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Saving Mr. Banks (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
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Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson bring to life the untold true story about the origins of one of the most treasured Disney classics of all time. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) directs this acclaimed film that reveals the surprising backstory behind the making of Mary Poppins.
Determined to fulfill a promise to his daughters, Walt Disney (Hanks) tries for 20 years to obtain the rights to author P. L. Travers’ (Thompson) beloved book. Armed with his iconic creative vision, Walt pulls out all the stops, but the uncompromising Travers won’t budge. Only when he reaches into his own complicated childhood does Walt discover the truth about the ghosts that haunt Travers, and together, they set “Mary Poppins” free.
Saving Mr. Banks is a fascinating look at the circuitous "collaborative" process Walt Disney, his creative team, and author P.L. Travers engaged in in bringing the character Mary Poppins to life on the big screen in the early 1960s. This touching, funny film is really two stories nicely tied up in one appealing package. The first story is of P.L. Travers's childhood in Australia in the early 1900s. This story starts out idyllically enough, emphasizing her father's immense love for his children and his uncanny ability to make everything fun and exciting, but it's one that has a darker side that ends up shaping the adult that Travers eventually becomes. The other story is of the adult P.L. Travers. A proper Englishwoman completely set in her ways, she grudgingly embarks on a trip from England to Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of turning her highly successful book Mary Poppins into a Disney motion picture. Walt Disney has a vested personal interest in the project, but Travers and the Disney team clash on virtually every level and their interactions run the gamut from perplexing to infuriating and downright funny. The juxtaposition of the two stories is quite masterful, with the stories continually intertwining and each shedding light on the other to create a cohesive film that is highly engaging and emotionally poignant. The casting of Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers is inspired: they are absolutely perfect in their roles. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this film is that Saving Mr. Banks creates a whole new perspective from which to view the beloved original Mary Poppins. (Ages 10 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
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Saving Mr. Banks is a dual narrative portrait of the author of Mary Poppins and the creative team at Walt Disney that worked to bring it to the big screen. In one thread (1961) we have the curmudgeonly author behaving like a stark raving... well, curmudgeon as she tries to exert control over the creative process. In the other thread (1906, Australia) we unwind the story of her grim childhood that makes her a curmudgeon in the first place.
This movie has a lot of things to say not the least of which is to cast an entirely different light that beloved American classic of childhood. Mary Poppins ain't quite what you think it's about as a kid (but then what good movie IS what you think it's about when you're a kid). It's also a powerful demonstration of how our childhood influences us as adults sometimes in ways that we don't quite grasp until we look back on them from a great distance.
It's also interesting to see behind the curtain of the creative process. Avoiding spoilers, the author's primary objection is that Mary Poppins and the Banks family have become, in truth, her family over the years and sharing that vision and letting someone else have a piece of them is frightfully difficult. It does make a person wonder if all authors have this same struggle when crossing mediums.
Lastly, I'm a sucker for sentiment but this movie had the audience blowing its nose and audibly sniffing for a good hour. It's an incredibly intimate portrait. However, the kids won't think much of it and the group in the theatre with me was 50+ for the most part. All that said, highly recommended for anyone with a sentimental streak. Best movie I've seen in a month or more.
Oh, and the patient who sit through the credits will be treated to some photos from the movie's production and a section of the recorded conversations between the author and the production cast.
PS: It is always my endeavor to provide helpful reviews. If you find my review helpful then I'm glad! If you do not, then please leave me a comment indicating what you want to know and I'll be sure to do better next time.
Essentially, the lady that wrote Mary Poppins, didn't have a very nice childhood and it soured her. She made her story, her substitute family. That substitute family were the only people she let in her life so she wouldn't get hurt. So when Disney, hounded and hounded her to get her to let them make a movie out of the book; only dire need for money made her consider it.
When you are trying to make a move for American families, as Disney did it; you want fun, music, characters, fantasy, animation... But this threatened the original story and was resisted by the author, so much so that tension in the viewers of "Saving Mr. Banks" becomes uncomfortable. We get flashbacks to the childhood that caused the problems in the life of the author of Mary Poppins: alcoholic father ...to the point he drinks himself dead, mother falling apart, and a no-nonsense aunt to the rescue of the family.
Mr. Banks, the father in Mary Poppins is a banker, like the author's father was. Even in Mary Poppins he was not very likable...though the author idealized her own father who celebrated who she was in her childhood...even though he was an alcoholic; and discounted her own helpless mother. The trauma to the author came, because of the horrible situation and disgrace in which her father left the family. She loved him...but how could she love him? That is where the title, and the main story line of this film lies, in saving Mr. Banks, the father, in her memory...and in her story.
If you remember, at the end of Mary Poppins, Mr. Banks realizes that his family is the most important part of his life and he stops being such a prick. As the author, with the help of Disney, the writers, the environment changes the story so that Mr. Banks becomes worthy of love again, she works through her own issues to become whole again. And by doing this in "Saving Mr. Banks" we are all made a little more whole, a little more happy, a little more at peace with the bad things that have happened in our own lives.
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