Mary Poppins is one of those timeless classics that will always be fun to watch no matter what age I’ll get to. As a child I can remember watching as she pulled tons of stuff out of her magical bag and then she jumped into a chalk painting so that everyone could have a day of full of fun and song. Those were all things I wanted to join in on and there were many times I hoped Mary Poppins would actually end up on our doorstep and be my nanny. All of the games and songs are magical and moments I wanted to partake in. The love she shows for the children and everyone she comes across is just unconditional and beautiful. Mary Poppins is a film that needs to be shared by generation after generation, but we get the idea and don’t need a new release every five years. Seriously.
Mr. Banks is a very unhappy banker that has left the job of finding a nanny for his children up to his wife. Being as wealthy a family as they are, many different prospects want to make their way into the Banks’ household and set those children straight. Little did they know that there wouldn’t need to be many applicants interviewed before the position has been filled. Mary Poppins is her name and she is practically perfect in every way which is great news for the children, Jane and Michael Banks as they need a good bit of guidance since their parents never have much time for them. Little do the kids know though that Mary isn’t any ordinary nanny and that she’ll introduce them to things they have never imagined before.
Mary Poppins sets a little order in place before too long and the kids automatically listen to her every word. It could be because of the seemingly complicated magic tricks she pulls off with ease (or the fact that she floated into town with nothing but an open umbrella). Mary teaches the kids about togetherness with her chimneysweep friend Bert and really opens their eyes to what kind of life they could have had all along if only their parents would just take notice to them. A trip to a magical park embedded in a sidewalk painting, a horse race with equines from a carousel, and a hilarious tea party that takes place on the ceiling are just a few of the amazing adventures that Mary takes the children on before taking on a much more difficult task. In order for her job as nanny to be a total success, Mary must somehow get this family together again even if it means putting her out of a job.
There’s just no way to not like this film because it tells a great story without beating you in the face with all the morality of it. Every single song you hear is incredibly memorable and more then likely you know the words to all of them if you grew up watching this. Let’s not forget that Mary Poppins takes the kids on adventures all of us could only dream of when we were little and hell, even now. I remember watching this film as a child and really wanting to be a chimneysweeper because it appeared to be the coolest job in the world since they were allowed to walk on rooftops, get dirty, sing, and dance whenever they were at work. Or maybe being a sidewalk artist was more my speed and I wanted to create drawings that people could jump into and experience what was staring them back in the face in the medium of chalk. Lord knows I’d never want to be a banker because all they do is avoid and ignore their family and that’s just the message Mary Poppins is trying to teach.
Not necessarily that bankers are bad, but that families should spend together. When you have a significant other and children, work may be important but never more then the ones you love. You get the idea.
The presentation of Mary Poppins is shown in 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and is exactly the same quality as the 40th Anniversary release. The colors are beautiful and there are barely any signs of age throughout the film making it an absolute pleasure to watch.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound which is the only way to listen to such a musically heavy film. All the dialogue is easily heard while the music, lyrics, and tippy-tapping of feet can be experienced filling up the whole room.
Audio Commentary – The magical Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and Karen Dotrice have a nice little chat during the film that is quite fun. You can hear the excitement in their voices as they share little stories and information from the film and from their time filming. It’s nothing that is incredibly informative but it is entertaining.
Disney’s Song Selection – Want to just listen to your favorite tunes from the film? Or perhaps you’d like to sing along with the songs as you’re watching the film? Well, you can do both here with a few varying options.
Poppins’ Pop-Up Fun Facts – Pop-Up Video for a Disney film.
Mary Poppins From Page To Stage – Interviews, backstage stuff, and just a whole bunch of good shots from the Broadway show. Most of this long feature is made up of interviews but they are all fantastic in that we get to hear a lot of what happens backstage of a big musical. This just needs to be checked out by all. (48:04)
Step In Time – An actual live recording of the song as performed in the Broadway musical. The singing, dancing, and outfits are all wonderful making for a very pleasant experience. (7:08)
Bob Crowley’s Design Gallery
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making Of Mary Poppins – Everything you could think of that comes in a “making of” featurette is given here in the way of interviews, behind the scenes footage, on the set filming, and so much more. Most of the time you won’t get a featurette this in depth but this one is just perfect and leaves nothing left to wonder about. (50:43)
Movie Magic – Mary Poppins had a lot of special effects that were brand new to many people back in the early sixties when it was released. Even today, some of those effects are incredibly beautiful and done so very well that they were ahead of their time by many years. This short featurette looks into how they were done, but could have been much longer to present a deeper view of everything. (7:05)
The Gala World Premier – If ever there was a world premiere of a film that I’d like to walk down the red carpet for, it would have been Mary Poppins. A lot of footage is shown here from the 1964 premiere that included the stars and much more. (17:45)
Dick Van Dyke Make-Up Test – A short look at Van Dyke getting ready for some different scenes and commentary from him as well. Too short and it’s over before really getting started. (1:08)
Mary Poppins Still Art Gallery
A Magical Musical Reunion – Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are joined by Richard Sherman to discuss the music in the film. A little singing thrown in doesn’t hurt either. (17:18)
A Musical Journey With Richard Sherman – Sherman dives deeper into the music of the film more so then in the conversation with Andrews and Van Dyke. A lot of my favorite songs from the film are dissected here with even some fun unexpected bits put in. (20:51)
Deleted Song: Chimpanzoo
Bonus Short: “The Cat That Looked At A King” – This short piece comes from “Mary Poppins Opens The Door” by P.L. Travers. Julie Andrews introduces the piece and then hosts the rest of it which is a nice touch. It isn’t much, but it is a cute piece that has live actors and animated characters mixed together much like what is seen in the feature film. (9:52)
Download an MP3 Version Of “Step In Time”
Trailers – Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Edition, Up, Space Buddies, The Secret Of The Magic Gourd, Oliver & Company 20th Anniversary Edition, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bolt, TinkerBell And The Lost Treasure, and Monsters Inc.
When the 40th Anniversary Edition came out five years ago, one had to wonder what more they could possibly get from the world of Mary Poppins. Well, Disney made sure to not only release a very similar DVD to the one before it, but to also give plenty of extra stuff making it worth picking up for Disney-fanatics such as myself. All of the Broadway special features are brand new to the Mary Poppins collection giving fans a whole other hour of viewing enjoyment full of fun characters, awesomely choreographed dance numbers, and songs that you’ll never be able to get out of your head. This is one of my favorite films ever and has been since my first viewing as a young boy. Mary Poppins has a special place in my heart forever and this DVD set is practically perfect in every way.
Walt Disney Video presents Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Special Edition. Directed by: Robert Stevenson. Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, and more. Written by: Bill Walsh & Don DaGradi. Running time: 129 minutes on 2 discs. Rating: G. Released on DVD: January 27, 2009. Available at Amazon.com