Summary: A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.
This will be a short review.
Dumbo. Dumbo is a newborn elephant who has oversized ears and HE’S SO CUTE! He is the newest addition to the Medici’s circus. At first, some of the people at the circus think he’s a freak and he is used to attract huge audiences. Once he learns how to fly, after prompting from the kids, Medici uses Dumbo as a flying attraction. However, his mother is taken away because she gets uber protective of her baby (which is understandable!). Dumbo then begins to feel lost because she’s gone and the kids become close to him to help him regain his confidence. Once he gets put into Dreamland, he’s really out of his element. Dumbo doesn’t talk at all, but his facials are super expressive. I think that and his endearing personality is what makes him an interesting hero albeit an unconventional one.
Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo’s Relationship. We don’t get to see a ton of them together as they get separated pretty early on but a lot of what drives Dumbo is the fact of getting back to his mother. He even seems to go along with the plans delivered at the end because he was promised to get back to his mom. I thought that was sweet and the part of the movie I wanted to see the most.
The Idea of Family. A big part of this film is the idea of family. The whole thing with Dumbo and his mother, and then Colin Farrell’s family and then the circus as a whole being a family. I did like how there were three different layers of family going on and that it was such an important part of the film that each plot point was directly related to “family” in some form or fashion.
Animal CGI. I think this movie has really nice CGI. I think Dumbo is precious and I want a baby elephant. I think all of the animals we get to see look really good to be fully computer generated. There is also a bit of the pink elephants part and it’s different from what we remember but it works for the tone of the movie but it’s also quite cool. I think the way they handle all the effects, there aren’t a ton, but the ones there are, it’s really good. Dumbo’s face, all of his expressions, especially in his eyes are so sweet.
Really Cute… Most Times. I feel like I’m mostly praising Dumbo but he is the most charming thing about this movie. There’s a part where Eva Green’s character goes into a room and she says “Bonsoir!” and Dumbo comes in behind her and repeats her in his way lol. It was super cute and got a lot of laughs in my theater. This happened a lot but mostly because of Dumbo!
The Acting. I don’t really care about any of the characters but I think all of the acting from the adults is good. They’re all well-known actors and I think they all do well with what they are working with and their fine in their roles.
The Entire Human Aspect. I didn’t want to compare it to the animated film because I am able to look at the two separately but the thing that makes the animated film charming is the fact that it focuses mostly on Dumbo and the mouse, THE ANIMALS! The humans are inconsequential and this movie shows WHY!! I did not care a bit about any of these humans in this movie. They force Colin Farrell’s family on us and I definitely did not care. I guess I could care about the circus people but the made Dumbo be a clown and made fun of his ears! I don’t care! Then there was this whole thing with Michael Keaton… jeez, literally cared about none of these people!
No Emotional Weight. I cry every time I watch the animated movie… and while this movie tries to hit the emotional parts that we know from the animated film, it doesn’t hit quite the same. The Baby Mine in the trailer made me tear up when I first saw, but I just went “aww” and then kept it moving. There’s a lot of aww’s but mostly because it’s cute not emotional the way I think the movie wants it to be. The whole thing with the dad and his kids, all of that stuff, it just doesn’t hit.
Unbalanced Story. This story is all over the place! We have this whole thing about Dumbo being weird because that’s the whole point of the movie. Then there’s thing with Colin Farrell where he’s come back from the war and lost his arm, which means he’s lost his act in the circus and his wife died… I mean there’s a lot going on that the movie wants us to care about. Farrell’s daughter is a boring scientist, the son has no personality other than to look wide-eyed at everything and then even more. I literally only care about Dumbo. There’s so much going on in this movie that I think it loses what is supposed to make it charming and that’s focusing on Dumbo and what he’s going through and what he feels.
The Little Girl. I don’t know the actress’s name and while she’s a kid, I want to give her a pass, but wow she was really bad. She was the one we spent a lot of time with because she is the one who figures a lot of things out because she’s super smart. I’m glad that she was smart and into science. However, she had one facial expression the entire time. Her tone was monotone and every time she spoke, I was like wow. It was really bad. Even when she was trying to be emotional it didn’t work. I don’t know if it was a choice or if Tim Burton told her to do that. Either way, it was really bad. Her little brother was better than her and he didn’t get much to do.
Overall, I wanted to like Dumbo more than I did. I thought it was cute overall and I wanted to love it about as much as I loved the animated film because I have been optimistic about these live action remakes, and I don’t mind them but this one left a lot left to be desired. IT was kind of a shame really because it could have been handled better. I don’t know if they thought we would relate more because of the humans but they don’t help the story at all. Dumbo is the selling point and he is the best part of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, the acting is good through all of the adult actors but you don’t care about any of them because it’s just added storylines we don’t need. The CGI is good and while I didn’t mention this separately, the soundtrack is lovely. Now, there isn’t any emotional weight, at least not to the point where the movie wanted it to land and the little girl’s acting was not good and she’s almost a main lead because of how much she’s featured. Also, the story is all over the place. *sighs* I think it could have been better otherwise, this one could have been left to its original place as an animated film.
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Dumbo? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts down below!