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Review: Saving Mr. Banks


W!ZARD News Author

For a very long time, Disney’s Mary Poppins has been a Christmas must watch on many a television channel and it’s one of the few classics to have not yet made it in the Bargain Bin at any of your local supermarkets. It tells the story of the rich British ‘Banks’ family who have their world turned upside down by a magical nanny who teaches them that you can make so much more of life if only you allow a spoonful of sugar into it every now and again.

The film, based on the book originally written by P.L. Travers has won Oscars for Besst Film Editing, Original Music Score, Best Song and Best Visual Effects – among many others.

However, one thing not many people know is how the book was turned into the hugely successful and famous film.

Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock, tells precisely this story with all of its emotionally-draining twists and turns.

Tom Hanks portrays a caring and loving Walt Disney who has spent the past 20 years trying to fulfil the promise he made to his children of turning P.L. Travers’ magical story into a feature film that fly’s off the pages. However, as he and his colleagues learn in this inspiring tale, Miss. Travers (played expertly by the beautiful Emma Thompson) doesn’t step in time with his vision.

Disney and Travers’ relationship that starts with lust (by Emma Thompson’s character) and slowly turns into mutual love makes this film the perfect drama to go alongside Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke’s classic.

The film tells two story’s side-by-side – primary scenes focus on the story of Disney trying to persuade Travers to allow him to turn the book into a film and the development of such in 1961 and alternating scenes focus on Travers’ childhood and where her posh, stuck-up attitude spawns from.

In the scenes set in 1907, Colin Farrell plays Travers’ loveable, easily excitable father (who has plenty of problems of his own) and Ruth Wilson plays her weak, suicidal mother. These scenes also reveal a lot about the background of Mary Poppins and what Travers based each part on.

It’s not very rare for a Disney production to have you laughing, crying and reflecting all at once – but, with Saving Mr. Banks it seems like a more genuine emotion than crying at a clown fish being kidnapped. The audience leaves the cinema with a relationship with all of the characters and tears rolling down their faces.

Hanks and Thompson play their roles endearingly with a huge amount of passion and, clearly, a lot of research. Hanks has nailed all of Walt’s mannerisms and Thompson recalls Travers’ comments about the film perfectly.

Saving Mr. Banks has an even bigger heart than its subject matter and is the perfect way to celebrate an iconic production in film history.


By James Gilmore


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