Valissa Smith is managing partner of www.itsallaboutHER.com, an online resource for women. She is a proud member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle. You can watch Valissa's movie reviews Fridays at 11:00 a.m.on the KSHB-TV Midday Newscast.
For 20 years, Walt Disney wanted to turn the storybook tale Mary Poppins into a Disney film and for 20 years the books author, P.L. Travers wanted nothing to do with him, Disney Productions or seeing her story in film.
Facing bleak financial circumstances, Mrs. Travers is virtually forced into cashing in her very personal and precious Mary Poppins. The story is more than just ďher baby,Ē itís the creative result of her disruptive Australian childhood, and sheís not about to let it be Mickey Moused with. So Mrs. Travers travels to Disney for the creation of Mary Poppins fighting the creative team all the way to the end, in part out of fear that the world will not love her magical nanny and this quirky family as much as she does.
Tom Hanks embodies the iconic role of Walt Disney, and Emma Thompson does an amazing job portraying this prolific, complex, controlling writer hanging on to literally the last piece of her family and her career. We watch as she fights Walt and the Disney team over every little word. We canít imagine Mary Poppins without humorous song and dancing penguins but Mrs. Travers was appalled of musicals and animation. Through flashbacks, that look and feel like a very different film, (case in point: photo to the right) we gradually understand her fears which explain why this strange woman is so strange.
Saving Mr. Banks is a fascinating true story! And while itís fun stepping back into 60ís Hollywood, and hearing the brief Kansas City mention in the film, itís the true meaning behind the classic Mary Poppins tale and the unusual method in which that story is told that makes it so good.
Itís a biography and a comedy and a drama - not a combination youíll often see but a beautiful story Iím so glad to now know. Thank you P.L. Travers and thank you Walt Disney. Iíve seen the movie a hundred times. So itís now off to the library to check-out the classic tale.
Arruga! - 0
Fidget Factor - 0
Age Range - 12 and up
Overall Grade - A-