Mary Poppins // Review

We've all seen this movie.
Or at least, my dears, I think we all have. If you haven't - well - you should. Because it's ...
No, I don't think this movie is practically perfect in every way. And no, I don't think it's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious either. I love this movie (because it's a movie one should love) but it's not my favourite. Stay tuned for reasons explained in heavy paragraphs.
First, how I got introduced.
I got introduced to Mary Poppins on my eighth birthday. Or it might have been seventh. And I remember crying. And no, not because I liked it. Because - come near, dear, so I can whisper it in your ear - I didn't like it.
Mary Poppins spoilt my eighth (or seventh) birthday.
I know. I should have sworn to loathe it for eternity, ay? But I'm glad I was sensible enough to know that it's very wicked to swear, even when it's a different kind of swearing. (Yes, I'm into Anne of Green Gables, as I usually am.)
But yes, indeed, I didn't enjoy that movie. I liked the bits where the nursery room got tidied up - I couldn't believe what I was seeing and wondered how they filmed it (because, I thought, it must be real, because it's been filmed!) and I also liked the bit where all the nannies get flown away by the wind - again, I was wondering how they managed to make the actresses fly - and I also liked Jane Banks' pink dress (ha).
But the rest - nope, my eight-year-old-self thought it terribly boring. I didn't understand what Mr Banks kept on singing about, why we needed to see Mrs Banks singing songs with the cook, I hated the bank-scenes (practically fell asleep there), thought the 'It's a jolly holiday' song far too long, didn't like the fact that Mary Poppins left in the end and hated all the 'Feed the Birds' scenes - the bird-woman really, really scared me. Oh yes, and somehow the fact that Mary Poppins sat on clouds really creeped me out.
So yeah, Mary Poppins spoilt my eighth birthday. Or seventh. Or whatever.
But it somehow changed. I remember watching it again - I was ten or something like that - and loving it. And that all my sentiments changed. And my sentiments haven't changed since then. I love this movie and that's not the end.
As I said, it's not my favourite. But we'll come to the things-I-don't-like-about-Mary-Poppins-list after I've talked about my favourite things.
My favourite character? Definitely, definitely, definitely Mrs Banks. Ha, you may be surprised. Yup, Mrs Banks is my favourite. She's unlike all the other mothers in movies. She's not really sensible perhaps, but she's quirky and funny and loveable. She's a weird mother - but in the best sense. And I love her unique, quirky little voice. She has such an unique personality.
She's an ardent suffragette, but extremely timid and sweet and obliging whenever her husbands around - contradicting her woman's rights beliefs. And true, she's not a perfect mother - always going out and stuff - but she cares for her children... she's just a special case. :D
Mrs Banks sings the first song in this musical. Well, after Bert's thingy, but that doesn't really count - 'Well done, Sister Suffragette' is the first real song in Mary Poppins. And Mrs Banks does it so well - and never fails to make me laugh!
First she comes inside, wearing her lovely blue and yellow (she wears a lot of yellow and it suits her so well) dress and a Suffragette ribbon, singing happily, enthusiastically and loudly about the woman's voting thing. 'Although we adore men individually - we agree that as a group, they're rather stupid.'
'Sister Suffragette' is definitely one of my favourite songs, and - of course - I've known the lyrics ever since I watched it... for the second time.
"Winifred, we should get the piano tuned."
"But, George, you don't play!'
"Madam, that is entirely beside the point!"
After Mrs Banks, my favourite character is probably her husband. The everything-according-to-tradition and everything-exactly-on-time and everything-as-it-always is Mr Banks. His song 'A British Bank' is hilarious and he sings it like no-one ever will be able to.
And the way he gets 'saved' in the end... when he changes... when he makes the kite... and gets the 'wooden leg' joke... and appreciates the long, invented word (supercal... etc.)... and when he kisses his wife and goes singing 'Let's go Fly a Kite' on the roads with his happy family. Mr Banks is a lovely character... he terribly funny in the beginning and terribly nice in the end.
Oh, and he has the most hilarious facial expressions. David Tomlinson did the best job ever. Yes, even that mustache looked good - even though Mrs Travers didn't want the facial hair.
Jane and Michael were adorable! Just adorable!
Jane first. She had the sweetest little voice, sang 'The Perfect Nanny' beautifully, cried so well, made the most delightful puppy eyes and had she sweetest little frocks and ribbons. Darling dolly.
Michael. Oh Michael. He was so funny - like his dad, he has the most hilarious facial expressions. He was so cute and had the most funny remarks. 'I put that bit in.'
If I would make a list of the 'ten cutest movie kids' I'd put Michael (and Jane, too, probably) in it.
Don't you think Michael looks like Cosmo Brown in 'Singin' in the Rain'? Like, a miniature version? Just me? Okay, then. :-)
Now, charming as Dick van Dyke was, he wasn't my favourite character. His accent. Yeah, his accent. Dick van Dyke really, really faked that Cockney accent. I mean, it wasn't a Cockney accent. It was just an American accent with some rough grammatical errors and unaccented syllables here and there.
So yeah, his accent.
Dick van Dyke could have asked Julie Andrews for some Cockney-accent-ideas, as she was quite the professional one in that matter, as she performed My Fair Lady on stage and played the wild 'liza Dooli'l.
But for the rest, Dick van Dyke made a nice Bert. A kind fellow, a jolly fellow, a cheeky fellow. He's the sort of person that cheers up the whole room by entering it. He's the sort of person that all the children adore... Bert was good. I liked him, honestly, I did. :-)
But yeah. That accent.
Julie Andrews made the perfect Mary Poppins. Very pretty, very strict, very musical, very magic, very sparkly, very practical. Seriously, it's all I can say about her performance. It was just the way it should be.
And her clothes! As you probably know, I adore her white 'Holiday' outfit sooo much! That swishy, frothy, delicious feeling! Those endless petticoats and that red corset waist thingy! That white, floating hat! And the darling little parasol! And her red and white shoes!!! Yup, super, super pretty.
I also love all her other costumes, but that white one... best ever. Not very historically accurate... you know, it's not touching the floor and all that jazz... but then Mary Poppins herself isn't historically accurate either, so it's nothing. Doesn't matter.
Oh, and I loved Mary Poppins' eyes. Just, I do. Julie Andrews has those lovely, big, snappy eyes. I love them. :-)
See what I mean? It deserves years of gushing, right? It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Whiiich, brings me to the next thing. The songs!
This is a musical, so (obviously) the songs play a great part in this movie. As I mentioned earlier, I love 'Sister Suffragette' because, well, Mrs Banks and just plain fun-ness. I also love Mr Banks' song, 'British Bank' - the way he sings that song, man, the way! I can laugh out loud just thinking of it! His precision! Heehee!
I also really like 'Spoonful of Sugar' and 'Supercal... etc' because both of them are just so merry and happy and toe-tappy. I love happy, toe-tappy songs. Mary Poppins has loads of happy songs... the Sherman brothers really are good at making happy musicals. Bravo, you two.
But my favourite song of all is:
With tuppence for paper and strings,
You can have your own set of wings,
With your feet on the ground you're a bird in flight,
With your FIST holdin' tight (ba-ba-ba-bam)
With the string of your kite....
Oh-wo-wow! Let's go fly a kite,
Uwuwup! To the highest height,
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring...
Uwuwup! To the atmosphere...
Uwuwup! Where the air is clear,
Oh, let's go... FLY A KITE!
Yes, that one. I'm a little addicted to that song. Sing it in my sleep, I do.
Which brings me to the ending.
Oh dear, that Mary Poppins ending. Why does it make me cry every time? I watch this movie every year - and I always shed some tears during the 'Let's go Fly a Kite' scene - just because, you know, the family is so happy and toe-tappy and it's my favourite song. And then Mary Poppins leeeaves.
And so. I've finished my review. Now comes zee reasons. For why I don't think Mary Poppins a real favourite. Why I don't think it's like perfect.
~ Firstly (which is the main, biggest reason), the long part in Bert's paper picture. You know, it's rather nice when the go though the animated flowers and fields and sing about how jolly this holiday is... but then we have the penguin-thing, the fox-thing, the horse-thing... and it's goes on and on and yeah, it bores me, that part. It's just not my thing... real people talking to animated people and foxes and... yeah. I just don't like that part.
~ Secondly, the Bank business. Okay, it doesn't bore me quite as much as it did when I was eight (yes, yes, yes, or seven) but still - all those old men and that old Dick van Dyke with his walking stick and stiff legs singing a rather dull song to convince Michael to put that wretched little tuppence in the bank. I mean. It's just too long. If they would've made that bit a little shorter, I'd have loved it.
~ Now, I love to laugh, but the 'I love to Laugh' song was so silly. It's almost embarrassing to watch. 'And squeak - heh! - as the squeakelers do.' What's a squeakeler? Do you know? Tell me then. I bet you don't. They should have un-made that word up.
~ That bomb. I mean, why? Who on earth has a bomb on his roof?
~ And finally, I'm going to say this: The 'steppin' time' bit. Again, if it had been shorter it would have been splendid. But it was too long and I got tired of all those chimney-sweepers. I do hope you aren't all really angry. :-)
But yes, in the whole, I heartily recommend this movie. It's funny, lovely, happy and will make you cry in the end. It's completely suitable and you should see it (which you probably have, right?). Oh, and there's so many quotable quotes.
Have you seen Mary Poppins?
What did you think of it?


  1. Great Review!! Mary Poppins is one of my all time favourites! I cry every time, it is so sweet. The books are amazing too! oh and the musical!!!! I cry at the end of them all. Let's go fly a kite up to the HIGHEST hight!!!!! My favourite song though would have to be "Feed the birds" it always has me crying, and in the musical Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is just WOW! It's on youtube. Sorry for the shortish comment, I'm entering final exams and have to study. Byee!

  2. I have not seen this movie in a loooong time sadly, but it is one of my favorites!!

    I love "Sister Suffragette"!! 'Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid' Makes me laugh every time!

    I love how Mr. Banks changes in the end! It's so sweet!!

    Now that you mention it, Michael does look like a miniature Cosmo Brown!!

    Dick van Dyke's accent! Yeah, I guess it's pretty bad, but we Americans can't tell it that much :D

    Yes!!! I love that 'Holiday' outfit!! It reminds me of Scarlett's white dress in Gone With the Wind!

    Bravo to the Sherman brothers, just yes!!!!

    "Let's Go Fly a Kite" is an amazing song and an amazing way to end the movie! And that ending!! I think I almost cried even when I was little!!! They're so happy!!

    Bert's picture scene is really long. It has it's good points, but it's still reallllly long!

    The bank scenes scared me when I was little!! And when old Dick van Dyke dies by laughing... I can laugh about it now, but it is a little creepy! "Father! Come down! Come down, Father!!"

    I love "I Love to Laugh"!! A squeakeler is a person who squeaks when they laugh! But yeah, it's not a real word. "They should have un-made that word up" That made me laugh :D

    I know!! How has that dude not gotten arrested for his bomb!!

    Here I strongly disagree with you. "Steppin' Time" is amazing!! It is long, but there's lots of acrobatics! (I can watch acrobatics for a looong time) I guess I also have memories with this because my cousins dance this scene wonderfully!
    I see where you're coming from though.

    Thanks so much for this review!! It was lovely!!

  3. Oh, you are such a good blogger. I have been sadly remiss... but I am here and alive and commenting! :-)
    Ahh, Mary Poppins. I must admit, I have loved it since childhood. And I still do, in my heart.
    Oh, the old men!! I didn't think it was boring when I was little, but it really freaked me out - I remember hiding behind the couch during the Bad Old Men scene. Ha.
    Yes, the 'I love to laugh' bit is a tad awkward. And the bit at the end where Bert and Uncle Albert are 'crying'... erhmmmmm. Rather uncomfortable.
    All this really makes me wanna watch Saving Mr. Banks. Someday...
    Anywhoz, lovely review, m'dear!! :-)

  4. Evie,
    Yes, 'Feed the birds' is a very nice song - I must admit it's not my favourite, but I understand why you like it. :-)
    Haha, yes Supercalietc. is really supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! (Sorry, had to write that down)
    Oh, good luck with your exams! :-)

    Yay! It's not just me then. Michael looks like Cosmo Brown. :-)
    "I guess it's pretty bad, but we Americans can't tell it that much"
    Haha. We Brits sure can, I garentuee you that. :-)
    Oh yes - when the old man dies... I used to be really scared of that part!
    Heehee, I thought that was a squeakeler. :-)
    I thought of you when I wrote that about Steppin' Time, because I knew you liked it. Sorry dear. :-) It's amazing to watch, I agree, but just a little too long for my liking. Sorry. :-)
    You're welcome - thanks for the lovely comment!

    Miss Elliot,
    Why, thank you! You aren't half as bad as some bloggers, so there's really no need to apologise. :-)
    Haha, yes! When Bert and Uncle Albert cry and fall down: Weird. Funny, but weird. :-P
    I actually haven't seen Saving Mr Banks - but I'm ABSOLUTELY dying too - and as you can see I've been watching the trailer and scenes avaliable on Youtube and I've been quoting some of the quotes! Looks like an amazing movie, right?
    Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed this review.

    ~ Naomi

  5. I love Mary Poppins!

    I always thought the Bank scenes were creepy when I was little and I did not like the "Feed the Birds" song. So boring!

    My favorite song is "Jolly Holiday" :)


  6. Sweet review, Naomi!

    My favourite song is probably the Suffragette one, but the kite flying one is also very sweet.

    I don't like either Banks parent though. I don't know... Mrs Banks is too irresponsible, and Mr Banks is too serious and mean, then at the end he just makes a fool of himself...

    Dick Van Dyke is nice... But yeah, that accent.

    Julie Andrews is the best. Anyone else playing mary Poppins would not work as well! She was perfect!

    But yes, I agree with you about the chalk drawing part. It goes on for faaaar too long! I always get bored...

    The bank bit is not very good either. And I always really, really, hated the whole 'Feed the Birds' thing. Why are they feeding the birds? In the middle of town?

    I always struggle over actually liking this film though. I read the book when I was about nine, and heartily enjoyed it, but it really is very different form the film. And when I was about eleven and read an article in the paper about how the author didn't like the film I was sad, and it made me very conflicted! But I think nowadays, I like the idea of the film more than the actual film. Elements of it are very good by themselves, but in the actual film I get kind of bored... And of course I loved 'Saving Mr Banks', probably better than 'Mary Poppins', even though I didn't like the ending.

    Anyway, I love reading your reviews! :)

  7. There's no bomb on the roof. It's a cannon. Admiral Boom has recreated a British warship on his roof, and he keeps punctilious time just like back when he was in the navy, and he marks six o'clock by firing off one round to keep the whole neighborhood keeping strict time too. During "Step In Time" he shoots off firecrackers from the cannon.

    Anyway, just wanted to point that out :-) My kids love this movie right now -- all three of them like "Let's Go Fly a Kite" best. My favorite has always been "Feed the Birds" because it makes my throat ache. So hauntingly beautiful.

    Have you ever read the books? They're severely freaky.


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