One thing you have to say for Disney: when they promote themselves, they do it in a big way. If you’re going to make a movie about Walt Disney and his efforts to make Mary Poppins, then why not assemble a massive thespian cast with America’s favorite actor Tom Hanks at the head? That’s the reasoning behind Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, which we now have a trailer for.
Tom Hanks stars as the big man himself, Walt Disney. He invites Mary Poppins author P.J. Travers (Emma Thompson) to California in a bid to bring her novel to the big screen. The trailer gives us a comprehensive overview of the story, introducing us to all the main characters and the central crux: that Walt’s vision does not quite coincide with Travers’. The trailer showcases Hanks’ considerable charm and Thompson’s dry wit, which of course conceals an emotional woman beneath. We catch momentary glimpses of Jason Schwartzman and Paul Giamatti and also learn all about how sometimes it’s the adults that need saving, not the children.
We might be inclined to view Saving Mr. Banks as one big pat-on-the-back from Disney to itself. The trailer does indeed reek of over-earnestness and romanticization, as Walt and Co. break down the resolve of Ms. Travers to find the true story of Mary Poppins. But here’s the problem: for all of that, the film actually looks pretty good.
Will Saving Mr. Banks be predictable and maudlin? Yes. But that’s what Disney thrives on; that’s what Mary Poppins is about. Disney trades on childhood, simplicity, innocence, love and glitter. It’s about the happiest place on earth. Cynically, we can say that it’s a cash grab and an attempt to further valorize Walt Disney. It also could remind us that movies are all about magic. Remarkably enough, I think that there’s room in the cinemas for that.
Saving Mr. Banks will come to theatres on December 13, just in time for Christmas. Check out the trailer below.