We all know that Disney is currently hardcore into converting all their classics into live action films. Their newest addition to these remakes is the ever-loved story of Dumbo the flying elephant! Starring Colin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Winters Tale, Horrible Bosses), Danny Devito (Smallfoot, Wiener-Dog, What’s the Worst that Could Happen?), Eva Green (Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Dark Shadows) and introducing Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins. We are given a brand-new take on the story of this oddball elephant with the help of Tim Burton’s unique style.
While the animated classic followed solely on Dumbo, his mother and his mousey friend in this remake the story circles around Holt, Milly and Joe Farrier played by Colin, Nico and Finely. Though Holt used to be a performer in the Circus he’s been away due to his duties to World War I. The movie begins with his return home to his children, Milly and Joe, missing a limb and with the knowledge of the recent death of his wife. Unfortunately, he’s returning to a Circus life he doesn’t quite remember. For one thing, the Manager Max Medici played amusingly by Devito tells him the circus is struggling financially. For another Colt finds that Max has no need for an act with a man with one arm and is demoted to caring for the elephants. That’s were Max unveils his biggest investment his recent purchase of a pregnant elephant. However, that investment backfires quickly when instead of a cute baby he gets a big-eared catastrophe! But soon, of course, they find that the very thing that makes Dumbo so different is the very thing that makes him amazing! Because guess what? With the power of those big ears, he can fly! With the help of Milly and Joe’s friendship and encouragement, Dumbo is quick to bring the circus back to its former glory. But of course, once word gets out danger rears its ugly head. Michael Keaton (Minions, The Other Guys, Cars) playing evil businessman V.A. Vandevere shows up to offer a partnership with Max to get his hands on the Amazing Flying Dumbo and when his cruel intentions are brought to light it’s up to Holt, Milly, Joe, and the whole Medici Circus to help save Dumbo and his mother.
As always with a Tim Burton film, we get to step into a bleak and somber world and also extremely dark which is quickly apparent when we get a ‘daddy’s home with a missing arm and moms dead’ story straight off the bat. Thanks for making Disney fun Burton! Yet as always, he does his job to make this ordinary world fascinating. We get to see some of the old gems that made the Dumbo classic so wonderful such as the heart-wrenching moment that Dumbo gets to touch his mothers trunk while she locked up and chained, the bubble elephants dancing (remember that?) and lines like “You’ve seen a horse fly you’ve seen a dragonfly you’ve even seen a house fly! But have you ever seen an elephant fly?” (Tell me you remember that!) It allowed me to snuggle into my nostalgic feels which is great. But that’s about where the greatness ends.
Unfortunately, this new story though fantastic with effort just wasn’t doing it for me. I didn’t really care for any of the main characters. The only thing I was concerned with was the fate of Dumbo and his mother which is who the story is supposed to center on in the first place. I found no interest at all with Holt and his family problems. That being said I really just wish they had made with the CGI and centered the story on the animals in the circus. I get that they were trying to go their own special route with this story but honestly, it was just so boring. The pacing was slow until the very end and even then I kept thinking ‘can we pick up the pace and just end this thing?’ Hey, I’m always going to give an A for effort however the end result just fell flat for me.
Rated PG for peril/action, some thematic elements, and brief mild language.
Currently, this movie stands at a 48% rotten. Like I said; I admired the effort.
This is one Disney live remake I wouldn’t rush to the theaters to see. For all the wonder and magic we’re promised I can’t see your kid sitting through this peacefully. I will say this for the movie though, it painfully made me want to re-watch the old classic again. Funny how I didn’t even know I missed it till now.