Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Winds in the East

When Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) promised his daughter he would turn her favourite book into a movie he never could have imagined it would take him many a year to get it even started. But then Walt had never met a woman like P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the author of the Mary Poppins books who not only detests cartoons but has for years refused to sign over the rights to the story when ever Walt has called. But with money starting to become tight Travers finds herself heading to America where Walt and his team, including the Sherman brothers, try to work their magic to convince her to sign over the rights. All of which leads to Travers thinking back to her childhood in Australia.

"Based on a true story" is such a loose term because in truth it means that whilst a movie may have been influenced by something which happened it has been altered massively to work as a piece of entertainment. Now whilst I am aware that there was conflict between P.L. Travers and Walt Disney when it came to "Mary Poppins" I don't know how much of "Saving Mr. Banks" is based on fact and how much has been written to make it works as a movie. But when it comes down to it the ends result is a movie with a double storyline which ends up being watchable although whilst at times engaging is not the great movie which maybe it could have been.

Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Now I did say that "Saving Mr. Banks" has a double storyline and so on one hand we have the endeavours of Walt and his team to break down Travers' resistance to her story being turned in to the movie. And this side delivers the mix of amusing as Travers stands steadfast against any changes and Walt's charm offensive whilst also delivering some nostalgia as we watch the Sherman brothers composing the various famous songs. It is a combination which certainly puts a smile on your face with a nice recreation of the 60s.

But then on the other hand we get Travers thinking back to her own childhood in Australia, her close bond to her father, her magical Aunt with a parrot headed umbrella and much more. Now whilst this side of the movie is obviously there to suggest that some of Mary Poppins was inspired by her own life it is also there to explain why Travers didn't want her story and what it really meant to be spoiled by being Disney-fied. I won't explain exactly what that means but it will certainly make you think differently the next time you watch "Mary Poppins".

What this all boils down to is that "Saving Mr. Banks" is certainly an entertaining movie mixing humour with plenty of insightful scenes to give us the story of Disney and Travers but also Travers' own back story. Whilst certainly a good movie something is for me lacking to make it a great movie which in truth is what I expected it to be.