Personally, I was expecting to see more of the 30 year struggle of the "30 year struggle Walt had to bring PL Travers tales of Mary Poppins to the screen" that the synopsis of the movie suggested. Plus, with the shooting of the movie suspiciously completed a long time ago, allowing for a very long post-production schedule, I figured that it was going to shock and awe us by making Hanks look like a younger Walt for any 1930s or 40s set timeline scenes, which I was anticipating seeing.
I was sold on Hanks as Walt from his announcement, and figured there couldn't be anyone else that might be able to inhabit such an iconic man's character and come out from his shadow to deliver an authentic portrayal. However, I'm very disappointed in the final result: Hanks' Walt is just that: Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Never does Woody the Cowboy's voice totally transform into Disney's, and even the drawl comes and goes.
Then there's the timing of events: looks here like the entire 30-year history of Walt attempting to make peace with Travers and allow him to make the film has been quashed down to a few-year period: they are seemingly meeting for the first time in what looks like the late 50s or early 60s (with Babes In Toyland in production).
The period detail is authentic, if not always correct, and they do seem to have nailed the 60s office look of the Disney Studios, which you would hope for given the amount of images and documentation they had - although his office isn't exactly like the many photos of it, which is odd. Not sure if there was ever a Walt Disney Productions sign like that outside the front offices either...that wall kind of structure was a more recent thing done in the 1980s (I thought).
I'm quite liking the Shermans, but with Richard still around you know they had to get that right so he wouldn't sue! The same goes for Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews...they're not seen here but I do hope we see them in the movie, or else this is going to be even more limited in scope. I just hope it doesn't rush through the actual shooting or end with the set-up for "shot one, take one".
The title I'd guessed at when it was announced, figuring that Walt would turn to someone during the shoot and say, "Well, I guess that's what it's all about, huh? Saving Mr Banks", which is what I've often thought about the Mary Poppins film when I've seen it again in adulthood: it's not about helping the kids to behave at all, but about Mary Poppins' emotional rescue of their father, and perhaps a child that she might have failed many years before (reading much too much into it!).
Here it's actually Travers that makes that point, although it's the same one. Her interfering during the production is evident, too, and it's here that the film's "battle of wits" looks like it's going to focus upon. I've a feeling Walt is going to end up being "more involved" than he was: once he had the rights then he pretty much left things to his trusted staff of Bill Walsh, the Shermans and others, although here it looks like he's going to have to step in a few times more (I also spotted a Walt caricature that looks like Walt, not Hanks-as-Walt, which they could have Hanked up a bit).
I did like the recreation of late 50s/early 60s Disneyland, with the original frontage (either a redressing of the actual park, a new set or most likely a combination of new set and CG), although the assertion of "who else gets to go to Disneyland with Walt Disney himself" sounds a little isolated to this experience when it's well known he would often take high-profile guests around the park, such as John and Hayley Mills, who had been there with him some years earlier.
Lastly (for now!), "Based on the Untold True Story?" - is that a hint at Travers' own backstory? It must be, since the making of Poppins is well documented, not least by being able to hear a good hour or more of her story meetings with the Shermans on the 40th anniversary CD set.
Without the scope and depth I was hoping for here, I'm concerned that this is going to be *too* light and frothy, like a Disney-fied version of the making of Psycho that was supposed to be in Hitchcock (although that film failed to tell the true story, too). I had high-hopes for this, but feel they've been dashed. Hopefully some more will start to come out to make me a little more excited for it again.
I'll see Saving Mr Banks, but so much of its artistic and creative success rests on Hanks' portrayal of Walt...and I just don't think he's nailed it as well as I had hoped and, to be honest, thought he would.