A baby circus elephant with enormous ears is separated
from his mother and becomes a star once he learns he can fly.
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Ehren Kruger
Starring Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green,
Michael Keaton, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins
Remake of 1941's Dumbo
Based on the book by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl
Tim Burton's track record with remakes has been less than stellar, while Disney's has been pretty spotless since 2015's Cinderella. So, Dumbo was a tossup. Could be bad, could be good. I actually enjoyed it for the most part, though the reviews have not been friendly. Considering the original was barely an hour long and didn't have a real human presence, I think it's somewhat impressive that Burton was able to craft something all his own with this film.
The cast is a great ensemble, and it was really cool to see Michael Keaton work with Burton again after all these years. The human characters are compelling and mostly sympathetic, and their affection for baby Dumbo adds a lot of heart to the film. The CGI continues to impress me year after year, and Dumbo is absolutely stunning and believable. My only issue with this film is that's a bit formulaic and predictable, but that's the case with most Disney films. In the end, they're all movies for children, so there's an expected formula to follow for the most part. It doesn't bother me that much, but I felt I had to point it out.
There are moments in Dumbo that made me cry, and there are are moments that made me laugh. It's not the best of Disney's live-action remakes, but it's an enjoyable watch with a familiar story that still feels new thanks to Burton's unique vision. I liked the cast and the score by Danny Elfman (of course), and I don't really get why the critics have been so tough on it. What exactly did you expect?