Daniel Van Sickle
Before I viewed the Disney film, “Saving Mr. Banks,” my prediction of it was “A curmudgeonly, middle-aged woman meets a chintz showman.” Starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and hinting that there was some conflict in it, I figured I would give the film a try.
My previous perception of Walt Disney wasn’t all that rosy, as he has a known reputation for abusing employees, on top of being a visionary. However, the biggest thing that kept me from watching this film was the preconception that it would be a nice and cheery movie with lots of smiles and cheeky dialogue. Disney’s films are usually produced as such.
If you go in thinking that it’s going to be a typical Disney film, you may find yourself wrong and a wreck after watching. The movie is based on a true story and therefore contains more of the complexity of life than a typical Disney film with just an antagonist and a protagonist and good and evil.
This is not a story for children. The storyline is as troubling as it is heartwarming and funny. The movie depicts not only the flaws in Mrs. Travers, despite her genius in creating the story of Mary Poppins, but those of Walt Disney as well. This is amazing, since it is created by his company, one in which has the reputation of putting sugar and fairy dust over everything.
In effect, the film sheds some light on why Walt Disney was so fixed on creating fairytales in general, including Mary Poppins. It also explains why Disney, as a company, is more invested in being fantastical and cute than presenting a reflection of life.
Disney can be seen as a lot like DC Comics as opposed to Marvel Comics, which often has darker, more complex and older audiences. The movie is an argument between depicting things as they are versus how they should be or how we want it.
Although I have never read the story, the Mary Poppins book seems to be originally a bit darker than the movie. The story background presented in the movie is tragic.
Although the ending to “Saving Mr. Banks” isn’t exactly a surprise, the way the story develops is interesting and there are many striking scenes in the film. Mrs. Travers’ scenes with her father and how dorky and over the top Disney’s greeting of Mrs. Travers is will remain with you some time after the film ends.
I would recommend “Saving Mr. Banks” to those who like serious, introspective and philosophical films. Even some that may not find it their normal viewing fare will be surprised by how much they like it. It really is a touching and balanced film.
Daniel Van Sickle is a senior majoring in Business Administration. You may email him at Daniel.VanSickle@sckans.edu.