Few people escape childhood without encountering a certain perpetually cheerful nanny with a magic umbrella and a knack for spontaneously breaking into song. Yes, I’m referring to the Disney classic “Mary Poppins.”
When I was a youngster, Julie Andrews’ character always perplexed me a little. What with her miraculous appearance, and why in the world did her umbrella cause her to fly?
But if Andrews threw little me for a bit of a loop, then Dick Van Dyke left me positively confused. It took me years to realize that a sneaking suspicion I had was correct.
Many of of the male characters in “Mary Poppins” did seem remarkably similar — because they were, in fact, all played by Van Dyke himself. And it seems as though the 92-year-old actor isn’t yet done with those roles.
In September 2015, Disney announced that it would be creating “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel to the classic kids movie, slated for release on December 19, 2018.
That meant 54 years will have elapsed since the original, which makes it one of the greatest lengths of time for a live-action movie sequel ever. Official summaries so far have said that 25 years will have elapsed in the world of the movie.
The New York Times said Michael and Jane Banks have since blossomed into adults. Only an as-of-yet-unnamed family tragedy has brought the magical nanny back.
It’s hard not to doubt the more gloomy tone in the film’s trailer. Many scenes are shot in mute colors with shadowy overtones.
The characters also seem exceedingly sorrowful. A scowling Michael declares, “Those days are long behind me,” as he disposes of his childhood kite.
Later, he says, “We’re about to lose our home. Everything has fallen to pieces since your mother …”
But he begins to sob before he can finish his sentence. Still, not everything has changed in this new iteration of “Mary Poppins.”
Actress Emily Blunt is a near perfect fit for the character Andrews popularized. According to US Weekly, “Mary Poppins Returns” will also feature stars such as Ben Wishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep.
And though Lin-Manuel Miranda doesn’t exactly look like Dick Van Dyke’s Bert, he certainly shares his joyful demeanor. Oh, and speaking of Dick Van Dyke, he’s in the new movie, too.
The trailer shows a white-bearded Van Dyke dancing on a table, and you know what? He looks almost the same as he did in the original.
“When they told me they were going to do it, I said, ‘Sequels traditionally are never as good.’ They said, ‘It’s not a sequel, it’s an homage to the old movie,’” Van Dyke told the Associated Press.
“Their heart’s in the right place, and they’re really trying. I think it’ll be good.” Indeed, we really hope it is, Dick!
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