It’s the most magical place in the world, it has provided tons of animated laughs, and it currently has made very wise investments in purchasing Marvel Studios and Lucas Entertainment. Yes, it’s Disney and like so many companies it is currently shelling out more movies with each passing year. With the successful animated feature of Frozen released just last month, you would think they had exhausted their movie reservoir, but oh is that a mistake. This weekend, the latest project opened, one that traded in the battling beauties and talking snowman with a more serious cast and theme. My review this time is on Saving Mr. Banks, a story that tells of Disney’s acquisition of one of the most beloved movies of all time Mary Poppins.
Hopefully most people recognize the name Mary Poppins, the nanny of magic that saved a family from becoming the next reality T.V. series. Yet how many of you knew it was a book series? I’ll admit I didn’t, nor did I know of the struggles or origins behind the musical cast that I love watching to this day. Thus comes Saving Mr. Banks, here to shed some light on the subject, and as the trailer promoted a movie that looks to be entertaining as well. What’s my call on it? Read on to find out?
For those who haven’t seen the trailer, Saving Mr. Banks stars the dynamic duo of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. These two have been in the acting business for quite some time, and their experience once again shows in the roles they play. Thompson in particular plays the role of the high maintenance, neurotic author P.L. Travers very well, often adding bite to her bark with her intense stare. The politeness normally seen in some of her characters is pretty much gone, instead replaced with rudeness that when combined with her English accent gives a polite edge to her snide comments. Yet, behind that demeanor, the audience gets to see the inner emotions and turmoil that are going through the author’s mind, adding more depth to an already complicated character. The result of the great acting is a character that helps guide you through the fog of Poppins’ origins, and still provides plenty of opportunities for laughs, and further story.
As for Hanks, well the man’s ability to amaze me is still as strong as ever. Not only in look, thanks to some well-done makeup, Hanks captures the friendly, energetic youth that commercials made Walt Disney famous for. His politician smile, along with his turn of phrase contains all the whit and coyness that I expected the great Disney to do. Yet, Hanks charm also bleeds out and helps him not only schmooze Ms. Travers, as well as a few audience members, but also provides some laughs from the well-timed one-liners. Of course, humor isn’t the only thing Walt has in this film, the background of Walt’s family, and some of his own morals that drove the man to his goals. All of this is brilliantly executed as Hanks add just the right emotion when needed while not stepping over the overacting barrier.
Alone these two are great, but together they are even stronger. The arguments over the movies provide plenty of laughs, and when mixed with other characters that are part of the Poppins team, this relationship opens up many interactions. With such a blended and talented cast playing these roles, the result is a plethora of scenes and sequences that will have audience members laughing, or in some cases tearing up, as each piece of the puzzle, both backstory and source of movie ideas, falls into place. Many of the relationships are more humorous than anything else, but there are plenty of times where the mood changes to a more serious tone that is sweet, moving, and sometimes frustrating. Something else I love is that all of these characters got decent screen time, many having at least thirty minutes on the screen if not longer. Thus, the casting department got their money’s worth in this film, and helped create some very memorable characters.
Perhaps the other part of this movie that I loved were the flashbacks that provided visual explanation of the events that motivated Travers’ life. Sure the movie could have saved a lot of time with simple dialog explaining her history. Instead Hancock and crew created scenes that elaborated the events that motivated Travers’ imagination. The relationship between her father and her was in particular my favorite, as the bond between the two continued to change over the course of the movie, yet somehow remain constant at it’s core. Like the modern day relationships, the father-daughter love was humorous, fun, while also moving as various plot twists began to occur. While some of the memories could have been left out, or I should say edited to be a little shorter, all of these flashbacks were well timed, properly organized, and beautifully orchestrated to provide the emotional punch to drive home the story, with a soundtrack to help.
There are some weaknesses to this movie though, in particular is its predictability. While it’s fun uncovering the truth behind the magic of Poppins, most fans should see some of the revelations coming hours away. I won’t ruin anything for you, but just keep your ears and eyes open and you’ll make the connections. The second thing that was a bit weak, was how annoying her attitude got. Her rudeness in particular is meant to set up the barriers, but there are sometimes when that obstacle gets a little too annoying for my tastes. I’m sure there were plenty of reasons to set this big of an obstacle, but for almost two hours, well I reach my limits. Other than a few slow parts though, there isn’t much else I complain for a movie of this type.
Saving Mr. Banks is a beautifully crafted movie, with great acting, phenomenal editing and a story that will pull at your heartstrings. Disney’s crew still knows how to make a good movie, and create a world to get totally immersed in. So prepared to blast back into the past and enjoy the story of Mary Poppins creation, as I recommend checking this movie out, especially for those looking for a little enlightenment. However those not wanting to tango on the sadder side of things might want to wait until after Christmas, just in case. So what do I give this movie, check down below:
Movie Overall: 8