Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2014
At its most basic, this is the story of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), after 20 years of finagling, convinced crusty Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (a magical Emma Thompson) to let him make a movie from her popular books. The first of two interleaved plots takes place in 1961, when Uncle Walt flew the very British and highly reluctant Travers to Los Angeles (culture clash!) in a last desperate attempt to get her on board. The second flashes back to her childhood in Australia and very movingly explains her attachment to her characters, her stubbornness and, incidentally, this movie’s title. Colin Farrell plays her dad. The problem was that Travers didn’t want her story and characters, well, Disnified. Didn’t want any animated penguins—or for that matter any songs. And she hated Dick Van Dyke. I enjoyed this sweet movie despite my innate and well-grounded mistrust of the Mouse House, but not for a minute did I believe this sentimentalized, sanitized and “imagineered” bit of historical revisionism was how things really went down. Truth be told, she capitulated because she was nearly broke. She didn’t like the finished film, and probably wouldn’t like this one either.
Japanese title: Walt Disney no Yakusoku. (125 min)