During the glitz and glam of 1960’s Hollywood, P.L Travers, an Australian born writer now residing in England, travels to Los Angeles to meet Walt Disney, who is insistent on adapting her novel Mary Poppins.
Little was known to me of the origins of Disney’s classic film Mary Poppins but having been a fan of the film since I was a young boy I was never the less excited to experience how the film came to be, one based on the true story of what happened during the films early production. Thankfully, Saving Mr. Banks details every part of the creation of the renowned Mary Poppins and the relationship between the writer, played by Emma Thompson and Walt Disney, played enigmatically by Tom Hanks.
Saving Mr. Banks is at the mercy of the wonderfully talented Emma Thompson, and her betrayal of the rigid, insufferable and intolerant P.L Travers is nothing short of brilliant. Her mean spirited attitude and quick witted defenses drenched in sarcasm are amusing and irritating, but it is watching her transformation as the skeletons in her closet come falling out that is the core of Saving Mr.Banks. One particular scene as the duo of musicians begin playing Let’s Fly a Kite is a pin point of character transformation that will make your heart soar and builds upon how the magic of Disney can shift a change in an adults mind.
With the inclusion of Tom Hanks and the supporting cast, a delicate score by Thomas Newman and the classic set designs of the studio backlots, Saving Mr Banks is a fun, but serious dramatic account. Its only deter is the insistent and jarring moments scattered throughout the film where it tells the story of young P.L Travers. Learning the past of P.L Travers, her scarred relationship with her father and how the idea of Mary Poppins transformed into pages is a grasp the film was hesitant to let go of, and the film suffered because of this. Flashing backwards to her childhood then to the present 1960’s narrative felt constantly uneven and disruptive to the storytelling arch. In terms of character development and the reason why is prominent, but it became more of an unwanted annoyance than necessary as Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks’s involving story was the more enticing and captivating part of the film, and soon the “why” behind Mary Poppins creation began to give a more depressing and morbid outlook to the Disney childhood classic we all know.
Saving Mr. Banks was a joyous and intriguing film which played to an inside look into the creation of a Disney icon. The light in which the beloved Mary Poppins is shined upon might be a detraction for some who adore the original 1964 film, and the constant pendulum act of past to present breaks the emotional bond it tries to establish, but aside from the few annoyances, Saving Mr. Banks is a wildly entertaining film with a fantastic character to enjoy watching at the forefront.
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