Se­quel to the fam­ily clas­sic is prac­ti­cally per­fect

Chinchilla News - - LIFE / OUR COLUMNISTS - Seanna Cronin

IF THERE was one clas­sic Dis­ney film that cel­e­brated the imag­i­na­tion and play­ful­ness of child­hood above all oth­ers, it was Mary Pop­pins.

That spirit has been lov­ingly pre­served and up­dated in the long-awaited se­quel Mary Pop­pins Re­turns.

Now be­fore you groan and think ‘Oh no not an­other se­quel’, re­mem­ber it has been more than half a cen­tury since Julie An­drews brought au­thor PL Travers’ mag­i­cal nanny to life on the big screen.

Un­like the plethora of life-ac­tion re­makes that are in vogue (Dis­ney has The Lion King, Aladdin and Dumbo com­ing out this year as well a half a dozen oth­ers in the works), this is a true se­quel with a new story and songs.

We re­turn to Cherry Tree Lane to find the Banks chil­dren have grown up and Michael has three chil­dren, while Jane is a so­cial rights cam­paigner.

The fam­ily is on strug­gle street after the death of Michael’s wife and some bad fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions mean they could lose the beloved fam­ily home.

No sooner does a no­tice of re­pos­ses­sion get nailed to the front door than a gust of wind blows in for­mer nanny Mary Pop­pins, played prac­ti­cally per­fectly by Emily Blunt.

Her mag­i­cal touches trans­fix a new gen­er­a­tion of Banks chil­dren and with the help of lamp­lighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Mi­randa), she del­i­cately guides the fam­ily back on track.

It’s easy to for­give the film for fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar for­mula as the orig­i­nal.

Many of the same char­ac­ters are back, after all, and things in Lon­don haven’t changed that much.

A score of new songs stay true to the orig­i­nal with­out feel­ing like try-hard copies.

Let’s Go Fly A Kite, A Spoon­ful of Sugar and Stay Awake make way for Nowhere To Go But Up, Can You Imag­ine That? and The Place Where Lost Things Go.

With its mix of an­i­ma­tion and live ac­tors, The Royal Doul­ton Mu­sic Hall is rem­i­nis­cent of

Su­per­cal­ifrag­ilis­tic­ex­pi­ali­do­cious and Trip a Lit­tle Light Fan­tas­tic isa homage to the Os­car-win­ning num­ber

Chim Chim Cher-ee but with a mod­ern twist thanks to a mini-rap by Mi­randa, who puts on a de­cent Cock­ney ac­cent.

In­stead of laugh­ter that makes peo­ple float to the ceil­ing, there’s Mary’s cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep) and her up­side-down work­shop.

To­day’s film­mak­ing tech­nolo­gies al­low for some nice flour­ishes, such as the un­der­wa­ter se­quences in Can You Imag­ine That?

How­ever direc­tor Rob Mar­shall is smart to carry on with the look and feel of the prac­ti­cal ef­fects and two-di­men­sional an­i­ma­tion from the orig­i­nal film – pen­guins and all.

PHOTO: JAY MAIDMENT

NEW CLAS­SIC: Emily Blunt in a scene from Mary Pop­pins Re­turns.

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