ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie review: Saving Mr Banks

Updated on November 10, 2013

One of the things that the film Mary Poppins is most know for these days is the dreadful job Dick Van Dyke does with a London accent; whenever he opens his mouth it's as if it's where vowels go to die a horrible death. But back in 1964 it was a very big deal for Walt Disney.

Not only did it win an impressive five Oscars, it was nominated for thirteen in total. It was also a big hit with audiences, and therefore the box office, with its eventual takings hitting well over the hundred million dollars mark. No need for a spoonful of sugar there.

All this would have been music to Walt's ears, especially when you consider how difficult it was to get Mary Poppins off the ground in the first place.

When his children were growing up Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) was constantly told by them how wonderful the book Mary Poppins was. He agreed and loved it so much that he wanted to make a film version. So he wrote a letter to its author Mrs P.L Travers (Emma Thompson), asking for the rights. She turned him down.

He then wrote to her the following year. She turned him down. And then the year after, and the year after that. Undeterred, Disney continued asking for over eighteen years, until Travers finally succumbed and said yes.

This would have been a time to rejoice, but it came with a hefty caveat – she would have final approval on everything, otherwise the rights would remain hers. Amazingly, Disney accepted her terms. He then flew her over to Hollywood; if he thought that the last eighteen years had been tough, nothing could prepare him or his creative team for the incredibly hard, uphill struggle ahead of them with the belligerent Travers at the peak of it.

As this film comes from the House of Mouse, you were only ever going to get one side of Walt Disney. The caring, charming, productive genius behind all things Disney. As you would expect, Hanks can pull this kind of role off in his sleep. He makes it look all so effortless, but that should belie his performance.

He couldn't do what he does without Thompson acting as the perfect foil; Her Travers is a no-nonsense kind of woman, who not only expects things done a certain way – her own – she expects all those around to confirm to her expectations too. Again, Thompson has had so much practice with characters with this kind of make-up that it could hardly have been a stretch for her. Still, the scenes in which the pair are together are easily the best.

Unfortunately, a secondary story isn't so much weaved into proceedings but brutally crow-barred. It concerns the relationship Travers had with her father Robert (Colin Farrell) back in her native Australia as a child. It would have worked as one brief flashback, but sadly director John Lee Hancock (who also directed the insipid Oscar winner The Blind Side), uses far too many pointless flashbacks as a crutch for his film. In doing so, it doesn't just break the rhythm created by Hanks and Thompson, it almost brings proceedings to a standstill. Hancock should give the audience a little more credit; we get it, her dad screwed her up – move on already!

These scenes don't just ruin the relationship of the central characters, it takes a very positive shine off of the whole film. Paul Giammati 's Driving Miss Travers sub-story is incredibly sweet, and the scenes that feature Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak and Bradley Whitford as the Disney creative posse, bring a nice line of gentle humour to proceedings. All slightly ruined by far too many Outback flashbacks.

It's a surprise and disappointment that given the talent at his disposal, and a compelling enough story as it is surrounding Disney and Travers, Hancock was compelled to devote so much of the film to a dull and irritating non-plot plot.

Saving Mr Banks had real potential, possibly even worthy of a golden statue or two like Mary Poppins itself, but by losing its focus, prevents it from being truly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

3 booms

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)