New views of two of the Magic Kingdom’s highly anticipated film remakes just blew into town. Not only did the full-length “Mary Poppins Returns” trailer starring Emily Blunt as the practically perfect nanny just drop months before its arrival on Dec. 19, but Disney also unleashed an early taste for its upcoming live-action “Aladdin.” (Alas, Will Smith’s blue Genie is yet to be heard or unveiled, but his temporary home is on display.)
As Ms. Poppins would say, everything seems spit spot with this spoonful of eye candy directed by Rob Marshall of “Into the Woods” and “Chicago” fame, from the tux-wearing penguin waiter to the carousel horses that come to life. But all is not well 20 years hence from when Mary last paid a visit to the Banks children. The Depression has settled in and the now-adult Michael (Ben Whishaw), apparently a widower with three small children, and Jane (Emily Mortimer) fear they might lose their home on Cherry Tree Lane. The fortuitous arrival of their childhood caretaker might just be the cure to their woes.
There are also enticing images of Lin-Manuel Miranda as lamplighter Jack, Julie Walters as a housekeeper, a mustachioed Colin Firth as the current head of the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady, Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin Topsy and a gray-bearded Dick Van Dyke at 92, kicking up his heels and dancing on a desk.
Will this second helping of musical magic based on P.L. Travers book series take off as an awards season contender just like its 1964 predecessor? It is difficult to tell, although it would be hard to top the original’s 13 Oscar nominations — with five translating into wins for Julie Andrews as lead actress, editing, visual effects, song and original score.
As for the brief look at “Aladdin, “ we get to follow a parrot’s shadow across a desert and enter the treasure-filled Cave of Wonder where Mena Massoud as the title character reaches for the magic lamp that holds the still-not-seen Genie. A rumble of a voice intones “Only one may enter here.” The live-action version of the 1992 animated original won two Oscars — for its score and for the song “A Whole New World” – plus three other nominations. The update directed by Guy Richie arrives in theaters on May 24.