Friday, January 11, 2019

Mary Poppins Returns Review + Fantastic Making of : 'Making the Impossible"

So, i’ve been in theatre to watch Mary Poppins Returns and here is my review about it. I have a mixed feeling about this movie but let’s start by the good things: first, i’ve rarely seen the old Victorian London filmed as beautifully than in this movie. All the filming by the way is in general very good, much better than how Robert Stevenson filmed the first Mary Poppins in the 60’s but Stevenson was filming as classically as possible and without any genius - or may be it’s the studio who didn’t gave him a full freedom but i doubt about it. Anyway, so excellent filming in Mary Poppins Returns and the Big Ben sequence near the end is an excellent idea which makes a truly memorable scene. Excellent opening scene too ( both filming and music ) with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Visually, Mary Poppins is a treat and if you need one good reason to see it, thats a good one. The music and songs are quite good but in my opinion not as memorable as the ones in the first Mary Poppins, written by the Scherman brothers. Nothing as emotional as “Feed the Birds”, for instance, or songs that you can remember instantly. Actually if you listen well, the songs are exactly the kind of songs written for a Broadway musical, it gives the feeling like if the score has been written for a musical first and from which a movie would have been done after, and not the contrary, it's very strange.

Actors are good ( at the exception of one, more about this in a second ) and especially the children who play MUCH better than in the first Mary Poppins, which is not difficult. All the scenes with animation are perfectly executed, both technically and the synchro by the actors but i think i still prefer the animated scenes in the first Mary Poppins even if they can do, technically speaking, much better in our days. But there is a BIG “but”, and it’s Emily Blunt who play Mary Poppins. I already feel it in the trailer and unfortunately it’s confirmed in the full movie: in Mary Poppins Returns she plays a very different Mary Poppins than Julie Andrews which is not only perfectly her right and also could have been welcome, but the problem is that she’s playing a posh, narcissistic and even a bit crabby Mary Poppins and she never - and i mean NEVER - have the fragility and innocence that we could find in Julie Andrews. And this creates a true problem because her character is never endearing all along the movie. And when you have a main character in which you can’t find anything appealing, sweet, all along the movie, you know that there is a real problem, and a major one. I’ve been told that the way she plays Mary Poppins is closer to the original book of P.L Travers but in a movie the spectator needs to identify with the main character, and here you don’t really want to… And it’s a pity because all the others actors are perfectly enjoyable.

There is still something which is missing here and that the first Mary Poppins movie had, but here i think it has to see with the era as the 1960’s still had some innocence that Mary Poppins Returns, as perfect technically as it can be don’t succeed to find back totally. Now they can do movies incredibly technically perfect, no comparison with 50 years ago, but unfortunately they often lack the most important, which is real emotion - and, yes, also that innocence that i was talking about - and not a fabricated one. The movie is not making that much money at the box office and i’m not surprised. Disney said that Mary Poppins Returns had cost $100M and Disney probably won’t lose money but i’m not sure they will make a lot out of it either. This week Director Rob Marshall revealed that a possible sequel is in "early stages”, but i wouldn’t bet that Disney will give its green light for it...

That said, i have a real treat for you and it's a great making of of the movie, and a different one than the one you can currently find on Youtube. Titled "Making the Impossible" this half hour documentary shows the love and care that went into Mary Poppins Returns and why it comes the closest to being a true "Walt" Disney Movie.

Picture and video: copyright Disney

No comments: