When you think of classic Disney movies, you think of good guy vs. villain with an exciting story line and a thrilling climax, which eventually ends in “Happily Ever After.” But, there is one iconic Disney movie that defies these rules. Can you name it? It’s Mary Poppins.
We might have mentioned before that Mary Poppins is our all-time FAVORITE Disney movie. We really didn’t notice this little “quirk” until a few years ago. We were watching the movie for the ump-teenth time, and Sean said, “Did you ever notice that there’s no villain in Mary Poppins?” “Huh, you’re right,” I said.
Maybe you can call Mr. Banks the villain because he wants to fire Mary Poppins, or perhaps you can call the old men at the bank the villains because they want to fire Mr. Banks, but neither of those story lines really affect the ending of the movie. Mary Poppins comes, does what she needs to do, and leaves. Perhaps because Mary Poppins is an amalgamation of several chapters of one book, no villain is needed. Whatever the case, it’s been going 51 years strong.
When Saving Mr. Banks was released in 2013 and we gained insight into the making of the movie and the often uneasy relationship between P. L. Travers and Walt Disney, did we actually come to realize that Mary Poppins does have a villain (of sorts) … two, in fact?
I refer to “villains” loosely as they are not evil, sinister characters, but rather internal demons. First, take Mr. Banks, who we learned was based on Travers Goff, P. L. Travers’ father. Goff’s alcoholism led to destructive consequences for him and his family during P. L.’s youth. Losing job after job, moving from town to town, and eventually causing his own demise.
Many years later, you have P. L. herself. Her traumatic childhood and her sentimental connection to the characters she created in her Mary Poppins novels, led her to become fiercely protective of how they would or would not be portrayed in the movie. Some may call her mean or viscous; I call it protective. When you essentially put your life story out there, you can’t help but be picky about what is said and done.
Knowing the back story helped us appreciate Mary Poppins even more. You don’t need a villain on the journey to a happy ending. All you need is love!
“New Yorkas” Felicia and Sean are avid Disney fans. Their first vacation as a couple was in Walt Disney World. They were engaged there, and also honeymooned there. After a combined 30 trips to the World, they are self-professed Disney travel agents and enjoy helping family and friends plan magical Disney vacations.