"Saving Mr. Banks" is one of those rare movies that can make you feel like you're flying a kite. Like kite-flying, it's just hard not to enjoy it.
It helps to have Tom Hanks, one of cinema's most enjoyable leading men, playing Walt Disney, one of history's most enjoyable leading men. Would it be too much to say that Tom Hanks's "SMB" performance is pretty much the human manifestation of flying a kite?
Perhaps, but it isn't too much to say that Tom Hanks deserves his own theme park. Or at least it wasn’t too much for us to bring up the idea with Hanks's "SMB" co-stars Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman & B.J. Novak.
Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the woman who wrote the Mary Poppins books that inspired Disney's 1964's ground-breaking, Oscar-winning classic. Disney negotiated with prickly Ms. Travers for some 20 years before he flew her out to the Walt Disney Animation Studios to "help" consult with screenwriter Don DaGradi (Whitford) and song writing brothers Richard M. (Schwartzman) and Robert B. Sherman (Novak). Ferrell appears in flashback as Travers's alcoholic dreamer of a dad (what a stretch, right?).
While the collaboration between Travers and Disney's team was far from joyous, our interviews with the cast were like a trip to Tom Hanks-Land. Since Hanks couldn't be there, we decided to honor him by asking everyone what would be the first ride they'd visit at Tom Hanks-Land, what's the second happiest place on earth, and which Disney character would be the best hang.
Their answers, dare we say, are even more enjoyable than flying a kite.
"Saving Mr. Banks" opens in limited theaters today and expands nationally on Dec. 20.
See the theatrical trailer for "Saving Mr. Banks":