Emily Blunt reprises P.L. Travers’ timeless char­acter in “Mary Poppins Returns.” | Flikr

To produce a decent sequel to any well-loved film is no easy task. To release a sequel to a classic film 54 years later, and still capture the magic and essence of the original film is award-worthy. Unfor­tu­nately for Walt Disney Pic­tures, “Mary Poppins Returns” fails to measure up to its 1964 coun­terpart.

The film opens with London lamp­lighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), who sings of the 1930s Great Slump and that good times are just around the corner. Those feeling the effects of London’s Great Depression include Jane and Michael Banks, whom Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) visited in the original film, and who are now both adults. Michael’s wife has recently died, leaving him to take care of his three children alone, with the help of his sister Jane.

To make ends meet, Michael takes out a loan from the bank, but fails to make pay­ments and is in danger of losing the family home on Cherry Tree Lane. Enter Mary Poppins, who whips Michael’s children into shape and helps the family save their life on Cherry Tree Lane.

The film is for­matted like a classic Disney film, with opening credits running over various water­color scenes of London, as an overture plays. Nos­talgic Disney stars Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert in the original Mary Poppins, and Angela Lansbury, the voice of “Beauty and the Beast” char­acter Mrs. Potts, each have small roles in the film. The ani­mated sequences use two dimen­sional ani­mation, a nod to the older film and a departure from Disney’s con­tem­porary, and often over-the-top, usage of 3D ani­mation.

Though Disney cap­tures the charm of the original film, “Mary Poppins Returns” feels more like a remake than a sequel. It’s extremely deriv­ative, rein­venting plot points from the classic. Instead of a chimney sweep helping Mary Poppins, it’s a lamp­lighter. Instead of a musical number where every­thing floats to the ceiling, it’s a musical number where the ceiling becomes the floor.

The music in the films falls short of the classic. Though the songs are well-written and carried mar­velously by the cast, no song comes close to the caliber of “Super­cal­ifrag­ilis­tic­ex­pi­ali­do­cious”, “A Spoonful of Sugar”, or any track from the original films.

The chore­og­raphy, however, is charming and inventive, and the Lamp­lighters dance sequence in “Trip a Little Light Fan­tastic” is rem­i­niscent of “Step in Time” from the original film.

It’s ques­tionable whether any film could per­fectly capture the magic and whimsy of the original Mary Poppins. Perhaps Disney would have been better off remaking Mary Poppins, rather than trying to pass off “Mary Poppins Returns” as an original sequel. Blunt misses the mark with her por­trayal of Mary Poppins, because she seems to attempt to replicate Andrews’ char­acter in the sequel, rather than inter­preting P.L. Travers’ char­acter in her own way.

“Mary Poppins Returns” is a trip down memory lane for many Disney fans, and therein lies the problem. The film was meant to be a sequel, not a remake, making the plot points seem tired, rather than nos­talgic.

P.L. Travers was noto­ri­ously dif­ficult to work with in the making of the original Mary Poppins movie. Perhaps Disney should have remem­bered Travers’ cri­tiques for their remake attempt.