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'Watching Mary Poppins Returns is a truly shocking experience I was not prepared for.'

Dear Millennials who are planning to watch Mary Poppins Returns when it lands in cinemas on New Year’s Day, please be aware it will be a highly emotional movie-going experience.

A simple spoonful of sugar will not have the ability to see you through this.

Instead, may I suggest that your movie dates for this occasion consist of a strong bottle of vodka, a large box of tissues and a strong sense of resilience that will allow you to relive magical moments from your childhood while also coming to terms with your own mortality.

Because watching Mary Poppins Returns is not an act for the faint-hearted.

The upcoming Disney release is a continuation of the iconic 1964 Mary Poppins movie, not a remake, and sticks very close to the template of the original film while also injecting some fresh and modern twists into the enduring tale of the magical nanny with the smart-talking umbrella.

Mary Poppins Returns has dared to tamper with the most sacred of all human experiences – childhood movie memories – and yet against all odds the Poppins puzzle pieces have come together again to create a second musical movie masterpiece.

Take a look at the trailer for Mary Poppins Returns.

Picking up a few decades after the events of the original movie, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) flies back into Depression-era London to once again take up residence at the home of Jane (Emily Mortimer) and her brother Michael (Ben Whishaw) Banks.

While the now-adult Banks children have convinced themselves the magical times they spent with Mary Poppins were all figments of their childhood imaginations, they are nonetheless happy to see their former nanny once again. Especially since Michael is now a single father to three young children, twins John and Annabel (Nathanael Saleh and Pixie Davies) and younger brother Georgie (Joel Dawson), and is struggling to hold their lives together following the death of his wife.

Emily Blunt perfectly slips into the sensibly-heeled yet stylish shoes of Mary Poppins, mostly due to the fact that she does not try to mimic the iconic performance of the legendary Julie Andrews, who will always be the original and the best Mary. Blunt, however, comes in a very close second.

(Also, before you get your hopes up and keep your eyes peeled for a special cameo appearance during the movie, please know that Julie Andrews does not make an appearance in Mary Poppins Returns. She’d stated that she didn’t want to take any of the spotlight away from Emily, but I’m still not sure I agree with that decision…).

Helping Mary along in her journey to fix the lives of both generations of Banks children is her friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), a cheery fellow with a twinkle in his eye who lights and extinguishes the streetlamps along Cherry Tree Lane, and who was once apprenticed to chimney sweep Bert from the original Mary Poppins. 

"Picking up a few decades after the events of the original movie, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) flys back into Depression-era London to once again take up residence at the home of Jane (Emily Mortimer) and her brother Michael (Ben Whishaw) Banks." Source: Disney.
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Mary Poppins Returns is packed with a brand new score of songs and tunes but unfortunately, many of the movie's musical scenes all blend together and there are no moments that can hold a candle to the original film.

Where the movie does shine, however, is in its ability to capture the magical spirit of the first movie and reinvent it for a second outing on the big screen.

Mary Poppin's sly magical tricks and her uncanny ability to turn even the most mundane of activities into a whirlwind of adventure shines through in this film with the same amount of charm and wonder as it did when we were all kids (remember how desperate we all were to snap our fingers and have our bedrooms charmingly clean themselves?) and these scenes are among the strongest in the movie.

However, without giving too much away, there are some truly shocking moments contained within a film that will mostly be consumed by adults who can easily recite the original movie off by heart.

This time around, instead of leaping into a sidewalk chalk drawing, Mary and the gang jump into the magical world of an heirloom china bowl.

It is within this world that we see Mary Poppins in a very different light, as she takes to the stage of a club to perform a raucous, vaudeville-inspired routine and at one point gives such a suggestive wink to the camera that I felt my jaw immediately drop, all while thinking to myself... 'I know I'm an adult now but I am not ready for this.'

The other shocking moment from the film is less scandalous but much more likely to reduce you to a puddle of fresh tears.

There has been no secret made of the fact that Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert in the original movie, makes an appearance in Mary Poppins Returns. It's an extended cameo sequence where the rest of the cast respectfully fades into the background while Van Dyke, who is 93 years old, expertly takes charge of the spotlight and delivers a performance brimming with wit, charisma and a beautiful nod to the world of Mary Poppins we all remember.

At the end of his performance I found that I couldn't wipe the smile from my face, or stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks. It was a reminder of the passage of time and the truth of ageing, with a cheeky wink to the fact that there's always a bit of magic to be found in the world, no matter how old you are.

Mary Poppins Returns is a joyfully nostalgic experience for anyone who grew up watching the original movie on repeat and will be a wonderous experience for kids and adults alike who are entering this world for the first time.

They say you can't go home again, but watching Mary Poppins Returns is the next best thing.

Mary Poppins Returns will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on New Year’s Day 2019. It is rated G.

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