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Monday, December 02, 2013

Review - Saving Mr Banks

Walt Disney.  A name associated with cartoon mice, ducks, dogs and everything in between.  He was also the man who virtually dragged the story of Mary Poppins onto the big screen.

P.L. Travers, the author and creator of the magical nanny, was adamant that a man who had never, at the time, made a live-action film, was not going to add sparkle to her story.

Over a 20 year period, with annual requests to sell the rights, Walt Disney urged and encouraged her to sign them to him.  After all, he had promised his daughters that he would make the film.  Finally; with her agent explaining that the money was running out, she took a trip to California, to work with Disney, the Sherman brothers and the rest of the team, to create the film she would approve of.

Tom Hanks inspires as Walt Disney; the first time the film-maker has been portrayed as a main character in a film.

Emma Thompson, who has previously played a nanny (Nanny McPhee) is just superb as P.L. Travers; her vitriol about Walt Disney and his team really help to show the type of person she was.

It's the flashbacks (almost a film within a film) that shows her childhood, as she grew up in Australia.  Her father, played by Colin Farrell, was a huge part of her life; they had an lovely relationship, which never falters.  It wasn't until she reached the age of 20 before she came to the UK and re-invented herself.

Admittedly, the film got off to a slow start, but - spit spot - it soon shook itself into shape, and with the regular flashbacks, and wonderful acting of Annie Buckley, as the young author, not to mention the Sherman brothers (played by Jason Schwarzman and BJ Novak) we were soon hoping the film would be made (which, of course it was).

The locations were just fabulous; even some filming in Disneyland (they shut part of the park for a couple of days in November 2012).  Paul Giamatti was great as the driver; in fact, I think it was, in part his character, Ralph, who helped to seal the deal!

Top Tip - stay through the end credits.  P.L. Travers demanded that all the meetings were recorded.  You'll be able to hear some of the actual audio recordings; and realise just how fierce she really was.

Directed by John Lee Hancock (last film directed "The Blind Side", which was nominated for best film at the 2010 Oscars), this is definitely one to see - you'll be tapping along and maybe humming as they "go fly a kite".


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