Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Keeping Resolutions: Lord of the Rings, Mary Poppins

Early this year, I made a whole heap of resolutions , some of which won't get kept, which is the nature of resolutions, I guess.

However I'm proud to report that I have partially kept one of them, which had to do with the watching of certain old classic movies. No, I haven't managed to get my hands on Pollyanna, nor have I made time to watch Gone With the Wind again from beginning to end (how I wish!). However I've watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, and watched Mary Poppins. I watched Mary Poppins TWICE.

My thoughts? Lord of the Rings wasn't bad, and I was impressed by the direction, sure, and the costumes, scenery etc. I kind of get sick of fantasy princesses that always look like Galadriel and I spent a lot of time wondering why someone would set out on a quest like Frodo's and not where shoes, but that's an aside. Also Frodo's and Sam's Hobbit friends were annoying pains. And the battle scenes, despite my appreciation for the work put into them, were not my favourite bits.

I really liked Gandalf's sole battle with the big monster on the bridge - that was cool! I also liked the talking trees. And I thought Gollum was rather interesting in his messed-uppedness.

My favourite part was Part One.

Now ... Mary Poppins

I've been disappointed with some children's books turned movies lately. Hating Alison Ashley, Playing Beatie Bow.

Mary Poppins was gold. OK, it wasn't perfect, but it was really engaging and I loved it. I went around singing "Tuppence a Bag" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" long afterwards. Julie Andrews makes a great Poppins, and unlike in Annie, the children are not annoyingly tryhard sweet/cute. There's a nice double story running here - the fun of Mary Poppins' magic, with also the struggle of Mr Banks to come to terms with his children and his wife, a rabid suffragette, around him, and it works well.

I went around later and couldn't get John Cleese out of my mind every time I thought "Mr Banks" either. He also reminded me a bit of a married Professor Higgins (from Pygmalion) - self-satisfied and routine, and not able to listen to others.

Of course, the movie does have faults, the main one being that some of the song and dance sequences go on for far longer than they need to, repeating themselves over and over, and could have been better edited. This is most evident when the penguins are dancing in "Jolly Holiday" and the sweeps are dancing in "Step in Time". It's probably done to amuse kiddies, but it doesn't push the story forward.

However, the charm of the actors and a good script and score covers up little things like this quite easily. What's also great about this is while technology has greatly improved since this movie was made, the effects used here don't look jarringly aged. I can imagine that if Mary Poppins was made today, the effects would have been done differently, especially in the chalk painting scene, but they are still extremely effective to convey the spirits and feeling and fun, as they are.

All I have to say now is ... supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Another resolution I made back then was "Get a job". Does getting one for three months then losing it count as fulfilling that resolution? I say it does. Tick that one off!


TimT said...

I'd like to see a combination Mary Poppins/Lord of the Rings film. In one scene, Mary Poppins would confront the Balrog on the bridge by singing

Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!
The medicine go down!
The medicine go down!

She could also defeat Sauron and Saruman by getting them to say 'supercalafragalisticexpialadocious!' over and over again until he realises the error of his ways.

I LOVE the Mary Poppins books, btw. Read a lot of them in year 11 and 12. Some say I should have been studying for my HSC, but you know...

Maria said...

I was watching Mary Poppinds and thinking to myself - that would be such a cool superpower to have!

Accessories - umbrella with talking parrot head, plus bottomless carpet bag, and perky hat.

Abilities, among others:

Slide up bannisters
Able to pour several different tasting liquids out of same bottle
Able to jump into chalk pictures
Able to turn chimney soot into stairway
Snap fingers and clean nursery
Ability to sing in tune (Something I very much aspire to)

and ability to keep straight face when uncle is floating on ceiling.

Look at that! That is an an amazing set of superpowers! And it's only the start! Bring it on!

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