Sunday 1 December 2013

Review: Saving Mr Banks (second-pass)

World of Blackout Film Review

Saving Mr Banks Poster

Saving Mr. Banks (second-pass)
Cert: PG / 125 mins / Dir. John Lee Hancock

(You can read my first review of Saving Mr Banks here)

Watching the film for a second time is a fascinating experience. For one thing, you get to focus more fully on Emma Thompson's magnificent performance as P.L.Travers, being able to apply the full scope of the film's 1906 timeline to Thompson's 1961-era performance, right from the beginning. There are certain nuances which, although by no means hidden when viewed for the first time, carry more weight when you already know of all the baggage she insists on carrying. It also makes the unravelling of her childhood a more staid affair. Although there's initially a sweetness to the scenes between Colin Farrell and Annie Buckley, we know that all of the gags are in the 1961 Los Angeles thread, and as an audience we're as powerless to stop the downfall of Farrell's Travers Goff as the attendees of the Town Fair, looking on in horror as he slurs a speech then topples off the stage.

But for all the familiarity of the plot, the execution is just as powerful upon re-watching, and the final half hour is every bit as uplifting. Although I think you won't lose too much by watching this on DVD, there is a remarkable parallel in being in a cinema audience and watching Travers, Disney and the L.A. Premiere audience as they view the film for the first time. Clips of the actual Mary Poppins film are used sparingly*1, so as not to distract from the reactions it's evoking in the Grauman Chinese Theatre.

After last weekend's Doctor Who and Kennedy events, it occurred to me that 2013 is an odd time to release this, given that next year is the 50th anniversary of Mary Poppins. Then after about a second's thought, it also occurred to me that by the time of that anniversary, both of these (Mary Poppins remastered, no doubt) will be in retail-friendly DVD and BluRay formats. Gotta love Disney.

All I can tell you is that you should see Saving Mr Banks as soon as you can, and that if you aren't moved by it on some level then you're probably not human.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Yes it is.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Yes I did.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Yes it does.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It's cold, dark and wet out there, but this film is worth leaving the house for, yes.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I will, yes.

Will I watch it again?
Probably not until it hits DVD now, but yes.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
You've got to feel sorry for Paul Giamatti, haven't you? In 1961 he's a limo-driver for a studio, and two years later he's worked his way up to making his own movies! Then, on his first day's filming, something goes a bit wrong on set and the Secret Service are commandeering his footage. No wonder he gave up, after that.
It's a shit business.

*1 In a sort of 'well, of course we've got the rights, but that's not what you're here for' type of way.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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