Mary Poppins Returns – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Mary Poppins Returns - Emily Blunt Character Poster

When we reviewed the film back in December, we initially gave it an average rating. Upon multiple viewings, our thoughts on the film relatively remain the same. The problem with Mary Poppins Returns is that it looks modern but closely follows the original film. As a result, it feels more like a reboot than an actual sequel. In a way, it’s understandable. After all, Mary Poppins Returns did come out 54 years after the original. Thus, there has to be some connection to the original to please Mary Poppins fans. This tactic did work for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Unfortunately, Walt Disney’s influence is sorely missing from this version. Walt Disney, like many of the films he supervised, always gave films this inherent charm and magic. Mary Poppins Returns, on the other hand, lacks all of those things. The film feels a bit dry. Creating a cinematic musical in the vein of a theatre musical can be a tricky thing. There has to be a balance. Tilting one way or the other will result in a film falling apart.

This is essentially what happened to Mary Poppins Returns. Director Rob Marshall wanted to make the film into a cinematic theatre musical that paid homage to the original. But somewhere along the way, he left behind some of that Mary Poppins magic.

The musical numbers and music are similar to the original film, but they’re not as catchy or as memorable as the original. There are a few gems in there, but they’re mostly forgettable. Unfortunately, the only song that doesn’t pay homage to the original is the one song that feels out of place. “Turning Turtle” feels like a song that was put together to get Meryl Streep in the film. It just doesn’t fit in naturally with the rest of the film.

Nevertheless, Mary Poppins Returns is still a well-acted film. Except for Colin Firth (the film’s villain), everyone has such a warmth to them which gives the film much of its heart. None moreso than Emily Blunt. It’s incredibly difficult to take over such an iconic role, but Blunt fits into the role. She’s able to embody Mary’s sarcasm, enigma, rudeness, and warmth in her performance. This is the Mary Poppins that we’ve come to love; it’s just coming from another actor.

Overall, Mary Poppins Returns is a needless sequel to a timeless classic. The filmmakers wanted to pay homage to the original so much that they forgot to bring anything new or fresh to the table. Not to mention, the music, the most important part of the film, is mostly forgettable. It’s just a shame that the film wastes the performances of its stellar cast.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Mary Poppins Returns - Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw, and Emily Blunt

Mary Poppins Returns hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The picture isn’t particularly bright. After all, it is London where it’s cloudy and dreary most of the time. Nevertheless, where there are bright spots in the film, it pops from the screen. The black levels feature different shades of black. You can see the black levels range from an obsidian black to a deep black. Either way, you won’t find any shadow details lost here.

Since the overall color palette is simple, there is a nice natural reproduction of colors here. Since Mary Poppins Returns was filmed on 4K cameras, the details are very clear. The fabrics, patterns, and textures can easily be seen. Not to mention, the edge details are crisp as well. Film grain is even and unnoticeable. Overall, this is a great looking video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Mary Poppins Returns - Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Mary Poppins Returns hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Mary Poppins Returns‘s Dolby Atmos track. The Dolby Atmos format isn’t utilized to its fullest potential here. There is limited use of dynamic pans in this mix. With as much movement as there is in the film, the audio mix doesn’t move along with the scene. Regardless, the sound stage does come alive through the mix’s accurate sound object placement. This also includes the mix’s overhead effects as well. The overhead effects happen when the scene calls for it—which doesn’t happen often. The audio mix’s atmospherics is subtle but it does add to the overall immersion of a scene.

Unfortunately, the film’s music is front-loaded. The songs primarily come through the front channels and don’t fill up the soundstage. It’s a bit disappointing to hear since this is a musical. At least, the dialogue is clear, but the poor subwoofer doesn’t get much action here. Overall, the film doesn’t make good use of the Dolby Atmos format.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features
Mary Poppins Returns - Emily Mortimer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Emily Blunt

The Mary Poppins Returns Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features on it. However, you can find the following special features on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns
  • Practically Perfect Bloopers
  • “Seeing Things from a Different Point of View” The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns
    • “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”
    • “The Royal Doulton Music Hall” / “A Cover Is Not the Book”
    • “Turning Turtle”
    • “Can You Imagine That?”
  • Deleted Song: “The Anthropomorphic Zoo”
  • The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns
    • Introduction
    • “Underneath the Lovely London SKy”
    • “Can You Imagine That?”
    • “Nowhere to Go but Up”
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Leaving Topsy’s
    • “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”

“Dick Van Dyke” takes a look at Dick Van Dyke cameo appearance in Mary Poppins Returns. It’s short and not very informative, but it is still nice to see one of the original cast members of Mary Poppins in this film. The blooper reel isn’t necessarily funny, but you do, however, get to see how much fun everyone has on set.

“Musical Numbers” is a great behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the film’s various dance numbers. “Anthropomorphic Zoo” is a semi-catchy tune but the context of the song is a bit weird. Easily, the best special feature in this release is the making-of featurette. It’s a beautifully shot and edited featurette that covers a wide array of subjects. It’s amazing to see how large and complex the production was. As for the deleted scenes are really, really short scenes that don’t add much to the scenes.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Overall, Mary Poppins Returns is sadly an unnecessary sequel that focuses more on paying homage to the original than providing audiences with something new. The video does look fantastic, but the audio mix is a bit underwhelming. The special features, however, are a joy to watch. A majority of the special features in this release are incredibly well-made.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1613 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.