Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, August 25, 2014

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Oh the levels of meta. The film is about how real life events inspired and permeated a fictional story and it's adaptation, while being a flawed adaptation of real life events. Oh and in case you haven't figured out it's the fictionalized making of story behind Mary Poppins.

 How much you can enjoy the film is will largely be based on how much you can get over the fact that this is the mouse house blatantly rewriting its own history.  In real life the Mary Poppins film adaptation went down how you would expect a Hollywood "creative differences" battle to go especially in the 1950's, and by most accounts P.L. Travers hated the movie, though she mellowed with time.

See here is the thing. I'm a grown man who likes revisiting and enjoying the stuff I got a kick out of as a kid, but because as a grown man I understand, to a point anyway, things like economic competition, trademarks, fiduciary duty, corporate organizational structure, contract law and copyright. I realize that a good chunk of my childhood joy was probably built on a lot of broken promises and crushed dreams.

And that's something I have to come to terms with. My favorite animated feature is Titan A.E. Do you know how many people lost their jobs over that film?

And the movie comes close to hitting that by trying, to describe the transition between a personal literary project and a collaborative film project.  But every time it looks like Disney is going to have to buckle down and do the sort of shaddy stuff we all know he had to do as a businessman the movie backs away to cast him in a better light because in a mouse house picture Disney might as well be God, even in death Disney might as well be God.

I'm not saying Disney was a bad guy or even wasn't genuine in attempting to bring joy and whimsy to millions. Part of him was everyone's fun uncle, but dude was also a grade-a capitalist who could squeeze a dollar out of a nickle even if he had to kick a guy to do it.

To steal a line from P.L. Travers.

"The movie is very glamorous if you take it on its own. But it has very little to do with the books (reality)."

It's a good engaging movie. It makes clear what its conflict is and what the emotional stakes are. To (Movie) Travers Mary Poppins was born as a way to help her make piece with real life events and she doesn't want Disney to make light of that. And Disney wants to take a story he cherishes and bring it to the world in a way they can accept.

It's very interesting and engaging, and also enlightening in regards to the collaborative creative process... if you get beyond the idea that Disney didn't really care what Travers thought one way or the other in real life. He had the rights and was going to make that picture with or without her.

The movie has a lot of interesting characters and a lot of heart warming moments.

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