Film Review: Mary Poppins

As it’s post Christmas you can guarantee a few things:

  1. You probably don’t want to ever see a turkey again,
  2. You have probably played every board game you own at least once and,
  3. Dick Van Dyke will be on your TV at least once a day.

I can happily tick those 3 off pretty quickly, and for today’s offering of Van Dyke we have that festive staple, Mary Poppins. Now having not long ago watched Saving Mr Banks, it seemed slightly insensitive to PL Travers, not to watch the film that in one respect, she fought so strongly against allowing to be made.

So, with winds from the East and mist coming in (well actually, it’s raining and blowing a howling gale of a south westerly right now) I must hang around long enough to give you my feelings on the film. It is a classic, there is no denying that, to me, at Christmas every child should be made to watch it, and every adult forced to reacquaint themselves with it.

Whether it’s the songs, the underlying messages or just the shear spectacle, Mary Poppins is one of those films that just leaves you feeling warm. In Saving Mr Banks, Hanks portraying Walt Disney states “that every time someone walks into a movie house, they will rejoice” and to me, he kept his word – however, true or not that line may be.

I would like at this point to explain, that while I love Mary Poppins, I don’t think it is not without its faults. Ignoring the plainly obvious accent of our previously mentioned Mr D Van Dyke, it is overly long – it walks straight past two hours without stopping for breath. It also has a tendency to become just a little bit too silly in places, mainly in the places where Disney did turn it into a cartoon.

There is just one caveat to my criticism of it though. I haven’t read the book. As a result, I may be wrongly laying blame at the feet of Disney for an act committed by Travers herself.

But that doesn’t change my thoughts on the film. Cut down the cartoons, simplify some of the songs/dance routines and drop the running time to the right side of 2 hours and it would become the perfect film. As it is, it’s universal appeal can never be questioned but it will never be perfect.

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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