MARY POP­PINS RE­TURNS (G)

A SEC­OND SPOON­FUL OF SUGAR DE­LIGHTS IN EVERY WAY

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Beauty -

DI­REC­TOR: ROB MARSHALL (CHICAGO)

STAR­RING: EMILY BLUNT, COLIN FIRTH, BEN WHISHAW, EMILY MOR­TIMER, PIXIE DAVIES

The most im­por­tant thing to bear in mind about the de­light­ful Mary Pop­pins Re­turns is that it is an orig­i­nal se­quel, and not some kind of sec­ond­hand re­make.

The 1964 Dis­ney pro­duc­tion of Mary Pop­pins, star­ring the great Julie An­drews, re­mains one of the finest pro­duc­tions ever cre­ated in the name of fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment.

While Mary Pop­pins Re­turns can­not hope to match its un­de­ni­ably clas­sic pre­de­ces­sor in any given de­part­ment, it does not tar­nish the first movie’s legacy in any way.

In fact, it pol­ishes, broad­ens and se­cures the ap­peal of a won­der­ful char­ac­ter for gen­er­a­tions to come.

The pro­duc­tion de­sign is gor­geous, never once go­ing in for the vis­ual overkill that blights so many modern movies. Same goes for the oc­ca­sional blend­ing of live-ac­tion with an­i­ma­tion, and also a style of cos­tum­ing and make-up that is glo­ri­ously sim­ple and strik­ingly evoca­tive of old-time Lon­don.

Oh, and in case you were won­der­ing, each and every new mu­si­cal com­po­si­tion stands up to lengthy scru­tiny (and in­stant humma­bil­ity) when mea­sured against the im­mor­tal Mary Pop­pins song­book.

This re­fresh­ing new Pop­pins ad­ven­ture is set 20 years or so after the events of the orig­i­nal film, which lands us some­where in the vicin­ity of the Great De­pres­sion.

Sens­ing her no-non­sense fix­ing skills are needed once more by the Banks fam­ily, Mary (charm­ingly played by Emily Blunt) de­scends from the skies via a child’s kite, and gets straight down to busi­ness.

There is a lot that Miss Pop­pins needs to sort out.

Her old friend Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is now all grown-up, and grap­pling with too many prob­lems at once in the wake of his wife’s re­cent death. De­spite the un­wa­ver­ing sup­port from his sis­ter Jane (Emily Mor­timer), Michael is strug­gling to keep a roof over the heads of his three young chil­dren.

Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Ge­orge (Joel Daw­son) have in­de­pen­dently learned that their home could soon be swiped by a con­niv­ing fi­nancier (Colin Firth) un­less some­thing is done, and fast.

What bet­ter men­tor could this plucky trio have than Mary Pop­pins to en­sure that good pre­vails over evil?

Like the re­cent Padding­ton films, Mary Pop­pins Re­turns quickly set­tles into a joy­ous, happy-go-lucky groove that you can’t help but hope won’t be end­ing in a hurry.

Thank­fully, this is one pro­duc­tion where you re­ally do ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­tra screen time and less-fren­zied pac­ing.

EMILY BLUNT STARS IN MARY POP­PINS RE­TURNS, A FILM WHICH SE­CURES THE AP­PEAL OF A WON­DER­FUL CHAR­AC­TER FOR GEN­ER­A­TIONS TO COME.

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