We’ve been waiting for Mary Poppins to return for a very, very long time. At long last, she’s finally come home.
Pause the SCIFI.radio stream using the control at the top of the page before you watch this. And if possible, you’ll want to watch this full screen, and if possible, in a darkened room. And if possible, set aside fifteen minutes because you’ll want to watch it over again at least twice more.
The trailer starts out ordinarily enough. Jane and Michael Banks are all grown up, and they have children of their own, and there’s a crisis: they’re about to lose their home, and all appears lost. Just when the day darkens to its worst, from out of the blue – literally – comes a familiar sight, drifting in beneath a rather smallish umbrella to a perfect landing on the green.
It’s Mary Poppins.
From my earliest memories as a child, Mary Poppins was magic, and represented everything that was good about the world. She was magic, she was mischief, she was love, she was the promise of brighter days. She was music, she was joy, she was the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone could look forward to, and gave you the trust that no matter what happens, no matter how things turn out, Everything Was Going To Be Okay. Watching this full trailer for the first time, tears welled up. It’s beautiful.
Emily Blunt is cast as Mary Poppins in her first on-screen appearance since 1964, when the original Disney film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews in the title role, made cinematic history. It was magical, musical joy and laughter, and when it was over you cried at the end because you never ever wanted to leave that world, and you wanted Mary Poppins to stay with you and take care of you forever.
Both the first film and this one are based on the book Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers, originally published in 1934.
This new Marry Poppins pulls out all the stops. Disney didn’t go for the gritty remake trope. They didn’t try to tinker with the formula that gave the original film its incandescent charm. The fantasy realm blends with the real world just as it did in the original. There is singing, and dancing, and chimney sweeps and penguins. There are kites, and flying bicycles, undersea adventures, exciting new discoveries – and laughter, hope, and joy.
The original Mary Poppins film made significant use of a special optical process called “sodium screen” (we use bluescreen today) which gave better and more precise results than anything that had been done to date. It worked because the sodium lights worked at a frequency exactly between the color response range of the color film emulsions that make up motion picture negative, allowing them to use the full range of color. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Disney was only ever to make one light splitting prism for the motion picture cameras. That prism was priceless and lived secured in the Disney vaults, taken out only when it was needed for production.
Mary Poppins Returns stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, Ben Wishaw as Michael Banks, Nathanael Saleh as John Banks, Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks, and Pixie Davies as Anabel Banks. Lin Manuel-Miranda plays Jack, the next generation’s chimneysweep who befriends the Banks children, and the man who gets to utter the immortal line, “As I live and breathe,” as Mary Poppins descends from the clouds.
As an extra gift to us all, there are some old familiar faces as well: Angela Landsbury, who was the voice of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, appears as the charming Balloon Lady (I’m sure there will be poignant scene with her, as of course she has been singing on Broadway for decades now). David Warner plays the eccentric Admiral Boom. And as just one more lovely surprise, Dick van Dyke, who played the chimneysweep named Burt from the original film, is back as Mr. Dawes, Jr, still spry as ever, and giving us a strong emotional send back from the first film.
The film debuts December 19, 2018 nationwide.