Starring: Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Kathy Baker, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman (Rated PG – 125 min).
A non-musical film about the making of a musical film may disappoint a few, however Tom Hanks as legendary Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as beloved Mary Poppins author P.L Travers keep the narrative flowing with their exceptional performances.
The 1964 classic Mary Poppins won Oscars, spawned a Broadway musical and broke barriers in fantasy storytelling. The twenty year journey to get her adaptation to the screen was difficult for P.L Travers, mostly because she was so pedantic about how her story was to be accountable in cinema format. Agreeing to meet with reclusive Walt Disney would eventually be pivotal, but for quite a while the pair faced off with engaging conversations that often turned to heated debate on the production. These are amusing scenes by two wonderful actors. Hanks is all charm and wit opposite Travers disagreeable negativity. Most fascinating is the trip down memory lane of behind the scenes old school Hollywood and what it takes to make a movie.
Set design and costumes are immaculate. Legendary songwriters of the time the Sherman Brothers are portrayed lovingly looking at wooing Travers with their catchy tunes. Various musical interludes from the actual Mary Poppins will wet the appetite for fans even if unfortunately short-lived. Constant dark flashbacks of the troubled family life Travers endured at a young age provides unexpected drama which goes on too long. Colin Farrell is powerful as her all too believable, booze soaked, struggling father in the 1900’s recalling serious daddy issues bordering on impropriate for an otherwise feel-good PG rated film.
Australian actresses appear in fundamental roles, Rachel Griffiths (Muriel’s Wedding, Blow) appears in flashbacks as Aunt Ellie, while newcomer and veteran of a single Home & Away episode, young Annie Rose Buckley is divine as the much loved Ginty. Saving Mr. Banks is worth seeing for an older audience, just not destined to be as memorable in years to come as it wants to be, if nothing else it may inspire audiences to seek out Mary Poppins on DVD.
Disney fanatics should be excited simply by Tom Hanks replicating perfect mannerisms of the man himself. A cheerful Walt escorting P.L through the Disneyland theme park casually waving to star-struck passers by is enchanting and sums up his pleasant nature.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.