Author P.L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.
‘Saving Mr. Banks’ tells the story of Walt Disney’s lengthy attempt to acquire the rights to P.L. Travers’ beloved ‘Marry Poppins’ novel and character in order to fulfill a promise he made to his daughters years ago. After two decades of failed attempts, Travers finally succumbs when the threat of losing her house and lack of incoming royalties becomes an issue for her. She agrees to let the film be made, but insists on having script approval and participating in the ideas to be used in the film. Requiring all discussions to be recorded, she reluctantly joins the brothers (Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novac) creating the musical numbers (for a film she doesn’t agree with being a musical to begin with) and the screenwriter (Bradley Whitford) of whose ideas she continues to challenge and disagree with, proving a most unpleasant experience, yet one they must unfortunately endure as she has not of yet relinquished the characters’ rights to Mr. Disney.
This is a remarkable film that is genuinely moving and heartfelt. It is sad and harrowing at times, while managing to bring a smile to your face another moment from the pure joy it evokes. While I would certainly not go so far as to categorize it as a comedy it is also surprisingly funny throughout and without feeling tired or forced in its attempts at that humor. Every aspect of the film is expertly crafted and executed, from the costumes, to the sets, and of course the absolutely tremendous cast. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) does a great job as director and pretty much every single member of the cast gives a noteworthy performance in their respective roles. Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, BJ Novac, Paul Giomatti, Collin Farrel and a number others I’m surely forgetting to include are all at top form here. In short, ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is not a film you will want to miss out on and I would give it my highest recommendation.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation here looks pretty great for the most part and I had a hard time finding any real flaws present within. All of the fast movements, colors and sets look perfectly detailed and nothing runs or flows where it shouldn’t. Even the borders and edges look perfectly placed and as great as one could expect.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. While ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ does not feature much in the way of action sequences or the such (as one should expect) it still finds a number of great opportunities to really let this lossless multichannel soundtrack shine. When the songs are being played and tested throughout the film they could not sound more clear and flawless. There may not be a lot of constant activity flooding throughout all five channels, but this lossless soundtrack is still more than capable and always leaves the center channel dialogue perfectly audible and discreet, never overpowered by what else may be occurring throughout the other four channels at that time.
The Blu-Ray release features some great bonus features, both informative and fun ones that ‘Mary Poppins’ and Disney fans alike will certainly want to make sure and check out. There is a great featurette included titled ‘The Walt Disney Studios: From Poppins to the Present’ which provides an inside look into the world of Disney over the last fifty years. Also included are a number of deleted scenes from the film as well as a short extra titled ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ which includes all of the cast and crew of ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ singing their hearts out to what is likely one of the most famous Disney songs in existence on the last day of production.
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Film Rating: 9/10 Disc Rating: 9/10
‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is now available to own on Blu-Ray & DVD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment.