Saving Mr Banks, seen in theaters 20 Dec
As I sometimes do, I read the book this movie was based on shortly after I saw it. This movie was based on the making of a movie which was based on another book! So I watched Saving Mr. Banks, then I read the biography, Mary Poppins She Wrote. Next I read Mary Poppins, and watched the movie, Mary Poppins.
So, this is a review of all four items. First, Saving Mr. Banks. VERY GOOD movie. The actors and actresses did a great job. Yes, because this movie was based on real events, some people like to nitpick on the historical inaccuracies, if you want to know about those, just look on IMDb, people have already listed all the little movie errors. But I felt they did a good job and I felt transported back in time. The movie was very heart wrenching, so if you go, expect to shed some tears. The progress of the movie did feel a little slow in the beginning, I was slightly bored, but it picked up as the drama increased in the flashbacks.
Yes, this movie was based on real events, but it was highly dramatized. The flashbacks are almost complete fantasy. When I read the biography of Travers, I was shocked that the flashbacks were completed in the first thirty pages of the book. It’s a 416 page long novel. So yeah, most of the book is not in the movie, which is fine. The book is really like reading a historical record of all the people Travers ever met in her life, and a thorough explanation of her family tree. Maybe twenty pages of the book cover some of the Disney interaction. I think the movie got most of the material from the audio recordings that are mentioned. And the book is not at all focused on those.
The Mary Poppins book; I get why children enjoy it. I myself, found it hard to follow. It jumped around from different people’s points of view and made me dizzy. I mean, I’m reading in the point of view of a dog one sentence, then a raven, then a baby, then Mary Poppins. Stick with one person for crying out loud. But as a kid, I would never have noticed such things and would have been highly entertained.
The movie, Mary Poppins was the final part of my research. The biography told me which stories from Mary Poppins would be in the movie. There are several Mary Poppins books and each chapter is a short story. The movie took chapters from the first two books, if I remember correctly.
Now I did all this, because the trailer made it seem like Mary Poppins was based on a real person. Well, after all my research, it all boils down to a rather anti climatic answer. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, based Mary Poppins on various women and herself. At least that’s what the author of her biography deduced. (And isn’t that how all fictional characters are created?) Now the movie hints that Mary Poppins is based on Travers’ Aunt Ellie, and they don’t even make it clear the woman is Aunt Ellie, but I was able to figure out that much after I read the biography. But the book does not agree with the movie on this conclusion. Again, like I said, the movie is highly dramatized.
Basically Mary Poppins is family to Travers, like Mickey is family to Walt Disney. That is the meaning behind Walt Disney’s quote of, “She’s family, isn’t she?”
I would say, go see Saving Mr. Banks. It’s a good movie. And I’m glad they dramatized it, because otherwise it would have been ungodly boring.
One interesting note, in the movie Travers says she has no family that would miss her. I discovered in the biography she adopted a son. But the son basically disowned her when he found out he was adopted. He encountered his twin in a pub. I would have found this an interesting element to add to the movie and I’m surprised they didn’t.
Something both the book and movie avoided explaining was why Travers denied being originally from Australia. Well the author of her biography was Australian, so I’d guess she likely didn’t want to bring it to light herself and chose to exclude it from her book. But around the time Travers father was alive, it was popular for Europe to send their overflow criminals to Australia. Their prisons were too crowded. The biography author was unable to figure out the origins of Travers’ father, so I’m going to go out on a limb and conclude either he or his father were part of this forced migration. It would explain why Travers was so ashamed of it.