From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.
What We Thought:
I haven’t seen the original, animated Dumbo in decades. I remember liking it as a kid because it was colorful and musical and fun. I wouldn’t use any of those words to describe this new live-action version from Tim Burton. It’s honestly the opposite of those things.
Having not seen the original in a long time I couldn’t remember much of it beyond the Dumbo character being picked on and becoming famous for flying with the help of a feather. And of course the “racist” crows (at least racist by today’s standards). So after watching this new version I had to talk to a few others who remembered more of the original than me and they confirmed my thoughts.
This new version sees Colin Farrell returning from the War minus an arm and reuniting with his two kids at the circus after their mother passed. I don’t remember a family from the original and from what I was told, there isn’t one. Farrell replaces Timothy Q. Mouse as Dumbo’s trainer. This also adds in Michael Keaton as a bigger promoter wanting Dumbo for his act at Coney Island where he wants Eva Green to ride Dumbo.
Basically Disney took the heart & soul of the animated film and replaced it with humans, greed and bullying (yes bullying happens in the original but man does this beat you over the head with how we treat animals). It took away the music and lightheartedness as well. But it did add a subplot agenda to let girls know they can be scientists if they want to be. Farrell’s daughter character wants to be like Marie Curie and figure out science-y stuff because you must have an agenda in a movie about a flying elephant.
A friend called this new live-action Dumbo unnecessary and I have to agree. It’s completely forgettable and the CGI animals are pretty laughable especially when Dumbo is flying. There are a few references to the original with the pink elephants, a mouse in a hat and other small bits. Danny DeVito is good and I laughed out loud at Michael Buffer, but if you grew up on the original and expect a musical, fun time, you probably won’t get it.
U.S. Release Date: March 29, 2019
Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Finley Hobbins, Nico Parker.
Director: Tim Burton
Producers: Justin Springer, Ehren Kruger, Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey
Screenplay by: Ehren Kruger
Executive Producer: Nigel Gostelow