Can a ‘Mary Poppins’ sequel even come close to the classic original?

17 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Can a ‘Mary Poppins’ sequel even come close to the classic original?.

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is on the way back into our vocabulary as Mary Poppins has been greenlit to make her way into theaters again, but not everyone is happy about it. The site reads: ‘Den Of Geek has heard from a source involved in the casting process that Emily Blunt is on Disney’s radar for the movie, and that she may even be the frontrunner for the role. ‘To be clear: this is from Disney’s side, rather than Blunt’s, so she may have not been contracted about taking on Mary Poppins.Well, it’s happening: Disney has confirmed that in true millennial fashion they’ll be remaking Mary Poppins, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. At first glance, this development appears to be the latest in a long string of announcements of Disney remounting many of its classic properties, including a live-action Jungle Book, a new Pete’s Dragon, and a star-studded live-action Beauty and the Beast, among many, many more.

After all, this year’s Cinderella remake warmed our hearts, minds and tear ducts, so maybe with the right cast we can look past the fact that this Rob Marshall-directed installment will take place 20 years after the original (thus making the infamous run on the bank seem like a weird precursor to the second world war or something but hey, look, that’s fine), and set our sights on victory. Travers book series of the same name and starred Julie Andrews as the practically perfect magical nanny who descended upon the Banks family out of the sky. But despite appearances, this new iteration of Mary Poppins — to be overseen by Chicago and Into the Woods director Rob Marshall — doesn’t fit that pattern.

It’s still painful for movie fans to have to endure an endless stream of big budget remakes that lack the skill, the acting and the verve of the originals,” Gainor said. “Hollywood should find some new ideas and stop destroying old ones.” Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who worked on “Hairspray” and “Smash”, will compose new songs and a score for the film. Well, despite Mary being painted as another version of Maria Von Trapp – namely because Julie Andrews starred in The Sound of Music the year before – don’t let us forget Ms Poppins’ ability to throw some serious shade. Because Disney (and, really, all of Hollywood) has put so much of its energy lately toward rejiggering its old properties, this new Mary Poppins is being confused by some for a reboot or a remake or a sequel, instead of what it actually is: the endangered Hollywood beast known as the Original Movie Musical (albeit one based on an existing character). Girlfriend dealt harsh truths with major side-eye on a regular basis (cue her slightly judgmental “hmm”), so whoever plays her needs to maintain a mix of kindness and edge.

Since Hollywood doesn’t show any signs of backing off on these types of film any time soon, it behooves moviegoers (and people who write about movies) to be clear on what these terms mean, how they should be applied, and why they’re not inherently bad. Especially since all three have proven their vocal strengths in other musical endeavours – particularly Amy Adams in Enchanted, one of the most underrated roles ever to exist.

The introduction of the term “reboot” into the Hollywood lexicon in recent years has caused a lot of confusion and consternation, because it hews so closely to the idea of a film remake. But it also applies to something like the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, which reset the long-running series to the beginning of Bond’s tenure as 007, repositioning both the character and the plot to where neither was beholden to what happened in previous film entries. There was indeed a 1967 Casino Royale, but despite sharing a title, two films are nothing alike: The former is a satire starring Peter Sellers as a retired Bond who is pressed back into service, while the latter is a straight-faced action flick starring Daniel Craig as a newly minted 007. Anyway.) Considering Burt harboured a playfulness that bordered on flirtiness (which also managed to fly completely over our heads as kids – a true art), whoever takes on his role will have to do the same, unless we’re about to see a rom-com installment of this English tale for children. In general, the simplest way to remember the difference between a reboot and a remake is to remember that for a film to be a reboot, it should be resetting a chronology that’s been established over multiple films.

This is quite common in horror: In the past few years alone, we’ve seen faithful (often to a fault) remakes of horror classics like Poltergeist, Carrie, Fright Night, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left, and countless more. And there was a whole mini-boom of films in the early 2000s predicated on the practice of importing Japanese horror films to US theaters more or less intact, just in English. But the prevailing cultural winds of nostalgia mean that no film genre is immune to the remake machine, from action and sci-fi (Robocop) to musicals (Annie).

To further confuse the issue, there’s also a small, strange subset of remakes that can be considered more cinematic experiments than nostalgia-fueled cash-grabs, like Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot color Psycho remake or Michael Haneke’s English remake of his own Funny Games. Most of Disney’s upcoming slate of live-action remakes fall into a subsection of the remake category, the “reimagining.” A reimagining is basically a remake, but with a fancy new hat: Something’s been added to or changed from the original film that alters it in a major way. But there are other high-profile reimaginings on the horizon as well, like Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, which gender-swaps the 1984 comedy classic, or the recently announced Roadhouse reimagining that puts MMA star Ronda Rousey in the Patrick Swayze role.

They’re a close cousin of the adaptation, which lifts content from one medium and applies it to another; the film reimagining is just adapting within the same medium. Sometimes, in fact, a film reimagining can happen with a slight detour into a different medium, as with the path Roger Corman’s 1960 film Little Shop Of Horrors traced from film to the Broadway stage, then back to film as a 1986 musical directed by Frank Oz. But at their most fundamental level, Rise, its follow-up Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and the upcoming War of the Planet of the Apes are all prequels within the established Apes universe. It’s far too easy in this day and age to write off films we haven’t seen yet, because we imagine them to be part of a crass, money-obsessed system that exploits moviegoers’ nostalgia by repurposing the same content over and over. (The term “gritty reboot” has become a catchall mockery of the idea that every beloved property must be dusted off and darkened up for modern audiences.) Reboots, remakes, reimaginings, and sequels/prequels aren’t inherently bad, and don’t necessarily connote creative bankruptcy.

But really, they’re just different categorizations of storytelling techniques that creators have been utilizing for as long as film has been a going concern. The first step to doing that is getting our terminology straight; the second is to not let that terminology adversely affect our opinion of a piece of art before we’ve seen it.

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