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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Yavin, Dec 20, 2013.
3.5 out of 5.
Here's my full review.
Quick review: I was very disappointed in this. I found it too saccharin, too changed from the real story and not necessarily sturdy. Bland and fairly 'eh' would be my catchphrase.
Cathy and I loved it. Excellent performances all around! Emma Thompson will surely get nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. (Hank's Best Actor nomination will be for his performance in 'Captain Phillips'.)
The Booth Bijou gives 'Saving Mr. Banks' 4.5 out of 5 stars! Can't wait to share this with our friends in the Garage Theater! We just might have to make 'Mary Poppins' the "B movie" that night!
I don't really know why this film was made, I found myself pretty bored by it all. I could never really gain a foothold into the character of PL Travers (Emma Thompson), and how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) had to do some cajoling to get the Mary Poppins movie made. Ultimately, a yawner, a swing and a miss.
I give it 2 stars, or a grade of C.
I have mixed opinions about this film as well....
Overall, it's a decent film. Superb performances by Emma and Tom Hanks. I am convinced Tom Hanks is the greatest actor of our generation. That scene in the London flat where Walt talks to PL Travers about his childhood is memorable.
That being said...
The first problem with the film is that it's not entirely factual. Too many liberties that were taken in the story, from what I was reading -- including the visit Walt made to Travers in London. That never happened.
The second thing that I thought really drags the story down is the background sequences on Travers and her alcoholic father. However, that being said, I understand the necessity of telling that story (if most of it is really true) as it gives background on why Travers is the way she is. It also reveals the person who was the inspiration for the Mary Poppins character.
The best part of this film is Paul Giamatti as the driver. Another one of the very best actors of our generation.
I agree with Patrick on his grading, though I might give it a C+
I initially had the same reaction to the backstory as you did, Ron. I've seen too many movies of late where we keep bouncing back and forth between two separate story threads (JULIE AND JULIA, BLUE JASMINE, HITCHCOCK, etc.). However, as the movie progressed and the backstory became more pertinent to the story being told in 1961, I went with it.
And I have no problem with it not being entirely factual (Walt never met Mrs. Travers at Disneyland either) as long as the spirit of the truth shines through. However, I'm not sure that's the case either, as Mrs. Travers never DID come around to accepting Disney's adaptation of her books.
All in all I enjoyed the film immensely, however loose with the facts they may have been. I enjoyed it probably quite a bit more than last year's HITCHCOCK.
Here's a complaint I would only voice on the Home Theater Forum: At the Grauman's Chinese Premiere, they got several things wrong: They showed the curtain opening to a white screen behind it (you never saw an unilluminated screen in such a prestigious venue!), there was no Buena Vista fanfare before the feature started, and the POPPINS clips were not in strict chronological sequence. Not to mention the fact that the premiere began with a program devoted to Walt's Cal Arts school.
I'm almost resigned to...Shit needs made up, to get made in the first place.We can point to movies in every decade that aren't even 10% of the original truth. Maybe the ending of "only Disney and the public" are happy with end result wouldn't make the happy feely Christmas movie...
I loved it...Hanks and Thompson were captivating. Excellent.
Whenever a film is "based on a true story", I always go in knowing that they mean "loosely based on a true story!" A film that strictly follows historical facts is called a documentary. 'Saving Mr. Banks' is billed as an entertaining movie, not as a documentary.
My favorite film of the year is 'Captain Phillips'. It's another film that is "based on a true story" but takes liberties with the historical facts (much to the chagrin of some). I couldn't care less about it not being historically accurate. The film is EXTREMELY entertaining and riveting. I found the final 20-30 minutes to be gut-wrenchingly realistic. Hanks' performance was superlative and he'll not only get nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, I think he has a very strong chance of winning.
I could understand people's frustration if movies like 'Saving Mr. Banks' and 'Captain Phillips' were remakes of previous films. You learn to love the previous film and then can't accept the changes the filmmakers made to the remakes. THAT I understand. But I simply don't understand people being disappointed in a movie (NOT a documentary) because it's not 100% historically accurate to the actual events.
I watch movies to be entertained and THAT is the yardstick I use to measure.
Saw it and loved it, VERY moving and emotional. Here's my favorite historical inaccuracy: In the Disneyland scene, you can see the Pinocchio's Daring Journey ride, and that ride did not open until 1983!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many people, myself included, find that that the movies "based on actual events" are made more interesting by sticking to the facts. Being educated while being entertained can make for a far more powerful movie experience. But to each their own.
Very well stated.
I understand people want to be entertained.
There's just something very wrong about taking someone's personal story and changing
the facts surrounding it just to make the film more entertaining. Something tells me that
P.L. Travers, if alive today, would not be very happy about the liberties that were taken.
Perhaps someone like the real Captain Phillips could care less if the movie portrays him
as being more heroic than he was, or if the studio paid him enough that he doesn't mind
that his own story was (perhaps) radically changed.
However, I think many people would like to walk away from a film based on facts and feel
that they got the real story.
Virtually every movie that is based on a previous work (book, short story, etc.) gets altered in the filmmaking process. P.L. Travers gave the Banks four children, yet Mary Poppins the movie has them with only two. There are tens of thousands of other examples.I don't see the difference in doing that vs. altering the story for a movie that is based on real events. Both are done to make it easier to tell the story in a screenplay, or make it more entertaining, or for whatever reason.I feel it's silly to go into a movie expecting it to be 100% faithful to the book. Likewise, I NEVER expect a movie to be faithful to real events. To do so sets one up for disappointment more often than not.Mark
I have to agree with you Mark. The studios are making these films to entertain you without having to give you an accurate history lesson.
This all reminds me of another Julie Andrews classic made the year after MARY POPPINS. Needless to say, THE SOUND OF MUSIC juggled the facts of the Von Trapp Family's life story a great deal -- much more than SAVING MR. BANKS did. For one thing, to his dying day, the eldest von Trapp child, Dr. Rupert Von Trapp, would introduce himself to SOM fans by saying, "I'm Liesl."
Anyone who goes into a fictional movie expecting a documentary has only themselves to blame for that. Plus, historical accuracy doesn't always equal what is the correct thing to do dramatically. Case in point: the fictional scene with Walt going to London. If they had dropped that scene then they'd have lost the dramatic climax of the movie. I know nothing about the making of Mary Poppins and I could immediately tell that scene was an invention but it would have been idiotic to remove that scene because it's where the main characters solve their problems in a dramatically satisfying way.
If I want to know what really happened, I'll read a book or watch a documentary since, unlike a fictional movie, those things (should) deal in facts.
When I was growing up, watching any movie based on fact made me run for the encyclopedia or the library to read the real story afterward. As such, fictionalized movies were a great learning tool. It wasn't long before I discovered that there's hardly ever been a movie made that adhered to the facts without embellishment or alteration. (I hope it's not a spoiler to suggest that Moses was not the Boy Toy of Nefretiri in the Book of Exodus.)
I would think in this day and age when Google and Wikipedia are so readily available, nobody would take anything they see on the screen as absolute fact.
I wasn't at all concerned that the story as presented wasn't 100% factual. This kind of thing happens in every single movie made...show me one based on a true story where the facts are perfect. You're not going to find one.
The yardstick I used was if I was entertained and moved by the movie. That answer is yes. Do I want to see it again? Yes. Were Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks superb? Yes. Did I care about those characters at the end of the day? Yes.
If this was a documentary, then I'd be more inclined to rake it across the coals for the facts being incorrect. But here? Nope, not going to happen.
Given this recent discussion, I REALLY got a kick out of the opening text line in 'American Hustle' when we saw it today:
of this actually happened!
That's what it should say at the start of EVERY film that is based on a true story but is NOT a documentary!
I had NO idea going into the movie what was going to be real and what was going to be made-up. But 2 scenes in particular I called B.S. on without even looking it up afterwards; the Disneyland sequence, and Walt showing up in London. I also STRONGLY suspect that the Ralph character never existed. I've seen SO many movies "based on a true story" and one thing I usually take away from the film experience is the desire to look into the true story in more detail. But I usually only have that desire if the movie is really good and piqued my interest in the subject matter.