This past Monday, the Premiere for Saving Mr. Banks happened on the Walt Disney Studios Lot. At lunchtime, I got to snap a few pictures of them setting up the red carpet…
Like a few other people I saw, I had to take a picture of me on the red carpet.
If only I were famous enough to be on the red carpet for the actual premiere…ah to dream!
They even had the car used in the movie out on display!
At night, the press was out and ready for the celebrities to arrive. This is the view of the red carpet from the building I work in.
I know that this picture is a little bit blurry. However, there is Mickey Mouse in his tux all ready to welcome the guests who were there to watch the Premiere!
As I left work I, along with some others, stayed around for a few minutes to see if there were any arrivals. Alas, there were none to report. It was a pretty cool thing to see as I left work however.
As they made their way towards the theatre, they would come by this.
Anyways, this post is going to be where I give my comments on the film. Last night, I had the opportunity to catch a screening that was offered for the legal department. There is so much excitement over this film and many industry insiders are talking about Oscar nominations. As you might imagine, I went into the screening with very high expectations. Unlike when I saw the Lone Ranger this past summer, Saving Mr. Banks did not disappoint. It is simply a film that has it all. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It features brilliant acting performances and tells a powerful story. While the film is not perfect, it will leave you quite satisfied.
Before I saw this film, I read this review of the film by Drew Taylor on WDW Mousenger that set up this film perfectly. You should check it out for a more thorough discussion. So, what is the movie about? Quite simply it is about how Mary Poppins came about. It tells not only the story of how the Walt Disney Company gained the rights to make the film, but how the original Marry Poppins stories came about as well. Emma Thompson is spot on with her portrayal of P.L. Travers, the author who created the world of Mary Poppins to begin with. Even though I do not know much of Mrs. Travers (as she prefered to be called), the film does give us a glimpse of the real person during the closing credits. As Mrs. Travers was making her final decision to give Disney the rights for the Mary Poppins film, she recorded all of the meetings on audio tape. They play some of the actual audio tape during the credits. It’s crazy how much Emma Thompson was in line with the tape at the end. The Oscar buzz around her performance is completely deserved.
Tom Hanks gives an amazing performance as Walt Disney. I’ve read that no one has ever portrayed Walt in any film before. After Mr. Hanks’s performance in Saving Mr. Banks, the bar will be really high for anyone else who takes on the role of Walt Disney in the future. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. After watching so much footage of Walt, I was looking forward to seeing how Mr. Hanks would portray him in this film. I honestly can’t imagine anyone doing it better. He had so many of the mannerisms down of film footage of Walt I’ve seen.
The brilliant performances do not end there. Among the memorable characters is Ralph, the guy who drives Mrs. Travers around while she’s in Los Angeles. Paul Giamatti is one of my favorites in the film in this role. In my humble opinion, his character really brings out the human side of Mrs. Travers. As the film moves along, their interactions are fascinating…going from cold to becoming friends by the end. In addition to Ralph, I loved B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman as the Sherman Brothers. They do a pretty good job at recreating the creative process behind the memorable songs from Mary Poppins. Sometimes in films, it always seems so fake when you see a recording artist attempt to create a song that you already know. So, I give them props for they did in trying to show the creative process.
One word of caution for parents that might be reading this blog. This film is rated PG-13 for a reason. I would not recommend bringing a child who is under 13 years old. Colin Farrell’s character is an alcoholic. So, in some of his scenes, the alcoholism subject content might not be suitable for young children. Honestly, I think this part of the story is part of why the film has a PG-13 rating. The effect of alcoholism on a family can be quite devastating and this film does not shy away from showing this. This subject matter is quite powerful and sets up some very dramatic scenes.
The only negatives I could find with the film were some inaccuracies. For example, when they go to Disneyland, you will see a walk around Goofy in the theme park. This Goofy resembles more of what you would find in the parks today. Later in the film, they show the Premiere of Mary Poppins. At the Premiere scene, there is a different looking Goofy walk around character. That Goofy is closer to what you would have found at Disneyland in the 1960’s. Additionally, Walt and Mrs. Travers go and ride the Carousel in Fantasyland. In the early 1980’s, there was a major re-do of Fantasyland at Disneyland. Before that, the Fantasyland facades at Disneyland looked a lot more like the ones at the Magic Kingdom. On top of that the Carousel was much further back from Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the 1960’s. So, when the film goes to Fantasyland and the Carousel, it looks more like the modern Disneyland than the Disneyland of the 1960’s. Of course, these inaccuracies would be hard to overcome. I’m sure that most people wouldn’t even notice.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this film to anyone. Disney fans absolutely must see this film. However, you do not need to be a fan of the Walt Disney Company, nor a fan of Mary Poppins to enjoy this film. It gives a lot of insight to the creative process in talking about not only how the film rights can be acquired, but what inspires someone to write the books on which the movie is based on in the first place. This story is very much one of the origins of Mary Poppins in every way. The ending of the movie will have just about everyone in tears. There is a story Walt tells in the movie about his childhood that I didn’t know about him. After conferring with some Walt fans who were at the screening, I learned that the story is true. I can only hope that the Academy gives this film its due credit.