Emily Blunt (a severe yet endearing Mary Poppins) stated that she did not watch the original film before the making of Mary Poppins Returns, but she did go back to the P L Travers books to create her version of Mary.The scriptwriters must have done so, however, for the language and the character of both incarnations are very similar (“Spit spot children” was, I’m sure, in the original).
Mary Poppins returns to 1930s
It has to be said, though, that the film does not have quite the appeal of the first film.You don’t come out humming a memorable tune – in fact, I doubt that any of the songs will become hits in their own right, unlike 'Supercalifragilistichas', or 'Chimchimcheree' or even 'Feed the Birds'. In fact, the film has a very strange relationship with the first film. Some of the cartoon characters are the same; the house is the same; occasionally one of the old tunes can be heard faintly as background music. The 1960s, however, when that first Mary Poppins was made, was a much more hopeful time than today: it is hard not to be a bit cynical about this fluffy film in today’s climate. It could have lifted and cheered maybe but I for one found the sugar content too high.
Take your children and grandchildren though: there is plenty for them to enjoy and adults can enjoy the numerous cameos, including a couple by actors from the first film - a sprightly 92-year-old Dick van Dyke as the bank manager and even a fleeting appearance of Karen Dotrice (the young Jane Banks) as a passer-by asking for directions. Equally delightful are other big stars – Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury and a show-stealing appearance by Meryl Streep as Mary Poppins’ cousin.