“Responstible” is not a word!
It hasn’t even been 48 hours since first seeing Saving Mr. Banks and I might have to go back and watch this one again because my fulfillment of Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak singing / playing piano every five seconds still isn’t 100% complete. Not to mention the joy Emma Thompson brings to the screen with her very “to the books” character Miss P.L. Travers, none other than the author of Mary Poppins herself. That being said, this movie was just fantastic. And I will admit that I have never in my life been any sort of Mary Poppins FANATIC per say, so I was never like, “OH MY GOD SAVING MR. BANKS!!!”, but then to my surprise leaving the theater I was definitely all like, “OH MY GOD, SAVING MR. BANKS!!!”
John Lee Hancock’s (The Blindside) movie tells the true story of a 20 year-long battle of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) trying to get the rights to Travers’ book to of course make it into the musical it is today. But as every writer knows, once the goons of Hollywood get their dirty hands on an author’s work, it’s to the pits it goes. But Travers, who at the time was financially ridden, finally agrees to Disney’s years of begging and Mary Poppins is on its way to becoming a feature film. Under ONE condition: that she fly from London to Burbank to make sure these scriptwriters aren’t doing anything to sabotage her beloved.
NOT as easy as it all sounds. I heard people say the movie exaggerated Travers’ character and was a little “too hard” on her, but the fact of the matter is this woman put the people of Disney through 39 hours of audio recordings between her and songwriter brothers Robert (B.J. Novak) and Richard (Jason Schwartzman) Sherman along with screenwriter Bradley Whitford (Don DaGradi), bickering back and forth over every damn detail of the movie you could imagine. Which if you’re a filmmaker, most times in the long run minor details don’t end up mattering much anyways, making Travers a HUGE pain in the ass. But these scenes were honestly the greatest thing about the movie, because Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak are always breaking out into song every twenty-five seconds (WHICH: amazing!).
Travers, a woman who is pretty set in her “ways”, has a damn good reason for it! Mary Poppins isn’t just some random story; there’s a whole ideology behind every character that has everything to do with her childhood growing up in the beautiful Australian countryside; there was NO way Mr. Disney was going to water that down. A parallel of flashbacks aligning present day Travers in Los Angeles recalls the authenticity of Australia vs. the plasticity of LA, and the sole reason for her story: her sporadic and imaginative father Travers Goff (Colin Farrell), who in the story of Mary Poppins the children are trying to save (who Travers, in real life, did try to save). The whole back story is a tragedy in itself and I’m definitely not going to ruin it (pretty sure I sold the movie already in the first paragraph) in this review, but let me just say GO SEE THIS MOVIE! GO SEE SAVING MR. BANKS; do it, do it!
(photos via the dissolve & roger ebert)