Monday, March 17, 2014

REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks on Blu-ray plus GIVEAWAY!

For all of you who are fans of Mary Poppins or anyone who is a "Dizgeek" or history buff, Saving Mr. Banks is a must-see film. For those who haven't yet seen it, travel back in time to Walt Disney Studios, where Walt (played by Tom Hanks) is determined to get the production rights to P.L. Travers' (played by Emma Thompson) story of Mary Poppins.

Hanks and Thompson as Disney and Travers. Image © Disney

Mrs. Travers is none too persuaded to let go of her precious characters so easily, and the addition of songs written by the Sherman Brothers (played by BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman) and animation has her ready to board a plane back to England.

Novak and Schwartzman as the Sherman Brothers. Image © Disney

Throughout the film, we are treated to an inside look at the life of P.L. Travers, and her attachment to her father, Travers Goff (played by Colin Farrell), who has a tragic alcohol addiction that is gradually killing him, and on whom her character of Mr. Banks is based.

Annie Rose Buckley as Ginty and Colin Farrell as Travers Goff. Image © Disney.

Mrs. Travers (who, after her father's death, drops her moniker "Ginty" and takes his first name as her surname) isn't keen on their portrayal of Mr. Banks as well as Mary Poppins herself being so lighthearted and charming. She insists on having all discussions about the film recorded--which, interestingly enough, I had the chance to listen to some of her original recordings while on my trip to L.A. back in February! More on that later this week!

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Image © Disney.

Tom Hanks' portrayal of Walt Disney was flawless. Watching him, you really feel the weight of Disney's commitment to his films as well as his jovial personality. The attention to detail with the film is outstanding.

Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers. Image © Disney.

I also loved Emma Thompson as Pamela Travers. If anyone could play a haughty British woman, it's Emma Thompson! She manages to strike the perfect balance between pointed disgust with Disney's antics and nostalgic sadness as she remembers her childhood. Speaking of sadness, ladies make sure you have tissues at the ready! Many of my blogger friends and I discussed it as being one of those "ugly cry" movies. It's heartbreaking, and to get the audience to feel so deeply for someone as cold as P.L. Travers is portrayed is a triumph.

Behind the scenes on set. Image © Disney.

The special features included on the Blu-ray, while minimal, are also a little tear-jerking, but that could just be because I got to tour the very same studio lot that on which the film was made. That, and I'm a huge sap. The featurette "The Walt Disney Studios: From Poppins To The Present" takes viewers on a bit of the same tour, showing off the animator offices Disney designed himself to make sure they had the proper light, as well as several points of interest on the lot. It is led by Director John Lee Hancock and features a special appearance by Richard Sherman himself. There is also a fun short video of Mr. Sherman leading the cast and crew in a rousing rendition of "Let's Go Fly A Kite" on their final day of filming. The film is rated PG-13 and is available for purchase tomorrow on March 18th.

Image © Disney Home Entertainment

As a special treat, I've put together a little slideshow of my photos from the awesome D23 tour of the studios, featuring some of the places used in Saving Mr. Banks, as well as many of the locations discussed in the bonus featurette on the Blu-ray, led by our awesome tour guide and D23 Marketing Manager Jeffrey Epstein, seen in the second pic (thanks Jeffrey!). And, of course, I set it to "Let's Go Fly A Kite"!

Disney Studios Tour Feb 2014 by Slidely Slideshow

Finally, to close out my post, my friends at Disney Home Entertainment are providing a copy of Saving Mr. Banks on Blu-ray to give away to one of my lucky readers! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and be sure to check out the linky at the bottom for more chances to win from other bloggers on the trip! The contest will run until this Friday, March 21, at midnight. Please see the Giveaway T&C tab for more information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE: My friends at Disney just sent over these fun Saving Mr. Banks-inspired recipes! Enjoy!

Download Walt Disney’s Inspiring Recipes

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the Blu-ray for review purposes, as well as a trip to L.A. to cover the release and relevant displays. Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.

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