Not terribly long ago I watched Saving Mr. Banks which retold the story of how Walt Disney got P. L. Travers to let him make a movie based on her book Mary Poppins. I honestly never saw Mary Poppins, though I knew of the character and fondly remember a Simpsons parody of her. Travers hated the film, though it did extremely well with critics. So after seeing it, do I side with Travers or not?
The plot is based on the first book, where the Banks family has lost yet another Nanny who can’t stand taking care of the children. The father Mr. Banks doesn’t spend much time with his son or daughter, and gets frustrated when things are out of order. Without a nanny, his children are causing a bit of chaos (for him anyway),so he looks for one right away.
The new nanny is Mary Poppins, who amazes the children with unexplained magic, and a cheery but firm attitude. She causes the whole household to sing and be almost overly-merry, except for the father who doesn’t quite get it.
I can honestly see why Travers hated the film, as a lot of the plot is drawn-out by silly songs and dances. Why I really enjoyed Let’s Go Fly a Kite and others, a lot of them didn’t impress me terribly much. I have to admit that meshing real actors with cartoon in certain parts of the story was probably astonishing back in 1964 though it’s not quite as amazing half a century later. I liked it a lot more than Travers, but it’s not that close of a fondness people had for it in the 1960s.