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FilmSoc Reviews: Mary Poppins Returns

Posted by FilmSoc on Tue, 12-02-2019

Michelle Chiperi Aivazova

As I went into the cinema to see Mary Poppins Returns, I felt a warm nostalgic excitement. Almost all adults secretly crave to relive their childhoods through film and literature, wanting to experience something, especially movies, with a childlike wonderment which is almost inevitably lost with age. I, for one, remember watching the original Mary Poppins on a video cassette during rainy days, feeling as if I was being swept up in an adventure every time without fail. I feel as if there is a large trend in cinema today in trying to reignite the wonderment and imagination that we felt as children. However, even with the most outrageous budget and magnificent acting, many of these films fall short of reigniting the magic, especially Mary Poppins Returns.

Ironically, there are many references to the imagination of adults within the films, encouraging adults to let loose and to have a bit of fun and to believe in their own childlike wonders again. This may perhaps have also been directed at the audience. I noticed that every audience member in attendance were all in their late teens and early twenties, clearly showing that the desire to relive childhood nostalgia is a common one.

The production of the movie was spectacular. The sets were colourful and nostalgic, with many shots stirring childhood memories of a familiar place, to where you’ve never been. The acting was quite good, although Emily Blunt’s interpretation of her character felt sarcastic and darker than the original. The original had a softer tone, from what I can remember, so this rendition felt like a betrayal to my childhood nostalgia.

The colours used were certainly one of the highlights of the movie. Each colour popped and set the tone for the scene ahead, with the brightness indicating silently what was occurring on screen, complimenting each scene. The musical score quite wonderfully accompanied the colours in the movie, setting the tone for each scene, making this a movie which was impossible to fall asleep in.

However, I did feel the urge to fall asleep throughout this film. I know a critique of this would be that it is a children’s film, it is disappointing all the same to find it boring, even as an adult. A sequel to a loved children’s movie which is a canonical classic should expect to have audiences of adults desiring a kick of nostalgia as well as children only beginning to have childhood experiences. This is where I find this film to be disappointing. I did not find it memorable in any way, no lasting impression was left with me, only a desire to have a nap and to not have my original memories of Mary Poppins tainted by this film.

Mary Poppins Returns truly stands as an example of the ongoing trend of audiences wanting to relive the nostalgia of childhood and failing to do so. It also stands as an example of the desire in production companies to relive their successful box office nostalgia, which came from the originals.  

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