Review: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ with a magical and musical extravaganza

Our favourite nanny is back! And how! Mary Poppins Returns is an overwhelming musical extravaganza with abundance of nostalgia. The film actually takes you back to the time of ‘Great Slump’ and shows the consequences it had on a certain community of people. Directed by Rob Marshall, Mary Poppins Returns is ready to create a stir with her amazing act and great CGI work, done with grace. Under the supervision of production VFX supervisor Matt Johnson and Luma Pictures, TPO VFX, Framestore and Cinesite, the magic of Poppins’ world has been created. Mary Poppins Returns has 54 years in making after its original predecessor made a mark in the history of animated classics. The film is a burst of old-school-charm of Disney musicals that stormed the golden era of Hollywood. The film begins with Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) singing his way under the Lovely London Sky that instantly sets the mood of the film. Cut to, the Banks family struggling to make ends meet and pay off the huge loan against their house that Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) had taken. The only thing that can save them now is a share certificate that their father (Michael Banks’ father) had saved for them. Both Michael and Jane Banks relentlessly search for it among the abandoned things of the house, as time ticks away. The three Banks children- John (Nathanael Saleh), Annabel (Pixie Davies) and George (Joel Dawson) try their every bit possible to help their father and in a kite-chase run on the way to the grocers, encounters the prim-n-proper, beautiful and mysterious Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) gliding down the sky with the kite in one hand. And thus, begins an adventurous and joyous ride on the roller-coaster of life. As the movie unfolds, the Banks kids and Mary Poppins’ chemistry goes to another level when Poppins transports the kids to different worlds. The bath tub sequence, which takes us all to the underwater world, along with the kids and Poppins herself is amusing and just the start of a marvellous adventure ahead. The fantastically created VFX are not just amusing for the kids but will bring joy to the elders as well. Dolphins, sea beds, ships and a whole lot of sea world welcomes all with open arms. With time slipping by, John and Annabel plans to sell off a priceless chinaware to help their father while George resists them. The following sequence is artistically created using the 2D animation technique which ports one to some fairy tale. The whole thing kicks off after the new generation Banks children break the 19th-century whirling bowl (made by Royal Doulton China), and their new nanny Mary Poppins finding a rather innovative way to fix it: she spins them along with Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda’s) into the bowl. The touch and smell of the book can almost be experienced with the intricate 2D work created by the artists. The Royal Doulton sequence is fun and magical at the same time, leaving no creativity unturned. The film is a colourful collaboration of animation and live-action taking place in the 1930s. The viewers get a chance to jig and jive with the animals in the Royal Doulton music hall with a breathtaking musical number. The use of traditional, hand-drawn animation pays homage to the 1964 original. The song sequences are arranged and executed in such a way that will swing one of their feet.  Another exciting sequence comes lively when the gang visits Poppin’s cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep), to mend the broken china bowl and witness her flip-flopped world. Streep performs a musical Turning Turtle in her upside down home and realises how one’s perspective on seeing the world can change things and bring light to the otherwise dark chapters in one’s life. The VFX created for this sequence are quite remarkable and add a silver lining to Streep’s undoubtedly good acting skills. Not to forget the quirky handle of Poppin’s umbrella, who talks wise! With the talking umbrella, Poppins not only gets smart advises but also a good flight whenever she needs to solve missions, which are actually quite impossible, but not for her! Blunt steals the show and kind of makes Mary Poppins her own. She is pitch perfect as Poppins in her charisma, wit and charm. The look of the film is commendably crafted with every intricate detail taken care about the vision, treatment and final outcome. Miranda kind of contributes an important part to the heart of the film. The children are amazing in their respective parts and leaves the audience asking for more! But what stands out in the film is the message that it spreads without being preachy in a fun and frolic way. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest in spite of the stormy days and nights. The darkest nights ultimately lead to the brightest dawns if one chooses to hold on and not lose hope. And it’s perfectly fine at times to indulge in funny things that makes no sense and look for the magic inside us. This lesson from our beloved nanny is what will stay on for generations to witness, until she comes back again after some 25 years or more, to marvel us and make us believe in our own created happiness!