Guide to Disney #3: Saving Mr Banks

Now, this isn’t your usual Disney Film. This isn’t a fairy-tale, this isn’t a glitzy Pixar animation. This is a biographical-drama. And it’s a bloody good one.

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Saving Mr Banks is directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Founder) and stars Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee) as P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Toy Story) as Walt Disney himself.

Basically, the main plot of the film follows the story of Disney trying to convince Mary Poppings creator P.L. Travers to allow the company to create a film based on her books. But Travers has other plans for her Poppins and her demands prove tough for Disney to overcome.

First of all, the performances in this film are outstanding. Tom Hanks gives such a stoic performance as Disney, showing how he ran his company during his life, how persistent he was in trying to get this film made and it also showed how committed and entitled Walt could sometimes become. Hanks is incredibly underrated in his role and every time he’s on screen he can’t help but steal it. Thompson as well is a stand out. Giving a brilliant performance as the stubborn and stuck up Travers, who would try to do anything to keep Mary Poppins off of the big screen.

Not only the performances, but the cinematography in this film is stunning. The framing is magnificent and the mise-en-scene is used to perfection, sometimes incredibly subtly, but other times very obviously. That and the colours are a stand-out with every scene seemingly bursting with vibrant sets and clothing.

The way the film portrays the story of Mary Poppins, Travers and Disney is done fantastically and it really highlights the process of how a movie is made and can easily be compared to movie creation in the modern day, despite the setting being the year 1961. Even when they show how the songs were created is amazing.

The one downside i do have with this film however, is the flashbacks. Used to provide some details of Travers’ childhood and to show how she became who she is and how she came up with the idea of Mary Poppins, the cut-aways just seem to interrupt the movie and slow it right down. Even the added stardom of Colin Farrell as Travers Goff (P.L. Travers’ father) only let me enjoy these breaks slightly. But luckily that is all they are, breaks, and brief ones at that.

Overall, though, Saving Mr Banks is a stunningly made and acted film. Although it’s not a traditional Disney movie, it obviously still has the heavy presence of Disney (especially when they take a trip to Disneyland). A way to market the company and theme parks? Or a biographical drama? Either way, it does both really really well. If you didn’t want to watch Mary Poppins before, you’ll want to after this. But at the same time, you’ll also want to visit the Disney parks.

 

Saving Mr Banks: 3.5/5

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