REVIEW: SAVING MR. BANKS
SYNOPSIS: Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
P.L. Travers: Stop! Mary Poppins is not for sale! I won't have her turned into one of your silly cartoons.
Walt Disney: Says the woman who sent a flying nanny with a talking umbrella to save the children?
P.L. Travers: You think Mary has come to save the children?
[Walt and the other filmmakers are stunned silent]
P.L. Travers: Oh, dear!
For the first time in cinematic history (I think) we have a Disney movie about Disney! And who better to play the role of one of the most prominent Americans in the history of the U.S.A. than Mr. Tom Hanks. I think the honor goes both ways in this case. So can it get any better than that you ask? Well believe it or not, Emma Thompson in the role of P.L. Travers totally tops Hanks performance. It’s not that Tom wasn’t good, just that Emma took her performance to another level. If it were up to me, at least out of the films I’ve seen this year, I would give her an Oscar nomination. Yeah, she was that good. You would think a character like this would be fictional, and yet she’s not. P.L. Travers is a stickler, a stubborn, royal pain in the ass and Emma nails the role. It’s actually a little funny that Nanny McPhee is doing the role of the author of Mary Poppins. Hey, before there was a J.K. Rowling, we had P.L. Travers.
The time is 1961 and it’s been 20 years of hunting, 20 years of persistence on the part of Mr. Walt Disney and company attempting to persuade Mrs. Travers to sign over the rights to her ever so beloved Mary Poppins. The ties between her and this character are very deeply rooted making it that much more difficult for her to let go in general, even more so to a cartoon character creator, Mr. Disney. But his persistence goes beyond the typical and obvious. The end result of course is that it was all worth it. No one could have made the magical Mary Poppins shine like Disney. This is truly a touching reenactment of a hard battle fought by both Disney and Travers that resulted in a masterpiece. This film is not too far from being a masterpiece itself. You are transported from Australia to London to L.A. and continuously back and forth from the three just to keep you on your toes. The cinematography is very well done as you can imagine (it’s Disney). The sets are well done along with the props, costumes, and overall look of the early 60s. Adding the impeccable cast with their impeccable performances and you’ve got a winner. Colin Farrell gives a moving performance and Paul Giamatti’s role, although small, was meaningful. This is just to name a couple. Oh yeah, how can I forget the music. Of course most of it is from the Mary Poppins movie, as it was in the making, but nevertheless they are timeless and magical tunes. Director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, The Alamo, The Blind Side) has given the big screen a good product time after time, and he has done it again. If you are a fan of all things Disney (who isn’t), you don’t want to miss this one.
By Cine Marcos
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