Mary Poppins Returns - film review (4 out of 5)
There's always a sinking feeling when you hear that a timeless classic faces being given a sequel, reboot, prequel or whatever.
It’s unlikely the new project will be another classic, so what will we end up with?
Thankfully, the production team behind Mary Poppins Returns have stuck to what worked in the 1964 original.
And while it doesn’t quite manage to hit the dizzy heights of that first movie, it’s still a great family film that will draw big crowds.
Emily Blunt was an inspired choice for the title role and she’s excellent, along with American Lin-Manuel Miranda as lamplighter Jack (sporting a decent English accent).
Jack, in fact, has a similar role to that of Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in the original.
And it’s not the only familiar feel to the ‘64 original - with tone, use of hand-drawn cartoons and general plot all providing a feeling of deja vu.
Of course there are plenty of songs, and while they are enjoyable enough they don’t quite have the lasting quality that was a feature of the first film.
The cast is strong with Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as the now grown up Banks children, Michael and Jane.
The story sees Michael with three of his own children but having recently lost his wife.
He has also lost his focus and he and his sister face having the family home repossessed.
Time for Mary Poppins to do her magic!
One of the strengths of the new movie is the amazing cast, whether they have cameos or larger roles.
Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and David Warner are all great.
But it’s a joy to see Dick Van Dyke turn up, looking sprightly and belying his years.
The delightful Angela Lansbury also appears, and the original Jane Banks (Karen Dotrice) is cast as ‘Elegant Woman’ .
So an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours and a worthy sequel.
Film details: Mary Poppins Returns (U) 130mins
Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol