Mary Poppins box
Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray
This winter, Disney is releasing Saving Mr. Banks, a film that discusses the relationship Walt Disney formed with Mary Poppins writer P.L. Travers over a period of numerous years while he tried to convince her to create a film about her popular children’s character. The movie will hit theaters just in time for the film’s 50th Anniversary, and since Disney has always been a master of marketing, Walt Disney’ s Mary Poppins is also being released onto Blu-ray and DVD in a special 50th Anniversary Edition, and you don’t even need a spoonful of sugar to get through the epic release.

Mary Poppins hinges on the music as well as the performances. Both of these have always been outstanding, and they look even better on a large screen with Blu-ray picture. I hadn’t seen the film in quite some time prior to the 50th Anniversary release, and there are a lot of charming and clever motifs throughout that make a rewatch even more worthwhile. The Banks’ matriarch (Glynis Johns), for instance, is an animated feminist. And then there’s the Admiral (Reginald Owen) who lives next door, a man who enjoys keeping time and playing with explosives. The children are ragamuffins of a well-dressed sort, but front and center is Mary Poppins herself (Julie Andrews), an elegant and precise woman who is occasionally fine with coloring outside of the lines.

There’s a lot that goes into making a classic film. It helps that Mary Poppins was created during a time when live action musicals were still quite popular. It also helps that the catchy music has been a mainstay in school choirs for the past fifty years, that the material is based on a popular children’s book and that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke created memorable characters. Regardless, what makes Mary Poppins so lasting is its ability to build its own world, a world filled with possibility and magic. A world where the bold colors of animation can collide with the costumes of Victorian England and somehow tell a story about gentle family lessons. The 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is not a copy you necessarily have to own, but if you don’t already have Mary Poppins in your collection, now is a nice time to get it.

Best Special Feature: Some people may not be totally down with all of the cross-marketing for Saving Mr. Banks that is present within the bonus features. However, if you don’t mind getting marketed at, you’ll probably enjoy the segment "Becoming Mr. Sherman," which features Banks actor Jason Schwartzman and the real-life Richard Sherman, who composed the music for Mary Poppins, along with his late brother, Robert. The 85-year-old composer is just delightful to listen to, even when Schwartzman is taking himself too seriously. The rest of the disc features the new "e-oke" feature Disney has been trying out, as well as the classic bonus features, which means the music-focused extra is probably the most interesting thing on the disc.

Other Special Features:
Audio Commentary
"Bonus Short: The Cat That Looked At A King"
Music & More
Backstage Disney
Disney on Broadway

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