In 1964, Walt Disney brought the children's book, Marry Poppins, to the silver screen; and ever since, the film has been a classic. From the iconic performance of Julie Andrews to the magical music, Mary Poppins is to this very one of Disney's most beloved movies. One could imagine what it must have been like to make such a film. Well if you are thinking that, then you'll be delighted to know that your question might be answer in Saving Mr. Banks. This bio-pic tells the story of author P.L Travers and the creative conflict that went into the production of the Walt Disney Film. While Marry Poppins has always been garnered as a classic, did Saving Mr.Banks live up its 1964 predecessor?
There are two stories that play throughout the film. The first story is P.L Travers (Emma Thompson) going to USA to work with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. The other is P.L Travers' life in Australia where young Helen bonded with here troubled father (Colin Farrell), and found the inspiration of her beloved character. While these stories could be used for two different movies, both plots worked in an almost perfect harmony. On many occasions, Traver's back story blended with the main plot as it helped viewer to get an understanding of her character; as well as raising the drama of making the movie. While both stories work well together, I felt that both were able to stand on their own if you broke them down as such. The main story centers on the conflict of making a movie while the other plot was just a solid drama. With the coinciding tales, you have a story unique to the studio and drama that stands out from the rest.
When you have stars like Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, you can only hope for the best from the lead roles. Fortunately though both actors had no problem bringing these historic figures to life. While how accurate they were to the real individuals is up for debate, both Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks captured the essence of the artist as well as their working relationship. Among the two stars, Emma Thompson shined as P.L.Travers. While Hanks humanized Walt Disney, Thompson brought a character to the author. One that I won't be forgetting anytime soon.
With two enormous stars like Thompson and Hanks, it is hard to see any supporting cast members shine in a film like Saving Mr.Banks. Not true in this case as,not one, but all the supporting players stood out in some form or way. The best, in my opinion, was Paul Giamatti as the limo driver Ralph. When first meeting Ralph, you assume he just a guy acting nice to get an honest day's work. However as the film progresses, you find out why Ralph is such a nice guy and can't help but root for him for the remainder of the film. While it may not look like the most impressive ensemble, the cast of Saving Mr.Banks worked very well together, showing off the importance of your lead stars and your supporting actors.
If I had any complaint on the technical side of things, it would be the cinematography. I was hoping that the camera work could match the time that the story took place in; but honestly, this issue is very minor. Aside from that nit-pick, Saving Mr.Banks was a technically sound film. Director John Lee Hancock led a well put together movie and that's all that needs to be said.
While the movie has outstanding dramatic moments, what really impressed me were the little scenes. Moments like the young P.L. Travers eating ice cream with her father and Mrs.Travers talking with Ralph while building a leaf house were simple but effective. Big moments like Walt's speech to Mrs. Travers was enough to leave anyone astonished; while the creation of "Lets Go Fly A Kite" will no doubt having you sing along ( I know I was).
While the may not become as classic as Mary Poppins, Saving Mr.Banks is still a movie to be hold. The films does something different, for not just the likes of storytelling, but for Walt Disney Pictures. Saving Mr.Banks did more then just save moviegoers in 1964. It saved this movie-going critic by giving me (as of this moment) the best film of the year.