Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks is a heart-felt drama about the making of Walt Disney’s crowning achievement, Mary Poppins.

The story follows the author of the children’s book series, P.L. Travers as she reconciles her past memories of her father and struggles to let go of her most treasured character to theBanks01 sing-song, cheery styles of Disney. This film is absolutely brilliant. Just the history behind it and all the details that correlate to the original Mary Poppins film is mesmerizing. Saving Mr. Banks shares with the audience the very art of great story telling!

“This is what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again, and again, and again. Let me prove it to you.”

– Walt Disney, Saving Mr. Banks.

Tom Hanks portrayal of Walt Disney is inspiring. Distantly related to the great Mr. Disney, Hanks captures the essence of Disney’s childlike outlook and imaginative spirit. Playing opposite him Emma Thompson as Pamela Travers rouses audiences to frustration, love and sorrow. As P.L. Travers she infuriates as much as she moves you to tears. The story jumps from 1960’s Los Angeles to early 1900’s Australia, Travers childhood home. The light-hearted, playful tone the film carries is a harsh contrast to the heartache and heaviness of Travers childhood memories. It also features Colin Ferrell’s tragic depiction of Travers father, probably one of my favorite projects I have seen him in. The combination of brilliant editing, art direction and costume design makes for an overall enjoyable film and one audience’s can enjoy again and again.

Banks01It is important to know as an independent filmmaker to watch as many films as you can to take from and learn from what works and what doesn’t. For Saving Mr. Banks a big studio and some big names can make this look easy, but don’t be discouraged because everyone gets their start from somewhere. I would like to spotlight from this film Walt Disney himself. He was once a kid too, born to a large family in Chicago, Illinois. His father Elias Disney worked as a professional carpenter by trade and inspired his sons with grandeur stories from his work on the construction of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. In his youth Walt developed a passion for drawing, selling art to neighbors, friends and family. While attending McKinley High School in Chicago he took photography classes and contributed cartoonist to the school newspaper. He also took night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. After he served a year driving an ambulance in France during World War I, Walt Disney returned to Kansas City and with help from his brother Roy, he started his first job at Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio. It was here that he met Ub Iwerks,Banks03 another animator that would become a lifelong friend and business partner. They eventually made a deal with a local Kansas City Theater to feature their cartoons called Laugh-O-grams. These cartoons were seven-minute fairytales of live action with animation called Alice in Cartoonland.

When their studio had to file bankruptcy, Walt, Roy and Ub Iwerks left for California to start Disney Brothers Studio. It was hereBanks03 they partnered with a New York Distributer Margaret Winkler to distribute their Alice cartoons. Walt also invented the character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. After Winkler stole the rights to Oswald and most of Disney’s animators it seemed all was lost again. It was only then with his brother Roy, Iwerks and his wife Lilly that Walt Disney Produced three animated shorts featuring a new character Walt had been working on. Mickey Mouse was born. The first two shorts didn’t sell, but once synchronized sound was put to the third short with Walt’s voice as Mickey’s, Steamboat Willie was a sensation. With determination and undeniable talent the world is our playground.

“I hope we'll never lose sight of one thing--that it was all started by a mouse.”

- Walt Elias Disney


 

DiSantisPicLauren DeSantis fascination with film started as soon as she learned to work a VCR when she watched and re-watched, The Lion King at the age of 8. She holds a Bachelors degree in Theater Arts from Cal State Fullerton. It was here Lauren focused her interests in special effects makeup under the study of Abel Zeballos. She has since worked closely with Bloodline Films and Libby Blood Films as lead special effect makeup artist/designer, assistant art director and lead costume designer.

Lauren currently is working on her first novel as well as in pre-production for an upcoming feature film that will be produced through Bloodline Films. Watch for more articles from her in future issues of SVN.