HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Mary Poppins
HTS Overall Score:89
If anything can remind me of family childhood moments, it’s “Mary Poppins”. I can still remember having a family movie night and my brothers and I would always ask for “Mary Poppins” so many times that we wore the VHS tape out and were forced to rebuy it again. Ever since that time “Mary Poppins” has been a staple in my movie collection and has always been yanked out at least once a year to view. One of Disney’s greatest achievements, “Mary Poppins” has become one of the highest grossing live action films for Disney and has been released and re-released on home video more than most of Disney’s films put together. It has a heartwarming ability to it that’s more medicinal than Mary’s tasty medicine in the film itself.
The story is very multifaceted. For the children, it’s all about Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) Banks, the young, precocious children of an industrial banker by the name of George Banks (David Tomlinson). Left in the care of a nanny, the children tend to run around and terrorize every nanny that is hired to care for the children. Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns) is a suffragette tornado and has her own responsibilities that keep her from the care of her children as well. After this last nanny disaster Mr. Banks decides to hire a nanny himself, and ends up running across Mary Poppins, a magical woman of incredible mystery that LITERALLY blows in the door. Taking charge of the situation Mary Poppins breezes through Mr. Banks and lands the job of caring for Jane and Michael. Surprising them at every turn Mary, with the help of a friendly jack of all trades, named Bert (Dick Van Dyke), send the kids on one magical adventure after the other, popping in and out of chalk drawings on the sidewalks, having a tea party on the ceiling and general fun with a purpose.
As much as the film is a lark for children, and rightfully so, there’s an adult underpinning that flows throughout the whole film. Mr. Banks is the real target of Mary Poppins, spending all of his time at the Bank and shoving his children off on every nanny available he has systematically lost YEARS of his children’s lives and is in danger of losing them forever. Every action that Mary Poppins does, every lark with the children, sets up the finale of the film where Mr. Banks must finally realize that what he’s actually losing here. It’s a common story in reality, but a sweet one nonetheless. An absent father breeds children who act out in hopes of gaining their father’s attention. What makes “Mary Poppins” so special is the fact that the heavier theme is laced with so much sugar that the medicine goes down like silk. There’s something for everyone, the children can get a kick out of Bert and the many magical adventures that Mary and Bert take them too, while the adults can watch a beautiful morality tale unfold underneath all the fun and pizazz (which still is quite enjoyable for the adults as well as the children).
“Mary Poppins” has been released and re-released over the years and it always boggles my mind just HOW popular the film is and how relatable it is in this day and age. Change the horse drawn carriages to cars and the streets of London to any other city in the world and you can still tell and relate to the same story. Dick Van Dyke is always a personal favorite of mine, and his rubber faced portrayal as the wandering jack of all trades, Bert, shows just how talented the man is. A giant in his age with a great amount of films and a long lasting Television Sitcom, he and Julie Andrews have made some very impressive history in cinema. It’s wonderful to hear how beautiful a voice Julie Andrews had before the constant smoking caught up with her in the later years of her life. She was able to play Mary Poppins with such grace and beauty that you can’t help but stare in awe at her, the same stare that everyone in the movie shares.
Rated G for General Audiences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13950[/img]WOW! That’s all I can really say. With the glut of Disney animated titles that have gotten some lackluster treatment lately (usually with over scrubbing them to death) it’s a real treat to see a beautifully unaltered transfer for their live action titles. “Mary Poppins” has always been one of Disney’s top selling live action titles and it’s fantastic to see the love and care that went into this transfer. There is a nice smooth layer of film gain layering the whole film, proof in itself that this transfer hasn’t been scrubbed to death in an effort to look smooth and “shiny”. Colors are bright and cheery without being overly saturated and detail is just stunning. The hairs on Bert’s jacket, the crinkled leather on Mary Poppin’s shoes, and even the extra dusting of face powder done by the makeup department are all replicated with pin point precision. Black levels are beautifully inky and deep without any real noise or crush. It’s a little more obvious that the movie is filmed using watercolor backgrounds instead of good ole jolly London, but those paintings are just as beautiful as any of the film work itself. Fantastic job Disney.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13951[/img]Now, the audio is just as excellent as the video is. With a newly mastered 7.1 DTS-HD MA track we can hear the musical numbers as we’ve never heard them before. Rich and full of vibrancy the track is fantastically nuanced, giving us those little ambient noises, such as Bert’s footsteps echoing down the alley ways of London, the squeak of a horse drawn carriage as it pull out of the Banks residence and the swish of petticoat rustling through the living room. Directionality is excellent with some nice solid use of the surrounds for ambient noise. The main use of the surrounds though is with the copious amounts of musical numbers that litter the sound stage, enveloping the user into a concert hall type arena. Dialogue is crisp and clean, locked in the center channel and I only noticed once or twice where the voices sounded a bit echoey, although that seems more to being shot on a cramped sound stage rather than in open air.
• Becoming Mr. Sherman
• Audio Commentary
• Disney on Broadway
• Backstage Disney
• Music & More
• The Cat that Looked at a King
A beautiful family film, “Mary Poppins” is at the top of my Disney live action list and rightfully so, winning 5 Oscar’s and 14 other academy awards it has become a classic film for multiple generations. The sheer stunning beauty of the audio and video make this a must buy for anyone who even remotely likes the film. It’s a been a long time coming, but here’s to hoping that Disney will open the doors and release more of its live action catalog onto Blu-ray as well.
Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Glynis Johns, David Tomlinson
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
Written by: Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English, French, Spanish DD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 139 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Dec 10th, 2013
Buy Mary Poppins Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It!
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