Mary Poppins Returns (U)
Director Rob Marshal
Starring Emily Blunt
Lin Manuel Miranda
Children of the 1960s remember Julie Andrews for The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. The latter was innovative for its day, with its creative mix of live actors and animation. I still remember the impact of the story on my boyhood imagination, the catchy songs and the inner child resurfaces storyline.
This star-studded remake is nowhere near as good as the original but is still worth watching, not least for cameo appearances by Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, and the still sprightly, original cast member Dick Van Dyke.
I liked the way that the remake makes many clever references to the original. The story jumps to the slump of the 1930s – the two Banks children having grown up – and Michael, who has recently lost his wife and been left with three small children. He has carelessly allowed an unpaid loan to threaten the family home, 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Something remarkable is needed; it appears in the shape of Mary Poppins. Emily Blunt is a convincing Mary Poppins and Colin Firth a great villain.
Christians can identify with the idea of recapturing a child-like faith, finding solutions to life’s dilemmas that are often staring us in the face, and the experience of grace that comes ‘just in time’. Grace really does change everything; grace blows in unexpectedly and undeservedly just like Mary Poppins blowing in on the wind.
We all need to be rescued; the film reminds us that the origin of that rescue is always from another place.
John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex