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Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #18a: Mary PoppinsDisney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #18a: Mary Poppins

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As we move into December it’s only natural to take stock of everything that’s happened in the last year and I gotta say…2012 was very, very good to me. I married the love of my life, moved into a new house, had a beautiful daughter, and after years of smacking my head against a brick wall my writing career is finally starting to show signs of momentum. Oh yeah, and I started a blog that has done better than I could ever have envisaged. I thought this would just be me typing away every week being indulged by a few of my Facebook friends. Now I’m checking the stats every day and wondering why I’m getting fewer hits from the Philippines than usual.

They never forgave me for killing off Sarcastic Map of Wartime Europe.
They never forgave me for killing off Sarcastic Map of Wartime Europe.
So yeah. 2012 was a very good year. It was like that song by Frank Sinatra. You know the one."My Way".

Having said that, I think it’s pretty safe to say that if I live to be a hundred I will NEVER have as good a year as Julie Andrews did in 1965. Her first ever movie, Mary Poppins,was the highest grossing film of the year and received a record breaking 13 Oscar Nominations, winning five. Oh yeah, and the second highest grossing film that year was a little picture called The Sound of Music which would actually go on to gross even more than Gone with the WindIn case you’re curious, the third and fourth most successful movies that year were Goldfinger and My Fair Lady. Yeah. 1965 was a GOOD year for movies, and an absolutely phenomenal one for Julie Andrews.

Andrews was coming off a successful stage career, having originated the role of Eliza Doolittle on Broadway in My Fair Lady, and was actually going to star in the movie version but at the last minute she was replaced by some kind of giant sentient stick insect that couldn't sing.

Eat. A fucking. Sandwich.
Eat. A fucking. Sandwich.
Andrews got the last laugh when Walt Disney cast her as Mary Poppins, a casting choice that was, oh yes, practically perfect in every way. But time enough for that. Let's look at Mary Poppins. 

Mary Poppins is one of those movies where everything just comes together perfectly. Director Robert Stevenson did plenty of work with Disney before this and went on to do many more films with the studio afterward. If you've seen any live action Disney movie that involved Dean Jones running afoul of animals or magic or magic animals; (The Shaggy DA, Blackbeard's Ghost, That Darn Cat, The Love Bug etc), chances are Robert Stevenson directed it. Stevenson, to my mind, is possibly the most perfect example of a journeyman director you could find. His filmography is pretty much wall to wall competent, workmanline, uninspired, totally forgettable kiddie films. Oh, and this, one of the most awarded and beloved movies of all time. What happened? Honestly, I don't know. I've watched a lot of Stevenson's work (although I didn't realise it at the time) and with the possible exception of  Bedknobs and Broomsticks, none of them approach his work here in terms of style and charm. But then, he wouldn't be the only one who brought their A game to this movie.

For instance, the songs by the Sherman Brothers...
The...brothers...Sheeeerm....
The...brothers...Sheeeerm....
Oh, back for more eh? WELL TASTE THE BOOM!

Salty.
Salty.
Worst fucking running joke I ever...anyway, the music. I honestly cannot think of another musical where all the songs, every single damn one, are of such fantastic quality. There is not one average, mediocre or forgettable tune in the whole film. They are all pure gold.

The movie begins with a sweeping overhead of one of the magnificent matte paintings that stand in for Edwardian London and we get our first view of our heroine, calmly applying foundation while sitting on a cloud like it ain't no thang. That wordless introduction over, we swoop down to ground level where our guide through this surreal, dreamlike version of London entertains a crowd as a one man band. This is Bert, played by Dick Van Dyke...

ACCENT! ACCENT! ACCENT!
ACCENT! ACCENT! ACCENT!

I'M GETTING TO THE ACCENT! JESUS!

FULL REVIEW HERE: http://unshavedmouse.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/disney-reviews-with-the-unshaved-mouse-18a-mary-poppins

Comments

  • Skyscraper
    Skyscraper Thursday, 13 December 2012

    Mary Poppins is a movie that was a favorite of my mothers, she's often spoken well of it and everyone in my family who's seen it has enjoyed it... and yet, I've never seen it. Not even once. I think it was because when I was a kid Disney was "cartoons", and anything that snuck in live action and tried to call itself Disney was a wile traitor to the cause that only deserved scorn and mockery.

    Granted, considering some of the Disney live-action movies I HAD seen up until that point I suppose I can see where I was coming from, but reviews like these are really good at chipping away at my lifelong armor of preset cynicism.

    Also, no comparisons to the book as you did in Peter Pan? I presume you never read it, or the changes weren't major enough to be worth bringing up?

  • Unshaved Mouse
    Unshaved Mouse Saturday, 15 December 2012

    You're right, I haven't read the books. But from what I gather the changes the movie made sound like they were the right ones. Also, I think this movie has pretty much eclipsed the books as the "Mary Poppins" people think of when they hear the name. I really would advise you check it out. It's one of a kind.

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