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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blu-Ray Review: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition!


As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the release of Mary Poppins we get the beautifully restored blu-ray!

Mary Poppins is the most awarded film in the history of The Walt Disney Company. Many, including myself, consider it to be Walt's crowning achievement! Everything that Walt had learned over the decades culminated in a near perfect combination of story, actors, music and of course Disney Magic!

The film earned thirteen Academy Award nominations, among them Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Writing in the Adapted Screenplay category. Julie Andrews won her first and only Best Actress Oscar, and the studios took home statues for Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee") and Best Visual Effects.

 

Video Quality:
Just as Disney has established itself as the leader in restoration of their animated classics, we get a look at what they could do with their live-action classic slate! Colors are vibrant and skin colors looks natural. The entire palette is stunning as if the film was just recently created. Wait until you see the animated sequences. They have been cleaned up to make it appear as if the ink had just dried on the cells! Another high quality restoration from Disney and now please bring out the rest of your live-action films! Make 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea your next blu-ray release!

Audio Quality:
I think the inclusion of a 7.1 Surround track is going to confuse people into thinking that the sound is going to create this completely immersive experience but it does not since the audio track is mostly front channel only. With that being said, the dialogue is crisp and clear coming from the front channels. The music of The Sherman Brothers has never sounded better!

Bonus Features:
  • Becoming Mr. Sherman (HD, 14 minutes): The only brand new feature on the blu-ray and it provides a great look at not only the early music for Mary Poppins but also a sneak peek into Saving Mr. Banks which is the untold story about the making of Mary Poppins. It is hosted by actor Jason Schwartzman and Richard M. Sherman. Schwartzman portrays Sherman in Saving Mr. Banks.
  • Mary-Oke (HD, Dolby Digital stereo, 8 minutes): Sing along with the music of Mary Poppins. This karaoke-style extra features the songs "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Step in Time" and "Chim Chim Cher-ee".
  • Classic DVD Bonus Features: The Blu-ray edition of Mary Poppins also includes most every previously released bit of supplemental content from past releases. Extras include:

    • Audio Commentary: Composers/lyricists Richard and Robert Sherman and actors Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins), Dick Van Dyke (Bert/Mr. Dawes Sr.) and Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks) share their memories about the making of the film.
    • Disney on Broadway (SD, 55 minutes): This is a 48-minute documentary giving you an overview of the film's Broadway adaptation with producer/President Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher and performers Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins) and Gavin Lee (Bert) -- and a 7-minute featurette, "Step in Time," with Broadway composer George Stiles.
    • Backstage Disney (SD, 113 minutes): You will find eight features here including: a 51-minute documentary "The Making of Mary Poppins," vintage red carpet featurettes "The Gala World Premiere" and "The Gala World Premiere Party," kid-friendly special effects mini-doc "Movie Magic," two "Deconstruction of a Scene" featurettes ("Jolly Holiday" and "Step in Time"), a "Dick Van Dyke Make-Up Test" and a "Publicity" roundup with original trailers, re-issue trailers and TV spots.
    • Music & More (HD/SD, 52 minutes): Four music-themed extras: 17-minute retrospective "A Magical Musical Reunion Featuring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman" (SD), deleted song "Chimpanzoo" (SD), a "Disney Song Selection" suite (HD, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1), and a "Movie Sing-Along" track.
    • The Cat that Looked at a King (SD, 10 minutes): In this 2004 live-action/animated short, Julie Andrews leads two children into a chalk drawing and tells them the story of a talking cat, a knowledge-obsessed king and the arrogant ruler's neglected queen.

Overall Recommendation:
If you are a fan of Disney movies this is the one you have been waiting for! A gorgeous restoration that is filled with incredible bonus material! Disney did not let me down for one of my favorite films of all-time! A must buy for the Holidays for you and your family to enjoy for many years to come!

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