One of my favorite places in the world is Legends Plaza on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. The first time I visited the studio lot, I had my picture taken right next to the famous "Partners" statue by sculptor Blaine Gibson. There are five versions of the statue, and visitors to Disney Parks know it well - a perfect vision of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, looking proudly in the distance, perhaps at what's been accomplished, but more intriguingly at what is yet to come. When I saw the latest catalog for Hallmark's Keepsake Ornaments (a tradition in our family) ahead of the annual July release, many items caught my eye, but one stood out - a version of "Partners" set for release this fall.
"They have every Disney Golden Book ever made. I had that one... and that one... and this one right here." Those were the thoughts running through my head last month as I browsed a selection of books held within The Walt Disney Archives in Burbank, California. Just a few weeks prior, when I learned (and later announced) that I'd be flying out to Los Angeles to meet up with the Disney crew for a variety of projects (a trip that Disney paid for in full), I'd visited my own archives, specifically, a silver tote in my garage that holds a variety of keepsakes from the earliest years of my life. Mickey Mouse and his friends were a huge part of my life back then (pictures here), and now they are again, as I raise my daughters... and continue my own adventures in media. To think that a little kid that was making Mickey Mouse thumbprint art in the 1970s would be exploring the heart of the Disney empire in 2014... it's still completely hard to wrap my head around.
The gestation of a film from paper to screen is often an interesting one, and in the case of any work that's "Based on a True Story," the parallels between reality and creative liberty can become the subject of scrutiny. In the case of a film like SAVING MR. BANKS, things are even more open to discussion and dissection, as the source material is the result of research and point-of-view from several angles, made even more challenging by the fact that many of the subjects are no longer around to offer their input. The result is a delightful and fascinating (if not entirely accurate) film that focuses on one period within the legendary career of Walt Disney - the end of his twenty-year pursuit of author P.L. Travers in hopes of bringing her character, MARY POPPINS, to the big screen. Out this week on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD, the folks at Walt Disney Studios sent a copy here for review, and now I'm throwing down some virtual ink on it.