Mary Poppins: 45th Anniversary DVD Review

Mary Poppins on DVDOK, I’ll admit it: I’d never seen Mary Poppins. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was about. I knew that some lady named Julie Andrews was the star – and of course I know who Dick Van Dyke is – but other than that, I heard something about it being a cheesy combination of live-action musical and cartoons. It sounded pretty damn stupid, and when I actually watched this so-called classic Disney film, it confirmed my beliefs: completely – and I mean completely – overrated. I don’t get what people like about this film, and will never watch it again. When I will have children, I will ensure they never, ever see Mary Poppins.

OK, I’ll admit it: that first paragraph is a complete lie. Mary Poppins is one of the biggest family classics of all time, and it deserves to be. It stands the test of time incredibly well, thanks to the enjoyable songs and overall goofiness picture, combined with authentic performances from everyone involved – including the child actors.

To go on raving about Mary Poppins is rather wasteful, so I’ll shift my attention to the 45th Anniversary 2-Disc set that came to DVD earlier this week. The DVD contains a variety of bonus features, and I’ll admit it (for real this time): it’s a pretty good collection of items.

The quantity is good, and the quality is good, and both kids and adults should find something to enjoy here. The one that stands out the most to me is a “musical reunion with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman.” While there’s nothing remarkable here, it’s nice to see Van Dyke and Andrews back together again, singing songs and talking about their experiences.

Speaking of Van Dyke and Andrews, it’s nice to see actors not completely consumed with themselves, even after all these years. These days, if an actor does a big film and is asked to do a reunion interview some years later, I would expect that 50% of the time they would turn it down. In this collection, both Van Dyke and Andrews show up in a variety of special features in their modern-day forms (still looking surprisingly good) – whether it be a new Mary Poppins short (yes, Julie Andrews is back as Mary Poppins!) or a making-of featurette.

Extending from my complaint about modern actors, it’s also impressive to see footage from the original premiere. The interviews seem like something straight out of a Disney movie, and yet they’re sincere. Van Dyke especially just seems happy to be there, and he waves at his baby girl like a goofball. Compare this to modern day premiere or red carpet events and… well, it’s hard to see the similarities.

Less interesting to me were the featurettes about the Broadway version. I didn’t find these all that stimulating, though people with more interest in theater should find something to enjoy. The Broadway elements are extensive – they just didn’t do it for me.

The Mary Poppins: 45th Anniversary DVD has a variety of other features, including the original theatrical trailer, makeup tests with Dick Van Dyke, some additional music numbers, among other things.  All in all, it’s an impressive set of bonus features – and while I have a pile of other movies sitting around waiting to be reviewed, I couldn’t help but stick this movie in. The music is great, the visuals stand up surprisingly well and it’s just an all-around entertaining movie.

To be honest, I just had a single glass of wine and for some reason it’s hitting me harder than I would expect… so I’m going to glaze over the rest of the features. In all fairness, big fans of the movie –

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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