This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser
DUMBO – Rated PG – 1 hr. 52 mins
DIRECTOR: Tim Burton
WRITERS: Novel written by Helen Aberson & Harold Pearl ~ Screenplay written by Ehren Kruger
STARRING: Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Alan Arkin, Eva Green, Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins
As we meet the elite circus star, Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), he has just returned to his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) from the war, and it seems that his world both personally, and professionally, has been turned upside down. Enter Circus Owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) who has had his own woes too, trying to keep his once glorious circus afloat, during Farrier’s absence. When Medici’s new purchase of an Asian elephant gives birth to a newborn, with oversized ears, named Dumbo, it seems that this “mishap” might just be the last nail in the coffin for his struggling circus troupe. But when Milly and Joe discover that Dumbo can fly, this changes everything…especially when entrepreneur V A Vandevere (Michael Keaton) gets wind of this incredible creature, as he tries to convince Medici, and his entourage, that he, and his aerial acrobat Collette (Eva Green), can make Dumbo into the star, he is destined to be!
I give DUMBO a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD or NETFLIX: It’s been a long time since the release of the original animated film by Walt Disney in 1941, but the premise and angst created back then is still apparent in this new Live, CGI’d version of the film by the same name. And, along with the incredible angst within this slightly tweaked storyline, comes a new darker, and more sinister ambiance too, brought on by Burton’s signature “darkness” that he once again brings to his latest Disney creation. The casting of this film is totally superb, featuring such veteran actors as Farrell, DeVito, Keaton, even Alan Arkin, and the children cast in this film – Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins – are enjoyable to view too. But, the movie itself left me feeling even more sad than when I viewed the original animated film as a child, as Burton manages to make a “not so happy story to begin with” even sadder, making for a movie going experience that is definitely not a pick me up, most of the way through. I was also surprised by how the children in the theater were responding to this new live version of DUMBO as well, as it seemed to scare a few of the younger ones in attendance, while it seemed to be rather slow for the older youngsters to really engage with what was happening on screen. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t suggest taking really young children to this latest version of the film, and you might be surprised by how the older children aren’t truly feeling this latest Disney creation either. I really wish that Disney would have put this remake into another Directors hands, as I feel a lighter feel, combined with a more vibrant remake of this old classic, might have taken the new DUMBO to a much brighter place, allowing for new generations of viewers to enjoy this new film, maybe even more than their parents, and grandparents did, with the original animated feature. But I must share too, that the tweaks Burton made within the telling of this story, did add a sense of bringing this storyline into the 21st Century, and for that, I must give him, and Disney a few accolades, even though those tweaks still didn’t take this Live version of DUMBO, into making it into one of my favorite Disney films of this decade…enough said.