marypoppinsdvdIn one of the most popular and recognized films in Disney’s vault, Robert Stevenson’s ‘Mary Poppins’ is celebrating its 45th Anniversary in 2009. The film is based off of the children’s book series by P.L. Travers. This is one of those live action films that were a technical marvel back in 1964 when it originally released. With several theatrical releases, ‘Mary Poppins’ had a total worldwide box office total of $102 million dollars. This makes this Disney classic one of their most successful films to date considering its age.

For those not familiar with ‘Mary Poppins’, the film tells a tale of a British nanny (Julie Andrews) that changes many people’s lives that she encounters along the way through magic. I still as astounded by the way she comes into London parachuting with her umbrella. She meets Bert (Dick Van Dyke) that has a huge impact on her. He is a very charming man that has a few tricks up his own sleeve. Poppins also meets two younger kids, Jane and Michael Banks that are in need of a nanny. Through all the songs and dancing, this is a very wonderful musical. With every viewing, I am pleasantly feeling like I escape into another world where I can just sit back and enjoy this film.

At the time, the special effects were rather unique for a film of its kind. Then throw live action and animation into the mix, this is the kind of film that the whole family can sit back and enjoy. While the film is geared towards the younger crowd, it pulls in all ages. That is the beauty of ‘Mary Poppins’ that is has a specific audience, yet it never alienates.

Both Andrews and Van Dyke are no strangers to musicals or Broadway shows. Their chemistry here works so well together to ignite the screen. Julie Andrews has such a wonderful signing voice. Critics say that this is Andrews’s best career performance. Van Dyke also sings well and dances his way to making this also one of his best career performances. You almost feel like it is an onstage performance from the two. Like as if they were ripped right out of a Broadway show and placed in front of cameras.
Movie Content: 4.5/5

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Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic widescreen presentation. Colors are strong throughout. This is one area that excels with the print is how varied the color palette is without any major issues. Black levels are also solid. There are a few times throughout the film where white specs of dirt appear in the print. It is nothing that becomes distracting. This 45th Anniversary 2-disc DVD provides the same transfer as the previous DVD release. It might make fans upset, yet Disney may not be able to do much more to the print on DVD.
Video Quality: 4/5

The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. I am glad that both mixed have made their way on to this 2-disc version. For purists, you will not be disappointed by the DD2.0 mix. The DD5.1 mix is great as it allows bringing more of the effects through the rears and also for an engaging atmospheric experience.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Special Features

Disc 1

  • Audio Commentary with actors Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Karen Dotrice
  • Song Selection feature (with optional lyrics)
  • Pop-Up Trivia
  • Sneak Peeks

Disc 2

  • “Mary Poppins: From Page to Stage” – [New] – includes interviews with production and cast
  • “Step In Time” – live Broadway show, featuring terrific choreography and vocal performances
  • The Making of Mary Poppins” – 2004 documentary featuring new interviews
  • “Movie Magic”
  • Deleted Song – “Chimpanzoo”
  • “The Gala World Premiere”
  • Trailer & TV Spot Gallery
  • Production Design & Photo Galleries
  • “The Cat that Looked at a King” – short film based on P. L. Travers’ Mary Poppins Opens the Door

Special Features: 4/5

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Final Thoughts

‘Mary Poppins’ is a wonderful film even after 45 years that the whole family could enjoy with exceptional music, dance, and magic. With this being Disney’s fourth release of the film, the video and audio presentation is similar to the last release. For fans of the franchise and collectors, there are a few new special features that warrant purchasing. I highly recommend this film as a purchase due to the pure enjoyment as Andrews and Van Dyke light up the screen.
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Purchase)