One of the few places Saving Mr. Banks is getting negative buzz is in Harlan Ellison’s living room. Because, says he, somebody’s got to tell the truth.
It’s not that the movie lacks entertainment value. Despite pronouncing the title like he’s spitting out the taste of corked wine, Harlan says the movie’s well-made and Emma Thompson’s performance breathtaking – “She blows everybody off the screen.”
What he dislikes is that it’s just a “refurbishing of Walt Disney’s godlike image that he spent his entire life creating” and that “The movie is bullshit from one end to the other.” Because no matter what it says on the screen about the adaptation of her novel Mary Poppins, “P.L. Travers went to her grave despising the movie.”
He also defends Travers from any implied criticism about holding Disney at bay for 20 years before selling the rights by reminding listeners about his own history of defending his work against misinterpretation by studios and producers. (And unmentioned here, in some of the worst cases assigning his screen credit to Cordwainer Bird.)