1 The Mickey Mindset: Saving Mr. Banks Film Review

Friday, December 20, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks Film Review

Ryan Dosier - Releasing wide in theaters all over today is Saving Mr. Banks, the true story of Walt Disney's efforts to sway Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to bring her beloved story to the silver screen. The film takes place over a two-week period and follows the mostly true story of that period. We also see Travers' backstory played out through wonderful flashbacks as we discover why Mary Poppins is so important to her and why she is so guarded as a person.

The biggest coup of Saving Mr. Banks is the fact that this is the first time Walt Disney has ever been portrayed on screen by an actor. It was incredibly hard for me to fathom anyone who could do justice to Walt, but I learned once again that you should never underestimate Tom Hanks. Hanks disappears into the role and brings Walt Disney to life in a truly moving and incredible way. Not once while watching the film did I think to myself, "Oh, that's just Tom Hanks." Hanks is the perfect choice for Walt Disney and I fell in love with his performance. He is simply outstanding.

However the biggest joy of the film is Emma Thompson's P.L. Travers. Oscar-worthy is absolutely the adjective I would use to describe Thompson's portrayal of the persnickety author. Her emotional journey through the movie is brilliant and Thompson takes us along with her through every high and low. The scene where she finally relents to the charms of Disney music and releases some joy is far and away my favorite moment in the film. My heart soared and I had tears in my eyes. It's a beautiful, expertly executed scene. Emma Thompson absolutely deserves an Oscar nomination for her brilliant turn as Travers, and I won't be surprised when she gets one.

The rest of the cast is magnificent as well. Colin Farrell wowed me as Travers Goff, P.L. Travers alcoholic father. His work in the film is wonderful and I can't believe how little he was played up in the promotion for the film. Paul Giamatti plays Travers' driver Ralph and might have been my favorite character. Bradley Whitford is awesome as screenwriter Don DeGradi. Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak steal the show more than once as the legendary Sherman Brothers. Every player in this film is a delight and adds rich story, character, and fun to the movie. A marvelous cast if there ever was one.

There are so many excellent moments in the film, but the scene with Walt and Mrs. Travers at Disneyland is a major highlight. It is so incredible to see the park turned back in time. I loved watching park-goers coming up to Walt and watching Walt jovially interact with anyone who wanted to meet him. Disney magic is in full force throughout that scene. Every time music from Mary Poppins is played, I adored it. There is a scene using the song "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" that was especially well done. The final scenes at the premiere of Mary Poppins are also just marvelous.

In the end, it's just really, really hard not to love this film if you're a Disney fan--and even if you're not. It is uplifting, inspiring, and magical. Saving Mr. Banks reminds us of the joys and the sorrows of being a creator and a storyteller. The praise for the film is well-deserved, and I'm happy to add my praise to it. As Walt says, "every time someone walks into a movie house...they will rejoice." That was true for Mary Poppins, and it is true for Saving Mr. Banks. The movie will leave you singing.

Mitchell Stein- For years, Mary Poppins has been considered to be Walt Disney’s cinematic crowning achievement, the Oscar winning film, with incredible creative animated sequences, a heartfelt story and fantastic songs by the Sherman Brothers, it earns that title quite well.

It’s surprising that Mary Poppins almost never happened.

Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) wooed P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) into the rights of her book in order to grant the rights to the movie adaption. If the movie would’ve gone into the hands of Travers, Mary Poppins as we know it would probably not exist. The version we would know would be a very depressing, sad and unenjoyable film unlike the bouncy colorful film we know as today.

The film’s cast is brilliant. Although Walt Disney really in essence just looks like Tom Hanks’ in a mustache, the spirit of Walt lives on in this movie. This film takes Walt Disney beyond the legend and showcases him just as a regular person. It may have been meant to weaken people’s godly thoughts of Walt Disney, but if anything, it may have strengthened mine. The look and sound of Walt may not seem right, but the spirit of Walt was spot on. His performance was great, and it makes me wonder if they were planning to bring him back to play Walt in 2015's Tomorrowland

The movie also stars B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman brilliantly playing the roles of the Sherman Bros, Bradley Whitford as screenwriter Don Dagradi and Paul Giamatti as Ralph the driver.

Saving Mr. Banks is not only the ultimate gift to fans of the Mary Poppins movie, but for Disney fans in general. It goes very in detail at certain parts of the story, and accurately playing out to old audio recordings of the meetings that were insisted upon by P.L. Travers herself (some of the audio can be heard over the credits of the movie). It also makes you appreciate all the little details and hard work that went into the film, including some really memorable references and musical numbers that will make any Disney fan break into tears. 

The facts and hidden gems are incredibly detailed. Most average moviegoers won’t recognize Walt’s Smoke Tree Ranch tie clip, or the way Tom Hanks strokes his mustache and speaks like Walt, but as a major Disney fan, I instantly recognized every detail, even to the items on his office shelves are amazing, vintage Mickey merchandise and others. The set design in this movie is fantastic.

I have no absoloutley negative things to say about this movie. In the beginning, the story flashes from 1906 to the 1960s, constantly telling both eras of Travers’ story. It’s rather frustrating at first, but you’ll get used to it as the movie goes on.

I wish they would have gone a little more in detail during the filming of the movie, but I guess the movie was long enough where it is now, with an enjoyable two and a half hours.

Saving Mr. Banks is a movie for every Disney fan. Rest assured, you will love this movie. Not just should you enjoy the comedy, the music and touching moments, but also, be on the lookout for lots of hidden gems and facts. I honestly loved this movie, and I hope it earns the Oscar buzz it's been getting the past few months, because honestly, this might even deserve Best Picture (although it probably won't get it). 

Saving Mr. Banks opens everywhere today, December 20th

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