Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Movie Review: "Mary Poppins" (1964)

Director: Robert Stevenson
Year: 1964
Rating: G
Running Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes

A magical nanny helps two neglected children connect with their parents by giving them all a marvelous new perspective on life.

Mary Poppins 1964 movie Julie Andrews
"Never judge things by their appearance, even carpetbags. I'm sure I never do." (Image Source)
Sometimes, we need a little magic to escape the mundanities of everyday life, and "Mary Poppins" offers just the enchanting escape we need. This classic Disney live-action musical is directed by Robert Stevenson, who would go on to direct numerous other Disney films like "That Darn Cat!," "The Love Bug," and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." The screenplay is written by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi and is loosely based on the books by P.L. Travers. The film tells the story of Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael Banks (Matthew Garber), two youngsters who have had trouble keeping nannies. They don't have a great relationship with their parents, who often neglect their children in pursuit of their careers as a banker (Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson)) and a political activist (Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns)). In need of help, a magical nanny called Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) appears to help the children find joy in their lives and to help their parents remember not to forget their kids in pursuit of other endeavors. Mary Poppins also shows them that sometimes, you just have to stop and have a little fun to live life to the fullest.
Mary Poppins 1964 movie Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke
"Winds in the east, there's a mist coming in, like something is brewing, about to begin." (Image Source)
"Mary Poppins" is one of those films that have endured through generations, so much so that it even got a sequel 55 years after its initial release. Though it was released more than a decade and a half before either of us were born, it is one we remember seeing as children. BigJ saw it numerous times growing up and has a nostalgic fondness for the film because of it. The music is amazing, memorable, and oh-so-catchy! The songs are belted out by the tremendous voice of Julie Andrews, who gives a marvelous performance as the titular Mary Poppins. Many of the most popular tunes are ingrained in our cultural zeitgeist. Delightful songs like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Jolly Holiday," and "Chim Chim Cher-ee" were ones we loved as kids, and now that we are older, we have a newfound fondness for other songs like "Sister Suffragette" and "Feed the Birds." Also, the state-of-the-art special effects for 1964 are tremendous, and they still look great today. All of this positivity is not to say it is a flawless film. Not every ditty is a winner, and Dick Van Dyke's accent is very over-the-top. Burt is more like a caricature than a character. Still, Van Dyke gives a charming performance that will make you smile, and that matters more than his accent. Another small critique we have about this movie is its length. It's ~140 minutes long and doesn't breeze by its runtime.
Mary Poppins 1964 movie Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke
"Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way." (Image Source)
As a whole, "Mary Poppins" is an excellent film. It wound up being nominated for 13 Academy Awards and took home five, including a Best Actress trophy for Julie Andrews. It is a film that everyone should see at least once in their lives to experience its magic, joy, and wonder.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
RT Rating: 100%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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