Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers. The supporting cast includes the likes of Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell and Jason Schwartzman, among others. As we have come to expect, Tom Hanks gives a great performance here. But surprisingly, Emma Thompson outdoes him, giving an exceptional one. At first, her “hard as nails” personality and snappy attitude will annoy the living heck out of you. But once the peppy folks at Disney get her out of her shell, she loosens up. Thompson’s acting abilities are on full display, as she demands your attention. Hanks does a wonderful job mimicking the great Walt Disney. He has a strong, but sensitive aura about him. Giamatti brings certain light to the film, as well as Travers herself. I particularly enjoyed every moment he was on screen. Colin Farrell is the main star in the flashback sequences. These scenes tie the story together. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of them as I thought it disrupted everything that was going on in the current moment. However, these scenes were necessary as far as the plot goes. I was surprisingly shocked at how much the film touched me in the latter stages. This is one thing I can’t deny. It tugs at your heartstrings in the end, adding some much needed emotion.
Saving Mr. Banks does a decent job of capturing snippets of the Disney charm, with several easter eggs scattered throughout along with old Disney movie posters and figures in Walt’s office.We also see parts of Disney World as Walt and Travers stroll through during a chat. Even though this film has a talented cast who give strong performances and a charming story, it falls short in other vicinities. For one, it simply lacks sheer entertainment value. It’s not the most enjoyable movie to watch because there’s not much to get excited about. Travers doesn’t want a film adaption made from her book, so it’s a constant struggle between her and Mr. Disney. She’s in it for the money and the money alone. It’s nice to see her eventually come around towards the end, but I can’t deny the fact that the movie can be slightly boring. Secondly, the script is nothing special. Don’t expect any clever or witty dialogue here. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s nothing to write home about. Lastly, the pacing is an issue. This is one of those movies you’ll have to exercise patience with. It takes a while for it to gain a head of steam. Even when it does, it’s a scattered affair, especially when you take into account the flashbacks. It’s simply disjointed. Oh, and the movie is simply too darn long!
Okay, Saving Mr. Banks has its pros and cons. You can’t refute the fact that the film has some glaring flaws and inconsistencies. If not for the strong performances, Disney charm and surprising emotional tug, this movie would be pretty terrible. As far as movie fundamentals go, it just doesn’t hit on all cylinders. However, Saving Mr. Banks is still a mildly enjoyable tale for those interested in P.L. Travers, her story and Mary Poppins fans.
3 out of 5
The film is pretty clean for the most part. There are a couple curses. We see Mr. Disney put out a cigar in one scene. No sexual content whatsoever. There’s not much spirituality or anything to do with God. It’s perfectly acceptable for children and Christians to watch.