Saving Mr Banks - Good self-congratulating story - 3.5 stars

Walt Disney was known for be an exceptional showman and promoter. The company that he founded seems to continue this heritage in the film, Saving Mr Banks.  

The film takes us on a journey, back and forth through time to the life of PL Travers, author of Mary Poppins and the twenty year pursuit of Walt Disney to allow her book to be made into a motion picture.

A battle of wills work throughout the story of Travers and her disdain for Disney and all he represents and Walt (As his staff gets to call him) and his tenacious desire to make the film.

Storyline: 4 stars

The heart of the story is intriguing, even though a bit revisionist history. I had to fight the judgement of the Disney corporation's opportunity to cross promote all things in their organisation. Once you get past this element, the back story of Mrs. Travers life is interesting and interwoven well with the modern experience of selling something that is so near to her heart. 

Visual Effects: 3 stars

This is not a film for CGI effects, but the John Lee Hancock is convincing of his portrayal of 1960's Hollywood. All of the props and scenery of this portion of the film were managed to great detail. 

Living in Australia, it is disappointing that they could not have filmed the Australian sequences here. The birds, trees and landscape were all wrong. Also, the only inclusion of a kangaroo was on a leash in a bazaar. So, for me this was a miss

Direction & Acting: 5 stars

Emma Thompson was excellent in this role, except she was so good, I never came to a point of sympathising with her character. I think the inclusion of the Ralph, the limo driver, was to humanise the PL Travers character. Based on most readings, there was not too many redeeming characteristics of the author. 

Tom Hanks was believable as Walt Disney, but nothing earth shattering about the role. 

Where I will complement the film is on the direction. Hooker did an exceptional job of interweaving the two story lines of the past and present. For the story to have its core and unappealing character like Travers, Hooker surrounded her with humanity to bring the audience along on a magical journey. 
Family component: 3 stars

I went to this film with my eight year old. There was nothing objectionable about the film, but I think some of the themes were adult in nature. The scenes of alcohol abuse and death are difficult to see, but not scary. No objections for children, but may be a bit boring for them.   

God component: 2 stars

Perseverance, forgiveness and family are at the heart of this story. Knowing the backgrounds of belief of Disney and Travers, there would not be a Christian element to their stories. A statue of the Buddha makes it into the film a few times, but no religious elements influence the story line. 

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

The direction and acting save the film. Also, it is an entertaining and captivating story, once you get past the Disney organisation slapping themselves on the back. 

Written by Russell W Matthews @ Russelling Reviews