As a former employee of Walmart, watching this movie gave me vague flashbacks to those awful corporate brainwashing “orientation” videos we were forced to watch in our first few days on the job that basically informed us that A: unions are the devil and will kill your children, and B: Sam Walton was the greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth sans Jesus.
If I had to re-write that sentence for this movie, the makers of this movie want you to remember two things, A: that P.L Travers was a mean bitch with daddy issues who nearly ruined your favorite childhood movie, and B: Walt Disney was the greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth, probably including Jesus.
The saving graces of this movie are the actors. Hanks is the only person who could play Walt Disney, that is the idealized Disney version of him. And Emma Thompson is a hoot as Travers, in what is sadly, mostly a cinematic hit piece on a woman who dared have the gall to want to have some input into her own deeply personal creative work of art.
Thompson has the biggest laughs of the movie as she snaps on people left and right and calls them blithering idiots. Colin Ferrell also does a fine job in the flashback as Travers father.
Aesthetically this is a very fine film, morally and creatively, I was quite bothered by it. Maybe it’s because I was never a huge Marry Poppins fan growing up, (not that I disliked it) and a religious reverence for the Disney movie version of that is put forth like a prerequisite for watching this.
Those outside that bubble see this for what it is, an overly preachy libel of someone who can no longer defend herself.
Saving Mr. Banks gets a two out of five: FORGETTABLE.