An excerpt from my script review for Saving Mr. Banks which will be available 02/22/16:
2.) Plot Stability
There are two storylines.
The primary being Walt Disney trying to convince Pamela Travers that he won’t mess up the story of Mary Poppins, something she holds dear.
The secondary story is meant to explain “why” this story is so special to her.
In theory, this is a great idea, but unfortunately, the “why” falls flat in the end.
The flashbacks feel clunky, and it’s unclear why we see so much of Pamela’s father being a fun guy only to rush the drinking problem that ruins him, and the actual aunt Mary Poppins is based on.
Was it all true? Maybe, but I can’t help but argue that the same effect could be achieved by the overarching lesson Pamela struggles to impress upon Walt, that Mary Poppins is there to save Mr. Banks, not the children.
It’s the conclusion to the story anyway, and by focusing on what people are there to see (Disney lore), Pamela’s past becomes more subtle (instead of forcing a young girl face to face with her dead and bloody father).
Were the flashbacks terrible? No, but I admit there was little excitement on my part when they showed up, and again, it’s as if the author started them without a clear picture of where they were meant to go.
Aside from, “Here’s a walk down memory lane, Mrs. Travers!”
I did enjoy how Pamela had little option, financially, but to accept Walt Disney’s offer. She doesn’t want to do it, but has to. That makes for good drama.
As much as she won’t say yes, Walt on the other hand, can’t let her say no. More drama.
Also enjoyable how she tried to sabotage the project whenever possible. Almost as if her integrity will eventually win out. (But again, was it integrity, or plain stubbornness?)
Page 89 – Just as Pamela’s beginning to come around, we have a “dark moment of the penguins” where she up and leaves, finding out there’s animation. (Oh NO!) I was worried things were wrapping up to quickly.
Lastly, and probably goes back to my initial argument, I was glad they mentioned the Bird Woman, and Pamela requiring she be included in the film. The beauty of who that character is, and what helping her represents, is very powerful.
Pamela’s reasons for including scenes like this in the present, made more sense than all the flashbacks.
Was also glad they played/acted out Let’s Go Fly a Kite, which is still the best part of the movie (and now understood was meant to be).
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