Loved it - and I mean loved it! This had so much to live up to, being a sequel to one of the most iconic films of all time, one which everybody knows and knows well, yet it rose up to the bar and cleared it, pretty faultlessly re-creating the style, whimsy and exhilaration of the original, with fine casting, and embracing a clutch of big production numbers which I wished could have gone on and on. In fact none of the songs really outstays its welcome - music by Marc Shaimann [of 'Hairspray'] and lyrics by Scott Wittman with Shaimann - all uncannily close to the spirit of the Sherman brothers' creations, whether reflective ballads or infectious toe-tappers. (The surviving Sherman brother, Richard, is one of the consultants on this).
I'd been trying to avoid seeing or hearing any reviews of this but did accidentally catch a glance at one which carped that the film "never really takes off" (I beg to disagree) and that you won't come out humming the tunes (wrong again!). For the mountain of expectation it has to climb I'd say that it could hardly have been improved on.
Emily Blunt in the title role is a bit more convincingly stern and school-ma'amish than as portrayed by Julie Andrews. Her singing and dancing are not a jot less than impressive.
Lin-Manuel Miranda (whose name I hadn't known pre-'Hamilton'), in his first major film role, is a highly appealing lamplighter Jack, every bit as screen-stealing as Blunt, and enjoying with clear relish his song and dance numbers. To my ears he makes a good stab at a Cockney accent, not anything like as jarring as Dick Van Dyke's. Whenever the original Poppins film is mentioned it's been compulsory for the last fifty years, at least in this country, to mention Van Dyke's misfiring attempt at the accent. I trust that Miranda's much more honourable effort won't get the same laughing, dismissive reaction.
Ben Whishaw plays (child) Michael of the earlier film a couple of decades further on, now widowed but with three young children, while Emily Mortimer plays his sister Jane who's moved in with her brother (subsequent correction: She's just popped in to help). - and Julie Walters as their maid appears again in one of those fill-in roles to which she seems to be consigned in her later years.
Whishaw (who actually has a song!) is a rather dour Mr Banks, not quite the martinet that David Tomlinson was as his father, but very staid, which is hardly surprising considering that he's only just lost his wife and discovers that he's about to lose his house, thanks to his deceptively evil bank boss Colin Firth. (Boo! Hiss!).
There's also David Warner as the Banks' neighbour, navy obsessed and roof cannon-firing on-the-hour - and in addition there are three other big names, only one of which appears in the opening credits. If you don't already know who these are (though I did) I'll hold it back as I wouldn't like to spoil the surprises.
Criticisms are few. The first song (from Miranda) appears before the opening credits and although it's fine in itself I think it might have done better by being an upbeat number to grab you by the lapels and draw you in. Then the second song is Whishaw's, rather nondescript and melancholy, especially when compared in hindsight with the jolly and fun moments to come. But once the film gets going there's no holding back, and it really is an unalloyed delight.
As in the first film, there are two musical sequences here where animation appears alongside live action, this time perhaps slightly less cross-involving than it was before, though nevertheless still immensely enjoyable.
Btw: There's no equivalent in this film of the 'Feed the Birds' song, which some may miss as I did, though that tune does appear briefly as background soundtrack towards the end.
Director is Rob Marshall ('Chicago', 'Into the Woods') who draws out perfection all round. I'm sure his contribution to the choreography was considerable and he does evince some breathtaking precision in some nifty movements, all completely in tune with the earlier film's conception.
If this is to be my final film of 2018, as looks possible right now, the year could hardly go out on a more positive note. A most happy experience which I'm delighted to push................8.
(IMDb..................7.6 / Rott Toms...............7.3 )
5 hours ago
Wow...who knew it would be that good. When I first heard of it, I was like do we really need another remake or sequel?ReplyDelete
There was a good chance that the risk it took would would fall flat miserably, M.M. I can confidently say it doesn't. Nonetheless there are dissenting views so there's a chance that some may well be disappointed. But I'd suggest that if you're curious do give it a go - and, like me, you might come out of the cinema riding on a cloud.Delete
I'm so glad you liked it, I want to see this, the commercials looked good so I was hoping it actually is that good.ReplyDelete
I find it hard to fathom why any fan of the original would NOT like this, S, though there are already some. I'd say it's every bit as good as the trailer makes it out to be, probably even better.Delete
I'm going on SundayReplyDelete
If it disappoints you, JayGee, I don't know what I'll do. So please don't let it.Delete
Well, I didn't have high hopes for this because the original was just so wonderful, but,on your review, we're going to see this one!ReplyDelete
Although you should see this on its own terms, Bob, there are enough warm nods to the original to make you favourably disposed towards it. One of those rare films which I well might see again while it's still on cinema screens.Delete
Wow! If Raybeard says it's worth seeing, I will see it!ReplyDelete
I know you'll appreciate it, Mitch. Enjoy!Delete
I'll go in the next day or so. I didn't read what you said but I saw your 8. Wow 8! It will be in your top 3 for the year I would guess. I am expecting to like it having seen the trailer a few times.ReplyDelete
It'll certainly be in my Top 10, Rachel, which I'm now compiling - and very likely in the upper echelons of it. The trailer captures fairly the film's essence so you ARE going to like it.Delete
I liked it once it got going. In the first 30 mins I thought "what am I doing here?" Then it got better and better. I found it very uplifting and loved the ending.Delete
Until Mary Poppins herself appears after getting on for half an hour, the kids in the audience had started fidgeting, talking and using phones, but after that they they were caught up in the ride and what a ride it is! Pity that it takes its time to get out of first gear, when they could have avoided that. Pleased that once it started in earnest you seem to be have been as thrilled as I was, or at least nearly as much. It really is an uplifting film.Delete
I was glad I didn't leave half way through as I nearly did, it certainly does improve later.Delete
Feed the Birds has always been one of my favorites, that and I Love to Laugh, with the great Ed Wynn!ReplyDelete
While, sadly, neither of these is replicated, Dave, there are compensations, notably the grand Music Hall number which is sheer, 100% joy, as well as an underwater sequence, nodding at a similarly located song in Disney's 'Bedknobs'.Delete
I think that 'Feed the Birds' has been a favourite song and tear-inducing sequence for many, including a lot who'd rather not admit it. (It was the special favourite of Disney himself, of course) .............'Feed the birds. Tuppence a BEG - tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a BEG'.
I think you'll be pleased that this new film doesn't try to rival the original, but comfortably complements it. And the way the soul and style of the old songs have been resurrected through the new is a marvel.
I can't imagine you not liking this.
RTG and I are thinking of seeing this on xmess day. reviews over here were disappointing (2.5 out of 4 stars). but reading your review, I second mitchell!ReplyDelete
I'm starting to read the reviews now, W.Q., and though some are rather sniffy there seems to be a others who are giving this points on a number of levels. For anyone like you whose cinema visits are a comparative rarity, you could do much, much worse than making the effort to see this on a big screen. If you can, do give it a chance. It ought to lift your spirits like a kite - or a balloon.Delete
(sings) let's go fly a kite, up to the highest heights...Delete
I was intrigued by this film and now that I have read your review I will definitely see it.ReplyDelete
I hope my role in helping you decide to go will turn out to have been rewarding, Carol. It deserves to be so.Delete
I had to watch it in German which was disappointing. Even German speakers struggled with it. Why didn't they at least keep the original songs! The version you saw sounds 100% better.ReplyDelete
You mean the songs, as well as the dialogue, were dubbed into German? If so isn't that rare? When I lived In Germany in filmed musicals the songs were always left intact in English while only the spoken word was changed. (I do so dislike dubbing anyway at any time. Subtitles are far better).Delete
It's a shame for you because this new film is really something special. I hope you catch it to experience in the way it was intended.
Mary Poppins was my first film ever.ReplyDelete
I will abjure this one fearing it could be my last film ever and I would end up on LORE.
(After having looked up what 'LORE' is). Faint heart never won fair lady, Dr Spo - it's been said to nil effect!ReplyDelete
We saw it in a cinema full of families, and everyone really enjoyed it. We gave it a round of applause at the end. What a wonder Dick Van Dyke is!ReplyDelete
There was after-applause when I saw it too, D, fully deserved in my view.Delete
I wonder how many will have recognised Dick v.D. One needed to have known it was him to really appreciate his presence.
I'm pleased we're on the same side.
I thought Whishaw was the best thing in it. His song was incredibly moving.ReplyDelete
Blunt's performance as Poppins was gracious as she didn't steal the film.
The children were gloriously cast
Interesting view on Whishaw, JayGee. I felt that both he and Emily Mortimer didn't have roles in this that allowed them to jump off the screen as their two leads did.Delete
I could have done with fewer kids, though two would have made it too like the first film and one would have risked it drowning in sentimentality. But I have to confess all three did grate on me a bit.
I also liked that Emily Blunt didn't dominate the film, but was willing to share.
I have enjoyed all your reviews Ray and would just like to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year. XReplyDelete
Many thanks indeed, Carol. I'd like to wish you and yours the same and much more. 'See' you in 2019.Delete
RTG and I saw this movie today.ReplyDelete
my personal feelings: music numbers too long, too damn much computer generated images, I had to wait til the end of the film to see dick van dyke, and emily blunt isn't julie andrews.
the surprise twist at the end was nice. and colin firth (rawr) played a bad guy. meryl streep's character was excellent.
RTG is going to write his thoughts in a blog post.
I disagree on nearly all your points, W.Q., but that's the way it goes. If I'd have had my way there would have been MORE music, and longer songs too!Delete
Of course Julie Andrews was going to be practically impossible to follow but I did approve of Emily Blunt giving the character a harder edge.
I wasn't so sure about Meryl's section. Always good to see her, definitely, but the character seemed to tip the film in the wrong direction.
To attempt an almost insurmountable task of living up to the original, I think the whole production came out laden with honours.
I still love ya anyway, raybeard. this is what makes the world go round.Delete
Not sure if you go back to old reviews but thought I'd add my two cents...just saw this & absolutely loved it. Just loved it, start to finish. Emily Blunt was wonderful; made it her own. And Ben Whishaw to me was just lovely; I thought that first song was so touching. And Dick Van Dyke & Angela Lansbury? Two of my favorites of all time, so I'm biased. The only part I honestly did not care for was Meryl Streep's. I do like her but that scene was just off to me.ReplyDelete
I don't comment often but check your blog every day to see what you're reviewing & any other excitement in your part of the world.
Very, very belated Happy New Year's to you!
I wish you too all and only the very best for 2019, Elle. Thanks for doing the same to me first.Delete
As you know from above, we are of the same mind regarding this film. I also thought the Meryl Streep scene was an uneasy fit, though I do always love to see her in anything at all.
I wasn't so sure about Ben Whishaw in this but the stand-out for me (apart from Emily B.) was Lin-Manuel M. who, on his every appearance, lifted the film higher than it already was - though I know that he annoys some.
I'm also liking the songs even more every time I listen to them. I only hope they achieve anything like near the popularity of the originals. I doubt they will though, despite deserving to be so.
It was great to see Angela L. again - on this which could well be her final screen appearance? Not heard anything myself, but considering her age.....
Was going today to a screening of 'Stan and Ollie' for us 'oldies', which has been getting some very good notices, but it seems that it's sold out. Later in the week, then. I hope.
Also coming up, probably seeing next week, is 'Mary Queen of Scots' but, oh dear, it's yet another of those epic length films I so tire of. Still, have to go.
I adored Lin-Manuel from the first moment I saw scenes from Hamilton. He is simply divine. I read an interview w/him recently where he talked about how he was such a huge fan of Dick Van Dyke's for forever, so to work w/him was such an honor. A lovely thing to say.ReplyDelete
I try and support my little local theater; nothing playing there of worth, except Vice, which I cannot force myself to see. I have dreadful memories of that time period and that man; no matter what, the movie will leave a bad taste in my mouth, especially given the current dreadful times we're having here politically. Another one showing is the Spiderman Into the Spider Verse movie. I know it has gotten wonderful reviews but don't think it's my cup of tea. Will have to wait until next week, I think, until something else perhaps more appealing comes out.
Lin-Manuel M. looks to be a nice guy, at least from the interviews I've seen him doing. I wonder what his next film venture will be. I'd never heard about him before 'Hamilton'. I'd really love to see the live show which opened in London a few months ago and is still by far the hottest ticket in town. I've played the complete show from YouTube and must say I'm very impressed indeed - so different from anything else we've ever heard before.ReplyDelete
Looking forward to seeing 'Vice' despite its unsavoury subject. I wonder what the reaction of the man himself is as to how he's portrayed, in a very unflattering light, I believe. From the (promising) trailer who could every have guessed on it being Christian Bale under all that make-up and prosthetics?
That 'Spiderman' film has had good reviews here but, as in your case, It's just not my 'thing' so I'll bypass it as well.