“It’s commonly believed that if you show how something magical is produced, all of the magic is gone. So could it be possible that in giving a picture of how Mary Poppins came to be a beloved figure of the silver screen that she could be even more magical than before? Surprisingly yes. Well, it’s not a surprise that the magic of Disney is capable of such a feat, but it is still a rather counterintuitive thought.
I was never that big on Mary Poppins, but I know she is incredibly special to some people. I did watch the movie many times as a kid, and I had a record with some of the soundtrack that I often played. I did see the show on Broadway a couple years ago, not really out of my own interest, but because the friend I was treating was OBSESSED with her. Best part about the stage show, Bert’s tap dance on the ceiling. Holy \m/ incredibe. Said friend was careful not to clue me in ahead of time so I went nuts when I was surprised with it. Gavin Lee had recently returned to the role, and that man is just incredible. But I digress. The point I was rapidly tap dancing away from is that I’m not much a Mary Poppins fan. However, we do know that I am very much a Disney kid, and that’s all that matters here.
This is an example where the journey is certainly more important than the destination. We all knew that eventuall P.L. Travers was going to give Walt Disney the rights to make Mary Poppins (unless we fell into a Back to the Future-esque alternate timeline and no one informed me…I should see if I have a shiny new truck). This was about the characters, and the cheery Walt trying to wear down the surly Mrs Travers.
Usually when presented with such an unhappy and uptight character like Mrs Travers, I can’t help but feel sorry for them on some level. I don’t understand how someone can actually go thru life being so easily upset by everything in their path. That type of person can’t possibly be happy. On the flipside, they do make for interesting characters, as was the case here. And instead of just giving us an uppity old lady, we did find out a lot of her backstory and why she was the way she was. Emma Thompson was captivating and brilliant. Mrs Travers character should have made her unlikeable, but instead I always wanted to see what she’d say or do next.
Oh and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney was one of the most wonderful portrayals of anyone I have ever seen. It seems so strange that as big a figure as Uncle Walt was that this is the first time he’s ever been a major character in a film. Can we please sign off on the biopic starring Hanks? Everyone has an idea of what the man behind the mouse must have been, and Hanks fulfilled mine perfectly. So much joy and childlike wonder.
Shout outs to Paul Giamatti and Colin Farrell as well. Giamatic was Mrs Travers’ always cheerful chauffeur, and proved an excellent foil to her sourpuss moods. In flashback sequences, Farrell was beyond charming as her father. I love that this once Hollywood bad boy has redeemed himself, and took on a role that would have been completely uncharacteristic and unexpected of the actor he was ten years ago. This part looked good on him.
It was just so exciting getting a behind the scenes look at such an iconic film from such an extraordinary era. I’m sure most of it was fabricated, but I really don’t care. What matters is that it preserved and extended the magic of the house of mouse.
Saving Mr Banks – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/