IT’S been 54 years since Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins graced the big screen. The original story came along 30 years before in a series of eight children’s books written by British writer P. L. Travers and published over the period 1934 to 1988. If you’re interested in pre-Mary Poppins and how it all came about, it’s advisable to watch the 2013 Saving Mr Banks, centred on the development of the 1964 film.

Mary Poppins Returns is based on the rest of the book series and picks up 20 years after the first film left off. Original music has been composed by the multiple Oscar nominated American lyricist Marc Shiaman (Hairspray the Musical) and is sung by the film cast including Emily Blunt, playing Mary Poppins and musical theatre star Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana & Hamilton). In a world full of money spinning sequels and remakes, occasionally studios get it right and it already looks like Disney maybe back on their A game, with what looks like a film that will, like the first, become a film that’s loved for generations to come.

Disney making live action remakes of their original animated movies looks like the next trend to take over from Super Hero movies. Universal animations, which is a merge of Universal Studios and Dream Works, along with Luminations studios (Despicable Me) have decided to give the opposite revamp to Dr Suess’s The Grinch. The Grinch is based on the original 1957 book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s now the third screen adaption of the story to date following a 1966 TV special and Ron Howards 2000 version, played famously by Jim Carrey. Where the Ron Howard versions went slightly darker, Luminations Grinch looks to bring more of the original book out, along with a healthy helping of slapstick comedic moments. Great choice for those looking to entertain the little ones.

You aren’t stuck for variety this Christmas when it comes to films suitable for the whole family. I’d probably go as far as to say spoilt. Wreck It Ralph sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet in another animation brought to you by Disney. With cameos from all the characters from the last 10 years of Disney hits this is one for the Disney fans out there. Just as Wreck It Ralph did this film also references famous computer games and internet culture. Disney must think it offers something different as it’s clearly not worried about competing with itself (Mary Poppins Returns) for box office sales. It marks the first feature-length theatrical sequel from Walt Disney Animation Studios since Winnie the Pooh in 2011, which was a sequel to the 1977 animated film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This film is for Disney lovers, Internet enthusiasts and Gaming connoisseurs.

In 1997 the first Harry Potter novel, The Philosophers Stone was published and since then J.K Rowling has gone from strength to strength. After seven books, eight films and one West End/ Broadway play the Harry Potter series ended whilst Rowling moved on to new challenges of writing adult novels and a TV detective series. In 2016 she was back in the wizarding world again with Harry Potter spin off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s probably not surprising that a new Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewarld has been released this year and is set to smash box offices all over the world. This film will not just be enjoyed by Harry Potter fans, but Harry Potter fans will very much enjoy this, dare I say even magically festive thrill chasers.

Those looking for something a bit less festive, Bumblebee might be for you. Another fad in the film world seems to be making prequels or origin films as Marvel have cleverly coined. One of those is Bumblebee, prequel to another success film series, Transformers. The first came out in 2007, taking the original 80’s cartoon and giving it a certain Michael Bay re-working. It will be the sixth in the series to date but will be quickly followed by Transformers 7 next year. A bit like Fantastic Beasts and knowing anything about Harry Potter, you don’t have to be a Transformers fan to watch this nor, really, do you have to know anything about Transformers, though, obviously, there is lots in it for those that are. For anyone who’s ever owned a VW Beatle and will probably not look at it the same way afterwards.

Philip Duguid-McQuillan