Supercalafraga-whatever, 3.5 readers.
BQB here with a review of Mary Poppins Returns.
I’m going to let you in on a terrible secret, 3.5 readers. I’ve never seen the original Mary Poppins. I know, terrible. I’ve seen bits and pieces over the years but it was before my time and no one from my time was nostalgic enough to share it with me.
Even so, I felt I had enough of the gist to get this new rendition going into it.
Truth be told, I liked this movie but it does feel like a throwback to yesteryear – its style, its music, its open embrace of imagination without feeling a need to explain the how or the why. To me, it’s all exhilarating though in reading the reviews, I don’t think the critics got the point.
You see, Mary Poppins has never made sense. She is a stoic nanny who floats down from the sky to help the Banks family whenever they are in need. This time around, the Banks children from the previous film are all grown up and they are frantically trying to locate stock certificates that will prevent their cherished family home from being foreclosed upon by an evil team of lawyers and bankers, headed by Colin Firth.
Aren’t bankers the worst? You enter into a contract with them out of your own free will and they loan you money that allows you to strike out on your own but when you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, it’s ok to just think of them as miserable SOBs and really, how dare they decide to not just allow you to keep the money you agreed to pay back?
Sorry. I digressed, and apparently I’m the only one with grave concerns about the plight of the Great North American Banker.
Anyway, like I said, Mary Poppins is nonsensical. She gets the kids to behave and clean up after themselves so the adults can tend to the hard tasks of adulting. She doesn’t age. She can do magical things. Despite her love of methodical organization, she can also cheer the children up with highly choreographed song and dance routines featuring casts of cartoon characters. I mean, WTF?
Long ago, cartoons were full of nonsense. Adults made them to entertain kids but it was felt that little to no explanation was necessary vis a vis the how and the why of things.
At some point, the world changed. We want to know the details. We aren’t satisfied without the backstory. And to the film’s credit, it flies in the face of this trend.
No, you’re not going to find out anything about Mary. Who the hell is she? Is there an army of nannies in the sky? Do they all train in a magic nanny academy? Do they have a leader? Do they have an enemy? What is the source of their power? How do they fly? What the hell? Were they bitten by radioactive spiders or something?
In a world where we are bogged down with the deets, it felt nice to just indulge in some frivolous tomfoolery. That, to me, is the cool thing about this movie. Mary is a walking contradiction. She pushes the kids to grow up and take responsibility. Meanwhile, she pushes the adults to chill out and to comfort themselves by letting go to the imagination they lost long ago as they came of age.
There’s a scene early on where Mary and kids escape into a magic bath tub only to come out in an underwater world full of cartoon sea creatures. There’s no explanation. No how or why. As a viewer of modern cinema, you’ll wait for the twenty minute piece of dialogue where the powers of being able to transport children to a cartoon world are explained. Don’t hold your breath because you won’t get it and that’s ok. It’s a good thing.