by Kaya Savas
Mary Poppins Returns (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack album for the film of the same name. The music and score for the film was composed by Marc Shaiman, with song lyrics written by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. The soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on December 7, 2018. The songs feature vocal performances by the film’s cast consisting of Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, and Meryl Streep.
Fifty-four years after the first Mary Poppins was released, this casting director’s all-star lineup gives the nanny a refresh, in most cases staying as humbly close to the original spirit as possible. The soundtrack, which comprises exegetic tunes from the film and its score, brims with cameos (original cast member Dick Van Dyke). Blunt is especially witty and charming. Each artist injects their personality into this fun-filled soundtrack. Not to be missed is composer Marc Shaiman’s regal instrumentals adding just the right slice of fantasy to the whimsical mischief abounding.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is per usual, inspired. Miranda best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. He also has co-written songs for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana soundtrack and is the perfect co-star foil for Blunt. On “(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky,” Miranda puts on his best English accent and illuminates the song with his talents. “Overture,” is a beautifully composed instrumental by Shaimon that shines with Illusion and reverie.
A delightfully heartfelt “A Conversation,” with Ben Whishaw who portrays a grown-up Michael Banks portrays a loss of child wonderment and how Banks the character is longing for times gone by. Wishaw is truly convincing, you feel the angst of his yearning. An absolutely magical moment is “Trip a Little Light Fantastic (Reprise).” Dick Van Dyke is on deck and his enigmatic persona sparkles with the same intensity and childlike marvel. Equally enthused is Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson and Nathanael Saleh.
There is so much to enjoy on this soundtrack. An additional thirteen instrumentals adorn the soundtrack. I found myself checking my calendar to find out when I could attend a showing. If the movie is half as good as this soundtrack, Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Marc Platt and David Magee have a smash hit on their hands for generations to come.