Mary Poppins herself sums it up perfectly in this quote from the film: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” To celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of this practically perfect Disney classic, the film has received an all-new digital restoration and is being released from the vault for the first time on Blu-Ray this Tuesday, December 10th. Just in time not only for the holiday season, but also for the December 20th opening of Disney’s SAVING MR. BANKS, a film inspired by the tale of what Walt Disney and his team encountered as they tried to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins from the book’s author, P.L. Travers. Continue reading for our review of MARY POPPINS 50th Anniversary Edition on Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy.
Audio Options: English, French, and Spanish
Subtitle Options: English, French, and Spanish (film content only)
The main menu showcases the beautiful matte painting from the film’s opening sequence by artist & Disney Legend, Peter Ellenshaw. Mary Poppins sits atop her cloud as she floats over London, accompanied by her carpet bag and umbrella. The menu itself is simple but intuitive. There are no flashy or clever segue’s once an option is chosen, the screen just goes to black while the next screen loads.
Widely considered to be Walt Disney’s best live action film of all time, Mary Poppins remains a timeless classic that continues to delight audiences of all ages. The all-new digital restoration done for this 50th anniversary edition comes with pros and cons. Like anything shown in HD, the viewer is able to see the actors in greater detail, and things like make-up, sweat, scars, etc., are much more apparent. Not that these things should be the focus of the film, but sometimes they sort of pop out of the screen, pulling your attention away from the scene. More than that, some of the special effects have been compromised due to the new restoration. Particularly in the scenes where Mary Poppins sorts through her carpet bag, as well as the “Spoonful of Sugar” sequence in the nursery. Even into my adulthood, I’d watch these scenes in awe of the movie magic, not being able to see any lines or wires in the screen as they simply “snapped” the toys into place. The restoration makes these lines and cuts much more obvious to the viewer. On the pro side, the “Jolly Holiday” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” segments look more beautiful than ever! The animation and live-action sequences blend just beautifully.
There are a LOT of special features, although, most of the items included here were part of the 40th Anniversary Edition 2-Disc DVD. If you already own that, you may have seen most of these before. If not, you’re in for a real treat! Everything listed here is included on the Blu-Ray disc, along with the feature film. I appreciated that it was all on one disc, I hate having to switch just to see the bonus content.
Becoming Mr. Sherman (All-New): Jason Schwartzman, who portrays Richard Sherman in Saving Mr. Banks , sits down with the Disney Legend to talk about the role Mr. Sherman and his brother, Robert Sherman, played in the making of Mary Poppins. Richard thoughtfully declares that watching scenes from Saving Mr. Banks was “like watching old home movies”, and seeing him become emotional over the footage is truly touching. Clips that include demo’s of the Sherman brothers playing and singing the songs over concept art for the film will be sure to satisfy anyone who enjoys learning about Disney history. Listening to Richard recount his experience and the process of writing the music for Mary Poppins, and what it was like to work with Walt Disney is all incredibly moving. Tissues may be required for this piece. Well, at least they were for me (although my husband looked at me like I was a tad crazy for crying, but hey, I’m sappy. What can I say?).
Mary-OKE (All-New): Here, you can choose one of your favorite songs for your very own Mary Poppins karaoke, selections include: “Spoonful of Sugar“, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious“, “Step in Time“, and “Chim-Chim-Cheree“. The words come up in varying fonts at a rapid pace from across all points of the screen, all the while dancing and flipping around. They aren’t set to the actual scenes from the film, it’s just music and graphics making it very difficult to follow along. I really didn’t find this enjoyable, and there was no real “karaoke” element. Thankfully, this isn’t the only sing-along option on the disc, more on that later.
Classic Bonus Features: This is where the bulk of the special features are found, and have carried over from the previous DVD releases.
Personally, as a fan of Disney history, and this being one of my absolute favorite films of all time, there were several segments that I loved. Among my top picks are the all new Becoming Mr. Sherman, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins, and the two Deconstruction of a Scene segments. These are all well worth the time investment, and you walk away with the feeling that the entire experience for the cast & crew truly was kismet. That for all the trials and hardships it took to bring the story to life, the film was made exactly as it was meant to be. Just please take note that many of the on screen tricks are revealed in these segments, so it may not be a good fit for the film’s younger admirers.
Are you planning to pick up the 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray when it’s released on Tuesday, December 10th? Which is your favorite Disney live-action film? For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.