranda as the cheeky and reliable lamplighter Jack, complete with a dodgy Cockney accent to rival Dick van-Dyke.
The Banks family are in trouble again. Michael, having lost his wife is adrift, and in danger of losing the house. Meanwhile his three children have had to grow up too quickly and are acting as the grownups to their father.
While the songs from the 1964 classic are often indelibly inscribed into our collective brains, the music from the new one stands on its own, with nice motifs and call backs to the originals. Everyone is game for a good time and belt out these songs with conviction.
The dance sequences are impressive, especially the lamplighters display complete with parkour and bike tricks and there is a beautiful sequence blending classic hand drawn animation – which Disney have since stopped producing – with live action, which for an older audience acts as a nostalgic reminder of films from the past.
A quick mention too to the title sequence which is comprised of charcoal paintings of the London skyline and are stunning in their simplicity and beauty.
It may never be as iconic as the original, but Mary Poppins Returns is a loving and lightheaded tribute and perfect for a Christmas trip out.