A few years back, while viewing Mary Poppins as an adult, I came to a realization: That movie is not about a magical nanny, it’s about Mr. Banks. Apparently I was right…
Watching movies as a kid and then rewatching them years later with your kids are two different experiences. You notice things you never picked up on before. Some movies have jokes that only adults understand. Many movies have more sex or language than you remember. In the case of Mary Poppins, those “boring slow parts” with Mr. Banks are where the real depth of the story is.
Mr. Banks’ has the greatest story arc of any of the characters in the film. Watching as father, I can connect a lot more closely to the struggle of a man trying to balance supporting his family and spending time with his family.
About a year ago I heard Disney was making Saving Mr. Banks, a movie about Mary Poppins. I was outraged. I’m a huge fan of Walt Disney, his genius and creativity. To think that they would attempt a remake or a sequel to what is arguably one of his very best pictures was blasphemy! (*cough* Bambi II *cough*) But then I saw this:
Immediately I understood… and I could not wait for this film! I have read many of the countless books on Walt Disney’s life and all of them document the struggle he had with P.L. Travers as he was trying to get Mary Poppins made. That poster said it all.
Seeing Tom Hanks portraying Walt Disney seemed right. Disney was the average guy well-loved by his fans, just as Hanks is. When I saw Saving Mr. Banks, I knew that Tom Hanks was perfect. He played Walt exactly how I pictured him, right down to his mannerisms and phrases. Walt never gave praise but instead simply said, “That’ll work.” if he liked something.
The rest of the cast was fantastic as well. Emma Thompson as Mrs. Travers has you hating her and routing for her at the same time. Seeing the brilliant Sherman brothers musical team brought to life is a treat as well.
The movie bounces back and forth between Walt and his staff in the 60s trying to make Mary Poppins and a P.L. Travers as a child with her family in rugged Australia living through experiences that influenced the Mary Poppins book. I love Walt Disney and my wife is an author, so this is an ideal movie for us. During the flashback scenes of the young Travers, I was like, “Come on! Get back to Walt!” And during the 60s scenes of the Disney studios, she was like, “Come on! Get back to Travers!”
For fans of Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks serves as a documentary on the making of her film. It feels like a bonus feature on her DVD. For fans of Walt Disney, like me, it’s a honest look at the man who built an empire on family entertainment. For people that just enjoy a good story, it’s a highly entertaining movie, full of humor and history.
Oh! And stick around during the credits to hear recordings of P.L. Travers in the actual planning sessions from the 60s.
If you have been curious about this movie, don’t wait any longer. Go rent Saving Mr. Banks today! If you have ever seen Mary Poppins, don’t wait any longer. Go rent Saving Mr. Banks today! If you have seen it already, don’t wait any longer. Go rent Saving Mr. Banks today!
If you want to leave a comment, don’t wait any longer. Leave a comment today!