Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Emma Thompson & Tom Hanks on Merry Go Round Horse in Saving Mr. Banks movie still

Disney does what Disney does best in ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ – fuck the bad & sad parts of a story

This film has Tom Hanks and did not get any major Oscar nomination (besides for the Best Original Score award), quite surprising at first but after watching it, I would have to agree that it probably didn’t deserve any compared to the other nominations. Saving Mr. Banks is based on the “true story” of how Walt Disney worked with the extremely authoritative author of the classic children books series Mary Poppins in order to gain the screen rights to produce the 1964 classic film adaptation.

Perfect performance by Emma Thompson as the rude, critical and hard-to-please Pamela L. Travers, the late author of the Mary Poppins books, but the problem is that this is still a Disney adaptation, which, as usual, changes all the negativeness into a more family-oriented picture with a happy closure, while shining a good light on the iconic filmmaker, Walt Disney (by the way, I felt that Tom Hanks is an overkill for the role), which in this case, is undeserving if you read up on what actually happened. Everything that the real Travers had hated ultimately happened once again, this time with herself as the main character in this fictionised true story, ironically about allowing her work to be Disney-fied.

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In terms of entertainment, I guess the film delivers enough to satisfy general audience with its charm and conversational humour. However, for those who have not seen Disney’s Mary Poppins might find it difficult to relate, or worse, have the magic of the classic all single-handedly spoiled by Saving Mr. Banks. The promotions say that “you will never look at Mary Poppins the same way again”, it’s true, ’cause Saving Mr. Banks have made me go researching on how all of this actually went down… and I didn’t like what I find. Not that it felt sincere or magical before I read the facts anyway.

Although the film does well in conveying the inspirations behind Mary Poppins, it neglected on some of the most memorable quotes and scenes from the classic.

Emma Thompson as PL Travers in Saving Mr. Banks movie still meme

What I would’ve named the film: “Spoiling Mary Poppins”

Censorship in Malaysia: Literally nothing to censor, unless our local film censorship board are too ignorant to understand that the movie is not promoting alcohol.

Second opinion: (none, watched alone at home)

Verdict: A typical average Disney film, tells a story in a positive light. Can’t totally dislike it, not exactly award-worthy. If you haven’t seen or read Mary Poppins, or can’t remember much of it, I would suggest you to at least watch the film first before catching this one.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Saving Mr Banks movie poster malaysiaRated: P13
Genre: Biographical Comedy Drama
Running Time: 125 minutes
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
Cast: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, B. J. Novak, Ruth Wilson

Malaysia Release Date: February 20th 2014
Local Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Malaysia
Studios: Walt Disney Pictures, BBC Films, Essential Media, Ruby Films, Hopscotch Features

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  1. Ivan Chan

    I actually quite fancy how the movie focused on the flashback and the sourpuss development of Mrs.Travers. I do agree that it is not heavyweight enough for an Oscar, still a good watch nonetheless!

    1. Post

      The flashbacks tell a lot but I believe we could all predict what's coming at the end of it. Not that I want them to change that as well, but I just didn't feel it.

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