PictureDespite Disney's habit of deleting DVD movie releases almost before you can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (I can't believe Word corrected that spelling!) it cannot be denied that they have a knack for cleaning up their film prints and soundtracks. And they've done it again! Mary Poppins looks great, perhaps a little on the soft side, but with a very “filmic” look nevertheless. I did notice a little edge enhancement and some noise here and there, but overall this is a richly colourful, smooth and flat looking image. Nary a scratch or fleck did I see. Not only is the image nice and clean, but it's difficult to imagine how the sets have been so impressively interwoven with after-the-fact painting and artwork - no CGI here, of course!
I was mightily impressed with what's been achieved with a forty-year-old print. Man, I wish I could be cleaned up to look as good...
Sound...and it merely continues with the audio side of things! Despite an array of audio tracks, including French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kbps) affairs, the original stereo, and new 2.0 Home Theater Mix - the newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 (484Kbps) Home Theater Mix still manages to sound remarkably good. Not quite as expansive as any modern Disney release, and certainly not up to the standard set by The Lion King's new home theatre track, Mary Poppins still manages to sound better than I ever expected it would. Pretty early on in the movie when old Admiral Boom blasts his cannon across the London skyline, it's clear that there's a fair amount of bass on offer! The many songs throughout sound full with reasonable separation and there are times when even the rear channels are utilised quite effectively. I did notice the slightest amount of background hiss on occasion, but I was again very impressed with what has been achieved with a forty year old recording!
ExtrasThe audio commentary is a bit of a mishmash of live studio input and earlier recordings, but overall I thought it worked quite well, with Julie Andrews leading a rather old sounding, but still interesting Dick Van Dyke for much of the time. The Poppins Pop-Up Fun Facts does what you'd expect given the title - throughout the movie some “fun facts” pop up at appropriate moments.
Disc two harbours the majority of supplemental features... and some of my favourite moments. There's a deleted song, Chimpanzoo, performed by writer Richard Sherman followed by a seventeen minute “round the piano” chat with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman. This is the first time I've ever cried watching the extra features - it really is like taking a trip down memory lane, perhaps a little on the schmaltzy side, but definitely worth a watch... especially the towards the end! The extras just keep coming, some a little samey, but always enjoyable - there are Games and Activities, a fifty minute Making Of Mary Poppins feature, Deconstruction Of A Scene - two key scenes, actually - plus more. All in all this is a set of typical top notch Disney extras that I really quite enjoyed watching.
VerdictMary Poppins is Walt Disney producing classic Disney sequences in a classic Disney film. The fact that I am in love with Julie Andrews has nothing to do with my appreciation of this movie. Spit spot, buy it now.
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