By Michael Foust
Michael Banks is a young widower facing eviction from his London home.
That’s bad enough, but with two children to care for, he is growing desperate for a solution.
Perhaps Mary Poppins could bring the family some cheer. After all, she played with Banks and his sister when they were children. They loved her. Maybe she even could help him find the money to catch up on his payments.
The 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns (PG) began streaming on Netflix July 9, telling the story of Michael and Jane Banks as two adults dealing with adult-like problems — jobs and finances and stress.
It is a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins, which starred Julie Andrews in the lead role as she dropped from the clouds underneath a magic-like umbrella to sing and dance with the kids on Cherry Street Lane. Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) plays the newest Mary Poppins.
The two films have a lot in common. They’re both musicals. They’re both filled with child-like wonder and goofy scenes. And they’re both feel-good films that leave you singing.
No, Mary Poppins Returns isn’t as good as its predecessor, but it still has plenty of family-friendly fun (like a room where everyone is upside down) and life lessons (among them: slow down and re-discover the simple pleasures of your younger years).
The word “magic” is never mentioned in Mary Poppins Returns. That’s because the film isn’t about, well, magic. Rather, it’s a celebration of childhood and creativity and wonder. It’s an imaginary world of a child, come to life.
It’s rated PG for some mild thematic elements and brief action. It contains minimal violence, and no sexuality or coarse language.
Also streaming this month:
Apollo 11 (Hulu) — It’s the next-best thing to going back in time and experiencing the first moon landing all over again. This groundbreaking documentary film combined never-before-scene footage with voices from 1969 (including that of Walter Cronkite) to create a nostalgic masterpiece. It is rated G, although it contains two coarse words (“h-ll” heard in the John Stewart song Mother Country, and a muffled “d–n” by Collins from space when he says he feels “d–n good.”) July 20.
Star Trek movies (Amazon Prime) — Good news, Trekkies: Five Star Trek movies begin streaming this month on Prime: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). All have violence, and some have language and sensuality. July 31.
Astro Boy (Netflix) — A scientist builds a flying robotic boy to replace his deceased son. He’s “Astro Boy” — and he soon becomes a superhero. Rated PG for some action and peril, and brief mild language. (Note: the movie has a few potty terms and references to “stupid” and “idiot,” but I have never heard any coarse language.) July 1.
The Croods (Netflix) — It’s a family-centric story featuring a caveman family who lose their home — er, cave — in a natural disaster. They then discover a whole new world they didn’t know existed. Rated PG for some scary action. July 21.
Dino Dana season 3 (Amazon Prime) — A young, budding paleontologist interacts with real (CGI) dinosaurs in her backyard. July 26.