A1761C81-DE3D-4FC0-AEEB-07053EE725F9Are we starting at this late stage to mimic sequel titles after Halloween movies? Should we expect The Revenge of Mary Poppins at some point in the future? Mary Poppins Resurrection? Perhaps we should let Rob Zombie loose with it.

Well, if any of that did materialize, at least it would likely be a bit more innovative and surprising than what’s on offer here, which is, by and large, a not-anywhere-as-good rehash of the original. We swap chimney-sweeps for lamplighters, Step In Time with Trip the Light Fantastic, trouble at the bank with trouble at the bank, funny wee animated sequences with slightly different funny wee animated sequences.

Michael Banks is all grown up and now has the voice of Paddington Bear and a caterpillar taped to his upper lip. He’s angry quite a lot of the time because his wife is dead and the bank where he works is about to foreclose on a loan he took out with them, his three kids keep falling over in mud or losing the youngest sibling, and no one keeps off the bloody grass. Jane, played by Emily Mortimer, hasn’t married and has remained close to her brother, and struggles to find a point for being there. Julie Walters turns up thinking she’s in another Paddington movie. Michael’s only hope is finding a lost share certificate of his father’s that will prove he is a share holder in the bank and will allow him to pay off his loan.

It’s a slow and messy start and did nothing but disappoint me. Then, in a wind storm, Mary Poppins, played excellently by Emily Blunt, drifts down from the sky and I started to get interested. Her clipped diction is absolutely on point, but even with her involved, it still managed to fail to live up to expectations at every possible point. By the time we get to the deus ex machina ending, I was just praying we’d get to the credits with as few songs delaying proceedings as possible.

For the most part, I was mostly ambivalent at best about the movie. The songs were okay if a little too reliant on the motifs of the original, same can be said about the dance routines, but for some reason, every time Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Jack appeared on screen, I felt my blood pressure rise. I really hated the performance, the accent, the cockiness, the unbelievable optimism. I couldn’t stand the character and didn’t think much more of any of the other lamplighters.

It’s directed brightly enough by Rob Marshall who knows what he’s doing when it comes to musicals. Costumes, as well as the general look and feel, had a nostalgic glow to them. Where the movie falls flat is the storyline is nowhere near good enough and the songs do little to advance the plot or take us in any new direction. And Jack. Don’t forget Jack. Or do. I really hated him. All this said, if you’re a kid going into this with no real sense of expectations, maybe it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever seen in your life.

I’d love to see Emily Blunt reprise this role with a story fitting of the Mary Poppins name. Whether that’s Mary Poppins H20 remains to be seen.

Advertisements