Thursday, April 25, 2019

Mary Poppins Returns 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
In Mary Poppins Returns, Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) - just a child when Mary Poppins first visited 17 Cherry Tree Lane - is now a grown man raising his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) with help from his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). Times are tough in Depression-era London but the winds begin to change and the enigmatic governess, whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day. Teaming up with an old friend, Jack, they take the Banks children on a series of whimsical adventures, encountering colorful characters like Mary's eccentric Cousin Topsy (Streep), Jack's lovable band of leeries and bank executives William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) and Mr. Dawes Jr. (Van Dyke) - bringing life, love and laughter back into the home.
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
This long awaited sequel is set during the 1930s, during which things aren't going as well for the Banks family as it was during the first film. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is now grown up with three of his own children and is now a widower living in his parents' home with his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). Michael has taken a loan out from Fidelity Fiduciary Bank (the one his father worked at) to try to make ends meet, but the bank's chairman Wilkins (Colin Firth) lets him know that the loan has to be paid off by Friday or their house on Cherry Tree Lane will be repossessed by the bank. 

Frantic at the thought of losing their childhood home, Michael and Jane remember that their father had left them bank shares that might cover their debt if they could find them. During the search, Michael discovers his old kite that he flew with his father, but throws it away as he has no time for sentimentality at this hard point in his life. His children however do not share his worldview and when they find the kite, they gleefully fly it in the park where it captures the attention of the one and only Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt taking over for the wonderful Julie Andrews). 

Just like before, Mary Poppins tells everyone exactly what she will do and won't do, and moves in as the nanny for the children once again. The children themselves could use a little spoonful of sugar themselves as they've lost their mother and their father emotionally. Mary Poppins then does what she does best - take the children on a magical adventure that celebrates the imagination and child like wonder that's in all of us. She is assisted by one of Burt's proteges Jack the lamplighter (Lin-Manuel Miranda), who along with the other lamplighters, try to light a path to happiness for the Banks family. 

I've always loved the first movie and always wished that they had a sequel with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke which never happened. Even though I didn't get that wish, I have to say that I really enjoyed this movie and I thought that Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda did a great job in their roles. There are some people (including my wife) who don't see the appeal of these movies, but I think both of them are just condensed happiness. They have such a powerful message of love and joy that some people just can't handle it and think it's too saccharine. I for one disagree and think that a hopeful movie like this one is just what we could use right now.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
When comparing the two versions, it's easy to see that the 4K UHD is the better looking presentation, but it's not a huge of a difference as you might expect. They both offer accurate colors but the UHD has more detail and sharpness to it. Textures are more evident in it as well. The animated sequences look excellent in both versions. The Blu-ray and the 4K UHD versions are both acceptable but the UHD is the best one. 
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
Mary Poppins Returns' Dolby Atmos mix is also a little better than the Blu-ray's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Like the video quality, you'd think there would be a more substantial difference between them, but both of them sound good. This isn't reference quality, but it does offer a room accurate surround experience, especially when Mary and the children visit cousin Topsy. The dialogue is clear to hear and the songs sound good too and not drowned out by special effects. This is a good mix, but I thought it would sound even better considering Disney's stellar track record on previous releases. 
Extras (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
While there are no extras on the UHD disc, the Blu-ray does offer a nice collection of goodies. They are all in HD.
  • Sing-Along Mode - You can sing along with the movie by selecting the "Play" option from the main menu. 
  • Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns - We hear from the cast and crew about how the return of Dick Van Dyke impacted them and the film. Not only was he an original cast member from the first film, but he's also an icon in his own right. 
  • Practically Perfect Bloopers - Funny outtakes from the film.
  • Seeing Things from a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns - A look at the film's musical numbers.
    • Trip A Little Light Fantastic - This song and dance number were designed to be a  homage to the original film and the cast and crew talk about how important it was to the movie. 
    • The Royal Douton Music Hall/A Cover Is Not the Book - The cast and crew talk about the ambitious pairing of live action and and animation in for this stellar sequence. 
    • Turning Turtle - A look at how the Topsy Turvy number came together. 
    • Can You Imagine That? - A fun look at the first magical adventure starting from the bathtub to a adventure under the sea. 
  • Deleted Song - The Anthropomorphic Zoo - This is a cut song but we can experience the demo recording, sung by songwriter Marc Shaiman and shown with story sketches.
  • The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns - A look at the making of the film split between four parts: 
    • Introduction - We hear how challenging it was to try to continue the magic of the original film and the difficulty in creating memorable choreography for the film. 
    • Underneath the Lovely London Sky - We hear about the effort to recreate the set from the original film and the effect it had on the cast who had grown up watching the first film as well as how they tweaked the character of Mary Poppins to better reflect the books portrayal instead of Julie Andrews Oscar winning performance. 
    • Can You Imagine That? - A look at director Rob Marshall's contributions to the film.
    • Nowhere To Go But Up - A look at Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke's adding their magic to the film and how you should never totally grow up. 
  • Deleted Scenes - Included are Leaving Topsy's and Trip A Little Light Fantastic.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Mary Poppins Returns is a fun family film that honors the original and boldly makes a case for it's own continuing story. I really hope they make more of them with this fantastic cast. The music and choreography is fun and the spirit of the original is still embedded in this long awaited sequel. The video and audio quality are good (although not reference quality), but the extras are much better and great to have. This set is highly recommended!

Order your copy today!

No comments:

Post a Comment