“Saving Mr. Banks” is the newest Disney movie that was just released on Friday, December 20th. Since production started on this film, we have been very excited to see it in the theaters. Last night we went to the movies and we were not disappointed. While the storyline may not sound exciting at first glance, it is a wonderful historical film following how the movie “Mary Poppins” came to be.
First, the actors are superb. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are wonderful, as always. All the actors (Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, BJ Novak, Melanie Paxson, and Kathy Baker…) truly rise to the occasion and recreate both the world of Disney Studios in the 1960’s as well as Australia in the 1900’s when P.L. Travers has flashbacks to her childhood. These flashbacks are essential for understanding how she created the family of the Banks and Mary Poppins, and why she had such a difficult time allowing Disney to turn her book into a movie.
So the main issue in the film is that the author of the book “Mary Poppins”, P.L. Travers, is extremely reluctant to have her book turned into a Disney film. Without turning over the rights, she insists on seeing the plans for the film and having script approval for the entire project. When she arrives in Los Angeles, she dislikes pretty much everything the creative team has come up with including much of the music from the famous songwriting duo of the Sherman brothers. Walt Disney and his team struggle to understand her and why she is upset with their creative ideas, and they can’t make a deal for the project. The entire film is so well put together, and so well acted, that this story comes to life off the screen.
Another aspect of this film that Disney fanatics will love, is the amazing recreation of 1960’s Disney Studios and Disneyland. The film is submerged into a magical era of Disneyana and it is a fantastic historical film back in the golden age of Disney. The screenplay for this film was created from archive tape recordings made at the studio of the actual meetings of P.L. Travers and the film creators, and all her input on the script and storyboards. She insisted on having everything taped. Much of the details are accurate to real events that took place.
While we loved this movie, it is rated PG-13, so we don’t recommend it for young kids. There isn’t violence or inappropriate scenes, but there is drinking and language and some of the scenes from her childhood are a little tough to watch for young eyes. All in all, this a wonderful movie and well worth a night out to get to see it, if you get a chance this holiday season. And if you are a fan of “Mary Poppins”, you will love seeing how this family favorite film came to be.