Add a Review

  • After 40 years the wonderful, talented Dame Julie Andrews, all but recreates her most famous role of Mary Poppins.

    Although the live action sequences take place in the modern day, with American kids with god awful British accents, Andrew's none the less quotes from the original film, jumps through chalk pavement drawings on a recreated Poppins set and into the animated story of The Cat That Looked at a King.

    Among the voice talents of this colourful and possibly educational ten minute yarn are Tracy Ullman as the Cat and none other than Sarah Ferguson AKA The Duchess of York and one-time member of the British Royal Family, who rather wishfully voices The Queen.

    This was merely a bonus feature on the Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary DVD, but given the right handling I'm sure, should Disney studios decide, they might be able to turn these into a successful series of shorts.

    The story is penned by P.L. Travers herself and I hope should this series materialise then I hope they exhaust the original stories first before trying to conjure up new ones of their own.

    Andrews herself is credited as Mary Poppins despite her modern dress, but it is not until the very end where we see her familiar silhouette complete with flowered hat is it confirmed she is the well known Edwardian nanny.

    Some may argue that to play Mary Poppins she must dress like Mary Poppins, but if Poppins is some sort of guardian angel, as we have been led to believe then it's good that we can see her in 21st Century dress because it adds depth to the magical myth.

    It tells us that throughout the generations she has been doing, and continues to do what she does best, caring for children and making them wiser and stronger and happier.

    Sure it's a bit of a shameless 'cash-in' and they may be trying to make a fresh salad out of 40 year old lettuce, but Mary Poppins helps to keep the dreams of the young alive, just like she did forty years ago, and at the end of the day, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
  • A couple of children are engaged by the chalk paintings on the ground outside of their local park and are lucky enough to meet a woman who can take them inside them to see the stories within first hand. Following a white cat, they enter the story of a king who sees himself as the smartest in all the land and his queen, who feels isolated from him and can't see the fun loving man in him that she once loved.

    Located on the Mary Poppins DVD this is an OK idea if you can get past the feeling of grave-robbing for the sake of a sequel then it is worth seeing. The plot is a simple story about an animated king and really Mary Poppins and the kids are really just a basic way in and spend most of the film just sitting watching; I would guess the plan was/is to make this into a series of shorts where they enter short animated tales via different pictures – not sure if they are worth doing but I suppose it could work. The tale is nicely written and does have a nice amount of emotion within it but I didn't really get engaged or moved by it despite this.

    Part of the problem is the fact that I wasn't able to get past the feeling that they were ripping off Mary Poppins just to get a way "into" an animated short film that could just have been a short in its own right. The delivery doesn't help either because Julie Andrews looks like she has just walked onto the set in whatever she was wearing and has just been herself rather than acting in anyway. Stiers is good value for his voice work but he has awful support from a lifeless Sarah Ferguson (yes, that one) who manages to make almost every word sound as flat as the shipping forecast. Ullman is an interesting find but doesn't bring any of herself to the piece.

    Overall this is an OK short film that could be stretched out into a series of DVD extras but, having watched it after Mary Poppins it is hard not to see it as a lesser film for the fact that it lifts ideas without anything interesting or clever of its own to do or say. The animation is OK and the story watchable but it is no more than that even if it will be colourful enough to please kids who can't tell the difference.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Cat That Looked at a King" is an American 10-minute movie from 2004, so two more years until this has its 15th anniversary. It is a mix of live action and animation and has Oscar winner Julie Andrews reprise her career-defining role of Mary Poppins. First of all let me say that I have still not yet Mary Poppins, which I am sure is a bit of a loss on my part and I am going to change that at some point in the future for sure, but this one we have here does not really get me curious about the original movie from decades ago. Also somehow I did not really feel the connection to MP. Yes it has Andrews teaching important lessons to two kids, but that's basically it. The cat's answers to the questions quickly became random, pseudo-important and even a bit pretentious at times. The ending with the mouse chase was also not really something successful or memorable. So yes, maybe Mary Poppins film lovers will enjoy this one here and be grateful for it, but from a neutral perspective, this was not a memorable watch by any means and I am glad it was this short. I am curious how Emily Blunt will do in an upcoming full feature Mary Poppins movie. I hope it turns out better than these 10 minutes we have here. Not recommended.