Saving Mr.Banks (2013) is, in essence, the story of what went on behind the scenes while Walt Disney was trying to secure the film rights for Mary Poppins (1964). Stylistically, it may remind one of The Godfather: Part II (1974), where we have a squeaky clean, sober looking (in a Back To The Future kind of way) present day (1960s) story riddled with yellowed-out, nostalgic flashbacks – two different stories set in two different times which are very much interrelated with each other.
To better understand and fully appreciate all the ways Mr.Bank’s story perfectly mimics that of Travers’ father’s, a suggestion would be to re-watch Mary Poppins (1964) before watching this; Tomlinson’s brilliant performance in that film made the disillusioned Mr.Banks seem human, even while spouting phrases like,
“I’m the lord of my castle
The sov’reign, the liege!
I treat my subjects: servants, children, wife
With a firm but gentle hand
Watching Mary Poppins (1964) before Saving Mr.Banks will also make it easier for the audience to recognize the undeniable traces of Travers’ Father (played by Colin Farrel) there are is Mr.Banks. Hanks does not look or sound like Disney, but, what the hey, he gives a top-notch performance, so do not let that alone keep you from enjoying the film. Watching B.J Novak and Jason Shwartzman as the legendary ‘boys’ is also a real treat. Saving Mr.Banks may not be historically correct, and at times, might come across as feature length advert for the Disney Corporation. It is, though, no denying a proper Disney film with adults and Poppins fans as the primarily intended audience.
A good point to keep in mind would be that the Disney Corporation has given this film it’s go-ahead, therefore Disney is presented as the ultimate magical, all-around good guy, while Travers is depicted as an uptight bitch who did not like penguins, silly cartoons, and especially hated Dick Van Dyke. So just enjoy this and wait for Disney to produce their Bobby Driscoll, or wait…better still, Tommy Kirk biopic…
Originally written for Eyeskreen and published on the 17th of August, 2014