I somehow convinced myself that Julie Andrews had passed away as well. I wish she had been in the movie, and even more that she had not lost her unparalleled singing voice.
It would have been more difficult seeing her there but not hearing her sing.
She had some nodules removed and afterwards she couldn't sing. It actually took her a long time to get her speaking voice back. If I recall correctly, she sued the doctors and reached a settlement.
As to 206er's point, it was extremely weird of the movie to keep the part in the script after Andrews turned them down. No offense to Angela Lansbury, but it was just too obvious that the part was meant as a cameo for Andrews.
Overall the movie is a disappointing misfire. Very few of the songs are any good. Lin-Manuel Miranda doesn't act his part very well. The scenes with Meryl Streep were so bad it seemed as though they would've been cut from the movie if Streep had been any other actress.
And Emily Blunt seems, in general, slightly colder than Julie Andrews. (I kept wondering if Emily Mortimer, who played the adult Jane, would've been a better choice.) Lin Manuel Miranda is a song-and-dance master, but his face isn't anywhere near as expressive as Dick Van Dyke's. The movie also seemed to have a different "look," with more diffused colors around the house, etc.
The kids were good actors though. And Firth and Whishaw were great.
I think she's an incredible actress, but I agree that she was a little too cold. Andrews's version was vain and aloof but there was a cheeriness too. I also didn't like Blunt's voice in the movie, it felt too much like a conscious actorly choice.
It's probably just a really hard thing to step in to such an iconic role.
I also thought Whishaw was fantastic.