Dumbo: Film Review

There are lots of Disney live-action remakes coming up and I wasn’t immediately thrilled about the idea of a Dumbo one, so I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied to learn that it’s a faithful remake and expansion of the 1941 original.

It is 1919 and the Medici Brothers circus – run by Max (Danny DeVito) – is having some financial issues, but he has hope that the birth of a baby elephant will help perk up the business. However, the baby – Jumbo – has big “ugly” ears so is made part of the clown act, until Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell)’s children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) discover he can fly. The flying elephant goes down a storm and soon catches the attention of Dreamland boss V.A. Vandervere (Michael Keaton).

The original film is just over an hour long and ends where everyone learns about Dumbo’s ability so I knew immediately that this remake would expand the story and explore what happens next and I really liked what the team came up with. It made sense, it was in keeping with the story and felt loyal to it. Keaton basically buys the circus and wants to make Dumbo his new star attraction at his Dreamland theme park in Coney Island – and wants him to fly with his star trapeze artist Colette (Eva Green).

I didn’t immediately think Tim Burton was the right man for the job but once you see it it makes perfect sense. He loves an outsider story. It feels like a Tim Burton film but less edgy and gothic and with a big heap of Disney. He also brings along his regular collaborators – DeVito was hilarious and my favourite – his personality and energy made me smile – Keaton was suitably hammy as the antagonist and Green was gorgeous and charming. Farrell was a good addition and the kids were cute and a suitable replacement for Dumbo’s mouse friend Timothy Q.

The CGI was mostly impressive (I had some small issues with a monkey and Colette flying on Dumbo), the film looked gorgeous and had many nods to the original, with the inclusion of the pink elephants, the Baby Mine song and the emotional scene between Dumbo and his mum as well as the mice and storks. It’s also dispensed with the crows and added more humans, which were very wise decisions.

The script could have been a bit funnier and I didn’t 100% love it for some reason but it is paced well, satisfying and hits the emotional beats of the original – I got tears in the same places as before! Dumbo looked very realistic and was absolutely adorable – I felt for him so much! It is a cute, entertaining film that didn’t disappoint. Disney fans can relax with the knowledge that their beloved 1941 film has been treated with care and respect.

In cinemas Friday 29th March 

Rating: 4/5

SEE ALSO: My pics from the Dumbo premiere 

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