The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

Saving Mr Banks: A Review

Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Disney movies. Thank God for Walt Disney, whose creations are still loved and enjoyed the world over, and whose legacy will never die.

Saving Mr Banks tells the story of Walt Disney’s fight with author P.L. Travers to turn her books into a film. That film, of course, is Mary Poppins, which is an iconic film, still beloved by children and adults.

The problem is, I’m not entirely sure this story needs to be told. Pamela Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, was an infinitely interesting person. She was bisexual, and by all accounts, a professional curmudgeon. Emma Thompson, who plays Mrs Travers in Saving Mr Banks, said in interview that Travers was the most complex person she’s ever had to play. However, in this film, Travers is portrayed as nothing more than a royal bitch who doesn’t want anyone to tamper with the story she’s created. Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) eventually gets to the bottom of the problem and empathises with Travers, resulting in what we all know was going to happen anyway: Travers signing over the rights to the story for use in film.

Betwixt the endearing battles of Disney and Travers lies Travers’ backstory: a highly imaginative but alcoholic father whom Travers adored. The best part about these flashbacks is Colin Farrell, who stretches his artistic wings and plays a character far more complex than first meets the eye. Rachel Griffiths is the “real” Mary Poppins, who promises to save the family. Disappointingly, Rachel’s nanny is relegated to cameo status with no real story there at all. I suppose if the story had switched to her, the film wouldn’t be called Saving Mr Banks

The film runs at two hours, ten minutes. It’s far too long and missing the traditional Disney magic. It does, however, contain plenty of other Disney traits such as cheesiness and “everything is happy” moments. The principal actors are fantastic and cannot be faulted (except perhaps for Tom Hanks’ Southern accent), but with very little actual plot to work with, this really just seems an excuse to pump out an adult Disney movie while the kids are in another theatre watching Frozen.

Bringing a classic children’s book to the screen may have been interesting to those involved, but it really didn’t deserve to have its own movie. I await the film franchise showing J.K. Rowling’s issues getting Harry Potter to the screen.

6/10 popcorns



December 30, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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