**********Warning: the following article may contain spoilers. You have been Warned!*******************
P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) is the acclaimed author of Mary Poppins, and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) wants the rights to the books so he can fulfill a promise that he made to his two girls who adore the story. Miss Travers, on the other hand, is having difficulty giving up the rights to a book whose characters she considers family.
First off, I do not have extensive Disney knowledge like new writer/editor Adverbially Yours does, so I am hoping to get her to a screening or at least write a review of the movie once it comes out so I can see her take on this movie.
Getting back to my review… As stated, I do not have much knowledge on the history of Disney, so I was looking forward to seeing this movie because, like most of us, I have grown up with the Mary Poppins movie, and I, for one, love it and cherish it as a childhood movie. And seeing Saving Mr. Banks made me want to go back and watch Marry Poppins again, which I do plan on doing.
So what this movie entails is the story between P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, being pursued by Walt Disney over twenty years trying to get her to sell him the rights so that he can make a movie. The reason he has pursued her so hard is that he made a promise to his two girls that he would take the book that they loved so much and make it into one of his magical movies. The thing is, Travers does not want to give up the rights to Mary Poppins for multiple reasons. She looks at the series and its characters as the only family that she has, and she wrote a lot of personal emotions into the book and does not want to see Disney turn it into a cartoonish kiddy movie.
We really get two movies in one in Saving Mr. Banks. The first story is of Walt Disney flying P.L. Travers to Los Angles so she can oversee the script writing and to sign the papers that will give the rights to Mary Poppins to Disney; and to say that she is stubborn during this process is an understatement. The development team of Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford), Richard Sherman (Jason Schwartzman), and Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak) did not realize that Disney did not have the rights to the book yet and were kind of shocked to see him giving in to Miss Travers whenever she made outrageous demands such as no red in the movie at all, no animation at all, etc. I wish I could say that she relents during this movie, and she does, in a way, but not too much. Yes, we all know that Disney wins in the end and the movie gets made, but it is not without trials and tribulations.
The second part of the movie we see via flashbacks. These flashbacks show us P.L. Travers growing up in the Australian outback. Her father, a bank manager (starting to see some influences), doesn’t enjoy his job. In fact, he was fired from one bank already, forcing them to move. Mr. Travers thinks that new scenery at another bank would work out for the better. Not so much; he starts to drink again, things just go downhill from there, and we see where Travers got a lot of Mr. Banks’ character. We are also shown that it was because of her father that Miss Travers has the imagination that she does.
I am sure there are plenty of die hard Disney fans out there that know all of the history and will probably nitpick this movie, but I really hope this is not the case because it was an enjoyable movie and gives you a peek behind the curtain at the infamous Walt Disney.
Also, they have a sort of end credit scene that you need to stay for. They play Part One of the tapes that Travers insisted on having during the writing sessions.
Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks do a wonderful job portraying these characters. I recommend this movie if you want to get a look behind the curtain.
Release Date: December 13, 2013
Rating: PG – 13
Run Time: 125 mins
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: Kelly Marcel (screenplay), Sue Smith and Kelly Marcel (story)
Starring: Ruth Wilson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Rachel Griffiths