Brought to us by the unique mind of Tim Burton, Dumbo is Disney’s latest live-action remake of one of their beloved classics. The original Dumbo is a really beloved classic and one of the sadder and darker Disney Classics from that first golden period. If there is anyone who was up to the task of bringing this to the big screen it is Tim Burton.
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The Movie Review
Like the other live-action remakes of Disney movies, this production has the same basic story as the original, but it also does enough of its own things to stand on its own. It has a solid cast featuring Danny DeVito as the ringmaster, Colin Farrell as the “hero” Holt and Burton favorite Michael Keaton as the villain of the movie, V.A Vandervere.
The movie is set during the period after the first world war where Holt has returned home and started working at the circus rung by DeVito. The character of Holt is actually pretty heartbreaking and he is the one tasked with looking after Dumbo. Both Dumbo and Holt (and his kids) are dealing with loss and it is quite sad.
I will say that that the first half-hour or so of Dumbo is rather slow. However, I do feel that this is on purpose and it does make you really sad for poor little Dumbo. The heckling that he gets in this one feels way more brutal than the original as is the heartbreaking scene when Dumbo is taken away from his mother.
Dumbo does pick up and it is a fun, family thrill ride that actually makes you care for Dumbo, Holt, hid kids and the circus. The CG on Dumbo I felt was excellent and seeing an elephant fly has never looked so good. I really thought the whole movie from a style point of view just screams Tim Burton and to me, that is a very good thing.
Speaking of Tim Burton, the most Burton-Esq part of this movie for me has to be Michael Keaton and his character V.A Vandervere. He wants to take Dumbo for himself and make him perform at his own messed up theme park. There are some great parallels with Vanderveer’s Dreamland amusement park and Disneyland and I think it is done very well.
I felt the new film followed the original movie quite well and that it is a fun time for a family. The movie deals with loss, bullying, and heartache. However, I do feel that there is a good message here and that it teaches people watching that working together, helping others and trying to be a good person is the way to go. I really think that Tim Burton breaks your heart with this movie, but he certainly mends it by the end.
So far most of the people I have spoken to Dumbo about all ask the same two things if they have not seen the movie. What about the crows? And is that weird “drunk” scene in the movie? I was curious myself if these would be included and do not worry, these are not scenes you are going to have to explain to your kids.
For me, Dumbo was a wonderful time and I think I would have to say that I did prefer it to the original. I really do think that Tim Burton was the right choice to bring this Disney Classic to life. Still, with that being said, I feel this is a movie you will either fall in love with or not get into at all. I have a feeling that the slow start may be why some are not connecting with the movie. I for one though thought it was great!