Wednesday, December 25, 2013
In Which I Review Saving Mr. Banks
Iconic. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Mary Poppins. The 1964 Disney movie invokes a sort of a painful nostalgia for my lost childhood. I don't know exactly when I first saw the movie, but I know I was young, somewhere between five and seven. My mom rented the movie at the library, had my aunt rip a version of it onto a VHS that also held such other classics like the Wizard of Oz, The Sword in the Stone, and Robin Hood. My copy still exists, buried in the movie closet somewhere, grainy and patchy, worn out after multiple views. It should come as no surprise that the Disney corporation and I have a deep history. A lover of all things magical, Mary Poppins was enchanting. The songs, the message, the character herself--at once caustic and encouraging--were endearing. It has come down through the ages as one of the great classics. When this movie was announced, I was instantly intrigued. Despite being a lover of the film, I've never read the book upon which it is based. I knew very little of the somewhat competitive history between Walt Disney and P.L Travers, author and creator of Mary Poppins. But the trailer to the film made the story seem as special as the final Disney product.
Go see it. Right now. It was the perfect Christmas movie, without actually being about Christmas.
The movie has a lot of revolving door characters who shine brightly, though nowhere as luminous as Hanks and Thompson. And while I think some more bitter critics might claim that this film is an exercise in Disney re-promoting itself by trotting out an absolute staple and classic of its company name, it is nevertheless endearing and sweet and uplifting. And as a lover of all things Disney, I didn't find it pompous or greedy. I found it nostalgic and wholly wonderful.