Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Saving Mr. Banks And The Disney Machine

Saving Mr. Banks was an interesting idea for a movie.
Disney is at a juncture now wherein the company has a vast history to draw from... and has aligned itself to actually make some very quality movies about its past. I rather like this idea and find myself wishing that the other major studios would consider a few of these stories as well. And I tend to think this idea of historical studio self exploration would indeed take off... if only Saving Mr. Banks had more to offer.
Honestly I did walk away liking this movie. But it felt both inconsistent and incomplete at the same time for me. We never really get a chance to watch P.L. Travers' (Emma Thompson) emotional journey. In fact her past is so completely drawn out that we never get a chance to see her manage the world without it. Sure the purpose of her back story led down some interesting avenues, but none of them were particularly enlightening in the main story. Mostly because Travers doesn't seem to learn anything. The inclusion of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) was a fun idea, but it never really got going enough due to all of those damned flashbacks.
Essentially, Saving Mr. Banks is a flawed but still sometimes entertaining piece of Disney propaganda that could have taken more risks and could have felt like more than just an extra feature on a Mary Poppins DVD... but ultimately failed to become something more substantial. It's too bad because it had some wonderful performances (Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman... heck I even liked Collin Farrell in it) and the idea just felt so enticing.
Oh well. Nice try Disney. I do applaud the attempt.

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