Channel Awesome

(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing various Navy posters, as well as posters of Italy)

Doug (vo): Okay, so here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know. My dad was in the Navy and got stationed at a lot of various places. So, that actually ended up with me being born in Italy. Yeah, I was actually born in Italy. The reason I bring this up is because being in Italy, we didn’t have that many movies that were in English. So that meant the few movies we had, we just kept watching over and over and over.

[Clips from Mary Poppins are shown]

Doug (vo): And the movie by far we watched the most was Mary Poppins. So I know this film pretty well; the songs, the characters, the story, I know it practically inside out. So, I guess you could make the argument that I’m already sort of prejudiced towards this movie as obviously I’m gonna love it, but...I don’t know. I stopped watching this movie for a bit, grew up, looked at it years later, and it’s still a damn impressive movie. Not just for the songs, not just for the acting, not just for the effects, not just for the sets, not just for the atmosphere, but for the characters, for the story, for that...oh, just...there’s no other word I can use for it except magic. It’s a frigging magical movie. The best way I can describe it is like being cheerfully drunk at a party. You go, you have fun, you dance, you have all sorts of great times, but then you want to get into the serious moment where you wanna question life and, yeah, that’s kind of here, too. It doesn’t shy away from some of the really heavy stuff that it’s doing or, well, I guess it’s simple stuff. I mean, one could almost say it’s too simple. It’s a father who’s a workaholic and needs to spend more time with his kids. That’s not so hard. But the way they deal with it and the creative way they talk about it and, oh, it’s just so damn good. Okay, well, let’s start from the beginning, as if you guys don’t know this story.


Doug (vo): Mr. Banks has two children, Jane and Michael, who are not very good at doing what they’re told because the father is always at work and the mother is always out fighting for women’s rights. So they request a nanny to sing them songs, give them treats, do all that good stuff. But Mr. Banks hates the idea and wants someone that’s stern and strong. So he rips up the letter, but little does he know, it gets whisked up to the clouds where Mary Poppins is waiting. So, what? She is gonna be all the fun and games and treat-giving and all that stuff we heard about? Well, yeah, but the clever thing about it is that she actually is very strict and stern as well. There’s all sorts of weird, magical things that go on with her, but at the same time, she’s very mysterious. She doesn’t always smile that much. Even when the magical stuff happens, she’ll just deny that it ever happens, it’s always kind of keeping you guessing. Even the kids don’t always know what to think of it.

Jane: You won the horse race.

Mary Poppins: A respectable person like me in a horse race? How dare you suggest a thing.

Michael: But I saw you do it.


Doug (vo): That’s Julie Andrews, of course, as Mary Poppins, and, man, does she hit it out of the park. Yeah, she can obviously do the really charming pretty moments where she has the nice voice, and it is a nice voice, but again, what sets it apart is when she is strict and she is just so hard to figure out. I love the way she constantly plays people against themselves, and they’re never aware that it’s going on, they always think that they came to the conclusion themselves when everything is actually going exactly to how she planned.

[The scene showing Mary convincing Mr. Banks to take the children to the bank is shown]

Mr. Banks: At my side? Where are we going?

Mary Poppins: To the bank, of course, exactly as you proposed.

Mr. Banks: I proposed?

Mary Poppins: Of course.

Mr. Banks: [to Mrs. Banks] Did I say that I was going to take the children to the bank?

Mrs. Banks: It certainly sounded that way, dear.

Mr. Banks: Oh. Then why not?

[Dick Van Dyke's character, Bert, is shown]

Doug (vo): And, of course, you have Dick Van Dyke as Bert, and, yeah, everyone makes fun of the accent, and it’s not unwarranted. It’s a really bad Cockney accent.

Bert: Now this imposing edifice what first greets the eye is the home of Admiral Bloom.

Doug (vo): But I really hope that doesn’t divert people too much away from, really, still what a good performance it is. I mean, yeah, the accent is distracting; if you can’t see past it, I can understand that. But at the same time, look how much energy he’s putting into it. Look at all the dancing, look at all the physical stuff he’s doing. Just look at what a great character this is. I love the fact that every time you see him, he always has a different job. I mean, this is probably a guy who lives on the street, but he doesn’t care, he’s just so happy with life. He’s happy with everything, he’s just happy to have air in his lungs. Mr. Banks is a perfect bulls-eye as well. He is a stick in the mud and doesn’t ever get the joke, but you see that he’s really trying hard, and you see that when he does actually want to bring his kids closer, he is legitimately excited about it. It just has to be about something that he’s excited about, and that’s, of course, his work.

[Various clips showing many of the film's famous musical sequences are shown]

Doug (vo): The memorable moments in this movie are too many to count. Ed Wynn laughing on the ceiling, the "Chim-Chimney" song, the dance sequences with that, walking on top of the rooftops, blowing the smoke into stairs, that wonderful sunset, oh, God, it’s just, it’s overload. There’s so many good moments of atmosphere, music and wonder, and, just...oh, it takes you back to being a little kid again. And all the effort is there, all the effort that they put into the look of it and the size of it and the dance numbers and the music and the lyrics and...okay. Obviously, you can figure out I like this movie a lot. I’m trying to think of what’s actually not good about this movie, and the only thing I can really think of is...maybe during the scenes when they’re playing and having fun, they go on a bit too long and it becomes a bit unfocused, but...I don’t know. It’s still supposed to be a family film that entertains the kids, too, and kids just really want to stay in these entertaining worlds, and, in my opinion, it lets them stay there for as long as they would probably want to stay there until it goes on to the next cool thing, or balances it out with some really touching moments. Remember the "Feed the Birds"? Isn’t that unbelievable? Something so simple as giving money to an old woman to feed birds, and, by God, that song.

[The song mentioned is shown]

Mary Poppins: [singing] All around the cathedral, the saints and apostles look down as she sells her wares. Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling, each time someone shows that he cares.

Doug (vo): I heard this was Walt Disney’s favorite song, and you can see why. It’s something so simple but so powerful at the same time. The way it seems to blend in from one scene to another, going from happy and dancing into something a little bit more heavy and serious into happy and dancing again into animation into live-action, it’s just a perfect blend. The song sequence, "Step in Time", near the end, I just never want to stop, and it just keeps going and going and going like a party you never want to end, and when it does, it just ends on a perfect note, where you just have to catch your breath. It allows you to calm down from this high that you’ve been going on for the past, like, 10 or 15 minutes.

[The scene about to be mentioned is shown, with the scene's musical score being heard]

Doug (vo): But then, again, what makes it so good, I mean, so frigging good, is this ending scene when Mr. Banks is walking to his job, knowing he’s about to lose it. There’s no song here, there’s no dialogue, it’s just him walking down these empty dark roads. And it takes the time to really let this moment sink in, and it’s not only one of my favorite moments in the movie, it’s one of my favorite moments in film altogether. Listen to that music, look at these shots, you can just feel the atmosphere coming through on the screen. This is a man who’s tied everything to his job and now he’s about to lose it, which equals to him about to lose everything. And then it comes to this really great moment where he goes to the stairs where the woman feeding the birds was, and she’s not there. I could be reading too much into it, but I always sort of took it that she may have died. Listen to that choir. Isn’t that like the choir you’d hear in a church? But, being a Disney film, they can’t clearly say that, and, I don’t know, maybe it wasn’t the intention, but that’s what I get out of it, because you never see her again, almost like it’s signifying, "Do those good moments when you can because there may not be another time." It’s just such a perfect moment. But, of course, the ending equals out to a happy one, and it’s just the perfect one that you need. I won’t ruin it to those who haven’t seen it, but even if you know what’s gonna happen, it’s such a happy, positive delivery, and it's just such a good feeling when you watch it, and such a bittersweet exit for Mary Poppins as well, and just...

Final thought[]

Doug (vo): It brings me back to being a little kid again every single time I see it. But, as an adult, I can appreciate so much about it, too, not just from a technical level or a special effects level, but from a writing level, from a musical level, from a character level. It’s just so strong. This is one of those kids’ movies that just every family has, and for good reason. It deserves to be in every family, it deserves to be on every shelf, it’s just a wonderful flick. It’s written wonderfully, it’s acted wonderfully, it looks wonderful, it sounds wonderful, it’s just wonderful.

[The film's final scene, showing Mary Poppins flying away into the sky after her task is done, is shown]