Sunday, January 12 2014, 03:31 PM MST
Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and Annie Rose Buckley
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Recommended To: Those interested in the story behind Disneys adaptation of P. L. Travers Marry Poppins who dont mind that the truth has been sweetened to ensure their enjoyment.
Synopsis: For years Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) has been looking make a film based on P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) stories about Mary Poppins. For years Travers has told Disney, No. In 1961 Travers agreed to give Disney two weeks to change her mind.
Review: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Walt Disney's Marry Poppins we get a Blu-ray release of the film and Saving Mr. Banks, a somewhat truthful look at the struggle Disney had getting P. L. Travers to sign off on letting him make the film in the first place. It would seem that Travers wasn't too keen to Disney's brand of entertainment and was completely disinterested in letting him make a film based on her books. Tom Hanks is an affable Disney and Emma Thompson makes for a rather prickly Travers (with a soft center, of course), but the films real delight is watching Robert and Richard Sherman (B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman) and the writing team try and serenade the cranky author into enjoying their vision of her work. There are flashbacks to Travers youth, and while these do somewhat inform us as to why she might not be more agreeable these sequences arent nearly as effective as they need to be. As it stands Travers feels a bit undefined and her actions in the second half of the film feel less than motivated. Of course that might be because the real story isn't exactly the story that Saving Mr. Banks is telling. Instead of sticking to the truth screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith have sweetened up things a bit as it downplays Travers disappointment in the film Marry Poppins. Its not a fatal flaw, but it is somewhat disappointing that audiences, who will believe what they see, aren't given a less self-celebratory experience.
-Ryan Michael Painter