At this point in time you’d be hardpressed to find something negative to say about Mary Poppins. A true classic, the film has not only stood the test of time (as showcased by this 45th Anniversary edition), but also manages to entertain a whole new generation of children who see this film for the first time. Since the advent of the DVD format, Mary Poppins has seen four releases (this one included), and with each edition the extras become bigger and bigger. While this 45th Anniversary edition isn’t a whole lot better than the version released five years ago, it does bring a few new goodies to the table.
Experience the extraordinary animation, dazzling special effects and award-winning music of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in this restored and remastered 2-Disc 45th Anniversary Special Edition! Join the “practically perfect” Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) for a “Jolly Holiday” as she magically turns every chore into a game and every day into a whimsical adventure. Along the way, you’ll be enchanted by unforgettable characters such as the multitalented chimney sweep Bert (Dick Van Dyke). Unpack Mary’s magical carpetbag full of bonus features, including all-new bonus from the “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” Broadway production of Mary Poppins. You won’t need a “Spoonful of Sugar” to love every moment of this timeless Disney classic!
Disney films were a big thing in my house growing up, although I can only recall a few times we actually watched Mary Poppins. It’s not that we didn’t enjoy it; it’s just that the cartoons held a greater importance over the live action outings. Still, there was no doubt that Mary Poppins got into my head when I was younger, to the point where I attempted to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and failed miserably for quite a few years.
Another reason we may not have watched this film so much was because of its runtime; I didn’t even realize it until watching it again for the first time in over ten years, but this is really quite a long film. At over two hours long, it’s no wonder I didn’t have the attention span but for a few viewings of this film; not that it’s not entertaining for the entirety of the film mind you, but it certainly wasn’t something that a six year old boy would be terribly interested in seeing again and again. Still, those few viewings stuck with me as a kid, as I would watch movies years down the line that would have the subtlest of Poppins references and I would immediately laugh.
The influence this film has had on others is really quite amazing; whether it be a completely twisted reference in the animated Venture Bros. series or even the remarkably similar take with Mrs. Doubtfire, Mary Poppins is really one of the more influential films in the history of cinema and it’s easy to see why. The pacing, the music and just everything about this film is near flawless. The acting by all parties involved, children included, is some of the best to ever grace a movie of this caliber. The animation that was spliced in with the live-action sequences is still amazing to this day. It’s hard to really object to any of what this film puts in front of us; not that I’m afraid to objectively review a film this old, but there’s really nothing to complain about here. Call it part nostalgia, but this film is about as impeccable as they come.
Overall it’s kind of futile to even offer an opinion on Mary Poppins at this stage of its life, as it’s the exact definition of “classic.” Highly Recommended.
I always loved the cover art to the 40th Anniversary edition of the film and was sad to see the subtleness of it changed for the 45th, as this cover is really a lot more colorful and in your face than the past release. But, hey…more bonus content! The set itself arrives in a standard two-disc “lock” amaray case with an embossed/foil reflective slip cover. Inside is an advertisement for the Blu-ray format (which this film curiously is not on…hmm. 50th Anniversary perhaps?) and a Disney Movie Rewards code. Disc art is a plain grey wash (taking cues from Paramount, are we?) and menus are nicely animated and laid out.
Video for this film is what you’d expect and I’m pretty sure this transfer is the same as the 40th anniversary release, as despite saying it’s a “new” transfer in the rear jacket description, the information I gleaned from this transfer seems to match those of the reports from the 40th, so I’d wager they’re the same. Not that that’s a bad thing—for the films age it’s a fantastic looking film, with a little bit of grain here and there, but nothing too bothersome. Overall this is a fine transfer and one I’d love to see on Blu-ray, but I’m sure that’ll happen soon enough. The audio mix included, a Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer, is also fantastic with a great surround spread and even some subwoofer usage here and there (nothing to wake the neighbors though, of course). Also included are French and Spanish audio tracks, as well as an original English 2.0 Theatrical mix.
In terms of extras we get a mix of the old with the new, with the Broadway rendition of the film making up the majority of the extras here. Disc by disc breakdown:
Disney’s Song Selection
Poppins Pop-Up Fun Facts
“Disney on Broadway”
– From Page to Stage (48:04)
– Musical Number (7:08)
– Bob Crowley’s Design Gallery (0:14 intro)
– MP3 of “Step in Time”
– The Making Of (50:43)
– Mmovie Magic (7:05)
– The Gala World Premiere (17:45)
– Dick Van Dyke Make-Up Test (1:08)
– Publicity (myriad of trailers and teasers)
“Music & More”
– Musical Reunion with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman (17:18)
– A Musical Journey with Richard Sherman (20:51)
– Deleted Song: Chimpanzoo (1:39)
Bonus Short: The Cat That Looked at a King (9:52)
As you can see there’s plenty to see here and all of the goodies of the 40th Anniversary are included here. Having said that if you do already own the release from five years back, I don’t think you’re going to get much here that you haven’t seen already; the Broadway stuff is nice, but it’s nothing that is required viewing unless you’re a huge fan of the film.
Previous Owners: Rent It
Newcomers: Highly Recommended.
Mary Poppins – 45th Anniversary Edition arrives on DVD on January 27th.