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Mary Poppins

Posted by martinteller on February 10, 2012

I’m not sure if this is a rewatch or not.  I knew the most famous songs, and I remember seeing certain parts of it, but that may have just been snippets out of context.  At any rate, if I have seen it, it’s been at least 30 years so let’s just call it a new viewing.  Since most people are probably familiar with the film, I’ll forgo the formalities like plot summary and background and just get straight to the opinions, “Spoonful of Sugar” style….

A Spoonful of Sugar: Julie Andrews’ charming, light performance in the title role.  She’s irresistible.  The Medicine: the film tends to sag when she’s not onscreen.  And oh, those annoying children.

A Spoonful of Sugar: for musical lovers who can’t wait for the next tune, it’s a dream come true, with people bursting into song every 3-5 minutes.  Almost all of them are pretty good, too, even the ones that get repeated over and over.  The Medicine: I did say almost all of them.  “Step in Time” has some terrific dancing but the song is obnoxious, and it goes on forever.  And it’s a pet peeve of mine when a song contains spoken interjections, and this movie is loaded with that.

A Spoonful of Sugar: Dick Van Dyke’s easy-going manner and goofy physicality.  The Medicine: his horrible accent.

A Spoonful of Sugar: Some inventive and delightful special effects, including marriage of animation and live-action.  The Medicine: some pretty obvious process shots now look very dated, and frankly, I found some of the animation to be quite ugly (although there was far less of it than I anticipated).

A Spoonful of Sugar: the anything-goes anarchic spirit allows for some very joyful moments and surprises.  The Medicine: not much of it is very funny.  There are a few amusing bits, but the Ed Wynn “I Love to Laugh” scene made me want to put a gun in my mouth.

And so, the review boils down to weighing the good versus the bad.  How much did the sugar help the medicine go down?  Although I’m no fan of Disney, I do enjoy a decent musical.  It wasn’t as saccharine as I’d feared, but in general I didn’t feel that warm about it either.  I loved a few things, liked a few things, hated a few things… but most of it I just don’t have any strong feelings about.  It’s kind of a wash, I guess.  Rating: Fair


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