Blu-ray Review “Saving Mr. Banks”

Actors: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman
Directors: John Lee Hancock
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Run Time: 120 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I originally heard about “Saving Mr. Banks” and it has Tom Hanks playing the legendary Walt Disney, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love the film “Mary Poppins” and I thought it was going to be a great film. After watching it originally, I was a little disappointed to see that Hanks’ portrayal of the man behind Mickey Mouse was very supporting and the focus was on Emma Thompson role of Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers and her life growing up. In fact, I really only enjoyed the parts in the film focusing on Walt Disney. Disney hardcore fans will enjoy. I will most likely not watch this again in the foreseable future.

Official Premise: Determined to fulfill a promise to his daughters, Walt Disney (Hanks) works for twenty years to secure the rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Thompson) beloved book. Armed with his iconic creative vision, Walt pulls out all the stops, but the uncompromising Travers won’t budge. Only when he reaches into his own complicated childhood does Walt discover the truth about the ghosts that haunt Travers, and together, the set Mary Poppins free.

Disney delivered “Saving Mr. Banks” with a Blu-ray combo pack including a Digital HD Ultraviolet copy. The 1080p transfer looks quite sharp. The colors are very vibrant especially the flashback scenes. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works well with the film’s beautiful score and music. In terms of special features this some decent extras but nothing amazing. “Walt Disney Studios: From Poppins to Present” is a tour of the Disney Studios lot with director Join Hancock. “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” has the cast and crew singing along on the last day of filming. Lastly there are three short deleted scenes included.

Film Review “Saving Mr. Banks”

Starring: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Paul Giamatti
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Rated: PG
Running time: 2 hours 5 mins
Walt Disney Pictures

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

It’s hard to believe that one of the most beloved films of all time, “Mary Poppins,” almost wasn’t made. It took 20 years of convincing by Walt Disney himself until author P.L. Travers agreed to consider the project. Of course, she had some ideas of her own. No animation. No music (“Mary Poppins does NOT sing”) And no way on that dreadful Dick Van Dyke. History, of course, tells us that these fears were unnecessary. “Saving Mr. Banks” does the same, but with a little help from the players involved.

Told in current period time and, too often, in flashbacks, “Saving Mr. Banks” is a fine film when the subject of “Mary Poppins” is being discussed. The flashback scenes, of the author as a young girl in Australia and her alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), are too often just there to interject something familiar into the story. Yes, I understand. Mother used to say “spit-spot” just like Mary Poppins does. These scenes actually slow the film down. It’s the magic of films that Walt Disney was known for and when “Saving Mr. Banks” addresses that process the film begins to soar.

The film is well cast. Who better than Tom Hanks, arguably his generations Jimmy Stewart, with a little Henry Fonda added for good measure, to play “Uncle” Walt? Hanks’ performance is just right, capturing the filmmaker as those of us who used to watch him every Sunday night remember him. As Travers, Thompson has created the perfect snob. She is never happy with anything, be it her stuffed animal filled hotel room to the poor grammar included in the script. You can imagine her reaction when she first hears “Supercalifragilisticexpealadocious!” The supporting cast is equally strong. B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman play the musical Sherman brothers, Bradley Whitford is screenwriter Don DaGradi and Giamatti is the always cheerful limo driver who finally helps melt Travers’ icy persona.