Mary Poppins ★★★½

I hate to say it, but watching this as an adult, some of the magic has worn off. The music is as beautiful as ever, but there are several things that keep pulling me out of the experience:

The plot. Mary Poppins is far more episodic than I remember. During each of the fantasy sequences, the plot goes nowhere at all. This leaves me wondering what we’re supposed to be taking away from these scenes. Are the children dreaming, or are they really riding carousel horses? Is Uncle Albert a drunk? Is Admiral Boom coping with PTSD? Instead of plot, the emphasis is on...

Special effects. The combination live-action and animation scenes are fine, sure. But I keep noticing how many of the sets are really just 80% cel paintings. The shot of all London from atop a chimney is a painting with twinkling lights. There’s Ed Wynn in front of a green screen while someone spins the camera... and there’s Ed Wynn sitting on a see-saw while someone pushes the other end.

There’s also a lot of emphasis on Dick Van Dyke’s physical comedy. He drives the film much more than I remember, somewhat like how Robin Williams drives Aladdin.

Sadly, the movie dates itself when Admiral Boom sees the chimney sweeps and cries that they’re “being attacked by Hottentots,” using an antiquated British slur to refer to black South Africans. Not cool, Admiral Boom.

“You’re giving the master an ‘eadache,” and I'm giving Mary Poppins 3 1/2 stars.