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Mary Poppins Returns (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Disney has been revisiting many of their hand-drawn animated classics of yesteryear and been giving human (Or computer animated) life to them for a whole new generation with great degrees of success. Mary Poppins Returns takes at taking one of their live-action classics (That also featured a handful of hand-drawn animation) and giving it a lega-sequel of all its own.  The film proved a solid hit and one of the biggest movies of the holiday season, but not the monster I think they were expecting over that leggy time period. Its arriving quickly now, on shelves for 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on March 19th. At some point the link below will be active, so come back around to see if you can log yourself an Amazon pre-order.

Film 

Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days unless he can pay back a loan. His only hope is to find a missing certificate that shows proof of valuable shares that his father left him years earlier. Just as all seems lost, Michael and his sister receive the surprise of a lifetime when Mary Poppins — the beloved nanny from their childhood — arrives to save the day and take the Banks family on a magical, fun-filled adventure.

55 years ago, Disney’s live action fantasy musical that mesmerized audiences with its display of live action and animation sharing a frame. In 2018, Disney aimed to recapture that magic with a new tale of Mary Poppins with Mary Poppins Returns. Narratively a sequel to the original 1954 classic, this update lovingly swam into the “lega-sequel” class of films. It tells a new story that shares a structure and beats with the original film. A nostalgic bump for the older audiences and a clean new entry point for the younger unfamiliar viewers. And overall, its an imaginative, fun little piece of joy for all.

Looking past a terrible Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, director Rob Marshall has been one of Hollywood’s go-to musical directors since his giant success with the Academy Award winning Best Picture Chicago 17 years ago. With Poppins, Marshall proves to be at his most colorful and imaginative we’ve seen. It pays gleeful tribute with a visual palette and special effects offering that handsomely compliments the original Mary Poppins film. Side to side you can tell they were made over 50 years apart, but digging in, with the feelings, themes, songs and what the costumes, sets and animation is going for, they couldn’t more the same.

Emily Blunt commands this offering with an outstanding performance as the titular character. She’s every bit of Julie Andrews and every bit her own progressed interpretation. Its Blunt in a role that really sees none of her and only Poppins, fully transforming herself and lost in the role. The other players in the film are a good bit of fun. Lin-Manuel Miranda is given plenty opportunity to shine and this is a logical positive step for him as Hollywood seems to be in a stage of trying to figure out how and where to best utilize his talents.

Mary Poppins Returns could very well be called Mary Poppins Reprise as it gives life back to that joy and feeling of watching the original while boasting all new side adventures and songs. Its a visual treat with wonderfully talented performers doing best to honor a dignified classic both in front of and behind the camera. I’m not sure its this amazing new classic, but it sure is an enjoyable escape for any family or individual to enjoy for a couple hours.

Video 

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Mary Poppins Returns lands on 4K Ultra-HD and was shot at 3.4K making it a slight upscale. The film really relishes in such wonderful colorful and is very vibrant contrasting to its natural darks. Its a sharp, detailed image that really compliments all the fantasy and animation on display in the film. When the film wants to get very grounded and real, the image looks very good and equally when it goes a little bonkers it befits that look as well.

Depth:  The film’s natural look doesn’t lend to a whole lot of three dimensional zest being in dark and foggy areas, but it does really open up and feel well rounded when well lit. Movements are confident and smooth with no distortions present.

Black Levels: The film has a heavy abundance of deep blacks and the transfer handles and saturates them very well.  Details shine through no matter how deep it gets, you can still see specifics on surfaces, hair, clothing and props.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite strong and pronounced and feature great contrast to pop out in the realistic cobblestone streets and within a colorful theater. Green is a very pronounced color in this film and features a good deal of saturation (Seriously, there’s an overabundance of green in this movie).

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. They look very flush and feature great detail on make-up, wrinkles, stubble, freckles and more in any given distance.

Noise/Artifacts: N/A

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Korean

Dynamics: Mary Poppins Returns comes with a terrific mix and very playful and engaging experience. However, it comes with a typical Disney conceit. You have to turn this one up. My scoring for this is fair to how the experience was once I turned it up. I personally turned my up 6 notches more than my normal setting, but could have gone a little heavier, but that was a fine level to get what I was wanting.

Height: The ceiling speaker is fully utilized and playfully integrated into this mix. This might be my favorite up top experience in the Atmos era. Anything you’d imagine floating over or hitting above does and then some.

Low Frequency Extension: The music number provide probably the best bump in the subwoofer, but effects like horse clip clops, slamming doors, magical bursts, roaring waters and more have a nice bump to them.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is every bit as playful as the ceiling speaker portion I wrote would indicate. Rolling sound travels in a whirlwind throughout your speakers. There are plenty of unique additions coming from anywhere and the travel is playful and accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, the songs naturally weave and wander into the dialogue without a change or jump in clarity. They naturally feel a part of the scene that led up to it.

Extras 

Mary Poppins Returns comes with the Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Sing-Along Mode

Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns (HD, 5:22) – Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. in the first film, returns after 54 years to Cherry Tree Lane as Mr. Dawes Jr. The cast have plenty to gush about regarding it as well.

Practically Perfect Bloopers (HD, 1:57)

“Seeing Things From a Different Point of View”: The Musical Numbers of “Mary Poppins Returns” – Go behind the scenes and experience the film’s production numbers from a new angle. A behind the scenes of sorts with interviews and on set footage of the musical numbers in the film.

  • “Trip a Little Light Fantastic (HD, 3:56)
  • “The Royal Doulton Music Hall” / “A Cover Is Not The Book” (HD, 7:05) 
  • “Turning Turtle” (HD, 3:01)
  • “Can You Imagine That?” (HD, 4:03)

Deleted Song: “The Anthropomorphic Zoo” (HD, 5:04) – A demo recording of a song that was replaced by “The Royal Doulton Music Hall” accompanied by production sketches/storyboards of said sequence.

The Practically Perfect Making of “Mary Poppins Returns” (HD, 23:38) – Join filmmakers and cast on an amazing journey to embrace the legacy of the original film while making a fresh modern sequel. Its a 4-part feature that goes over details as well as any Disney/Marvel making of that includes plenty of production behind the scenes and interviews with all important parties in front of and behind the camera.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 1:43)

Digital Only

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.

Summary 

Mary Poppins Returns is a delightful escape and continuation with the legendary majestic nanny from the clouds. Its a visual treat and fun in both retelling and fitting into new vignettes.  The presentation here is about as best as you could hope for (Especially from Disney) and their extras fall into line with of their best modern home releases. An easy pickup if you enjoyed the film or are curious about checking it out.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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