Saving Mr Banks

Directed by John Lee Hancock
FACT, Liverpool
From 29th November 2013

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Produced by Walt Disney Films themselves, Saving Mr Banks came across as being a major advert promoting themselves.

It was a tawdry movie, which caricatured PLTravers, the author of the book Mary Poppins, which Disney Ltd released as a movie in 1964, after finally, following a twenty year struggle, to get her to agree on giving them the rights to film the story.

Travers - a complex personality - was a novelist, poet, actress and journalist, as well as an adopter of a child, but watching this tosh you would not know that - except for being a novelist of a kids story, which featured a woman flying through the air holding an umbrella.

She was depicted as being extremely boorish, a loner, self centred and a sexually frustrated spinster, facets of her personality which were conjured up by the studios who invented Mickey Mouse!

Given the limited scope of the person she was portraying Emma Thompson turns in a good performance, but she must have known beforehand that director John Lee Hancock had only given Travers a one-dimensional personality. Did Thompson not question this fabrication or did the size of the cheque paid to her help keep her lips sealed?

Tom Hanks, who played Walt Disney, is another victim of the shallow nature of this film. He was s chain smoker of renown but you never see him with a cigarette in his mouth. Hanks said thanks for another big pay day at going through the motions of acting in Hollywood.

Perhaps worst of all was the constant flashbacks, which became tiresome, of Travers' childhood spent in the outback of Australia, with her alcoholic father, played by a seriously miscast Colin Farrell, not helping with the credibility of the movie.

Some have coined the phrase, in reference to Saving Mr Banks, that it's only watchable with a giant sized spoonful of sugar. The problem though is that it would take many spoonfuls of sugar to help this bad medicine go down!!

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