I recently re-watched Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins and man, has that film aged well. Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews both knock it out of the park and on a technical level, the beautiful matte paintings and combination of live action/animation are absolutely flawless looking. All that got me pretty psyched up for this Christmas’ Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel by Rob Marshall that promises to pick up the baton thrown by Disney more than a half century ago.
The trailer already impressed, but these new stills from the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly really look like they’re intent on recreating the aesthetic of the original. For one thing, it’s clear that the fantasy sequences are directly hearkening back to the first film’s animation. That horse, in particular, could have trotted in from any number of Disney classics.
Meanwhile, the more purply one seems to come from one of the musical numbers and shows that the penguin waiters who hammed it up with Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in the original are making a long-overdue comeback.
Speaking of Van Dyke, we also get a still of him in character as Mr. Dawes, the bank manager. You see, Van Dyke not only played Bert in the original, but he also donned convincing old age makeup to play the grumpy penny-pincher bank manager. The actor’s now 92 and doesn’t need too much old man makeup anymore, so he’s playing his original character’s elderly son. It’s a neat twist that I think pays tribute to Van Dyke’s comedy and dance masterclass in the original (seriously, look at how much this guy is doing).
Count me pretty damn hyped for this one. I doubt it’ll hit the stratospheric heights of the original (though test audiences’ reactions are great), but Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and the rest of the cast and creative team look like they’re going to have a damn good shot when Mary Poppins Returns flies into cinemas on December 19th.