Blackouts, Christmas and Saving Mr. Banks!

Hey all,

Haven’t been able to post for a while but a belated ‘Merry Christmas’ to everyone! Particularly those who take the time to read my humble blog, a huge ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart! There were several reasons I haven’t been able to post anything for a while, the biggest one being that we experienced a major blackout in Toronto (curious? read about it here). While for some people it lasted a mere few hours, for us, it lasted six days (YUP!), basically turning our house into an icebox. Long story short, our Christmas was basically spent at a Hotel – so no Christmas tree and breaking the eggnog this year:(

However, it wasn’t all bad though – we did manage to catch the last show of Saving Mr.Banks after the kids fell asleep (trust a movie to make a winded week slightly better). Managed to read the script a while back and have been following it ever since, so it was a treat to see how those words on the page turned into onscreen magic. The backgrounds, visuals and casting were fantastic – Tom Hanks did an excellent job as the effervescent animation giant Walt Disney and Emma Thompson did justice to the fairly complicated character and anti-hero, PL Travers.

Some quick notables:
• The transitions from past to present were seamless (even in the script, aka. the term FLASHBACK was not used even though there were several). Writer Kelly Marcel did a fantastic job making this happen.

• PL Travers (played By Emma Thompson) is an intriguing, multi-layered protagonist. While at first glance her negativity does come off quite irritating (which in real life she apparently was – even Emma Thompson had a hard time listening to her old interviews), her backstory and her relationship with Walt thaws her enough to make us  – if not, root for her, at least understand and sympathize with her.

• While some parts might seem saccharine, the dialogue was still very spot-on and complemented the story with some darker themes – touching on circumstances of alcoholism, poverty, neglect and ultimately tragedy as well.  So whether light and magic at Disney land prevails is a journey worth seeing and exploring.

• The subplots were all supported by excellent well-developed characters. Specific ones of note: young Ginty with her father (played by the charming Annie Rose Buckley and Colin Farrell), PL and Walt (the main subplot – formidable giants, powerful in their own right who actually still manage to have something in common despite their differences), PL and Ralph (played by the wonderful Paul Giamatti) a character it turns out was added in later drafts to give PL some added heart and humanity (certainly a good thing considering how annoying PL’s character would get otherwise), the incredibly talented Sherman Brothers (who also bring some wonderful comic relief to the story when it needs) –  and finally something not mentioned as much – the relationship between Ginty and her brokenhearted mother (played by newcomer Ruth Wilson) a subplot in my opinion, almost as powerful and complicated as Ginty with her father.

• While some may crib about historical and character accuracies, namely the ending which I am not going to spoil, I tend to focus more on the effect the characters had on the story and me – and certain parts were emotional enough to bring tears into my eyes… without leaving me too depressed (considering everything else this week).

To conclude, ‘Mary Poppins’ was also one of my first early childhood forays, a classic I have nothing but fond memories of  – so for those fans of the 1964 original, this movie is not only great in shedding light on the events behind it, but will also make you rethink the original – in a good way. So either way – certainly worth heading into theatres to watch.

Next week: New Year and resolutions!

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